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Bucher Law Group, LLC

The basics of a disorderly conduct charge

 Posted on November 30, 2016 in Criminal Defense

In general, all states have laws on the books that address public peace and safety. These statutes, typically known as disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace laws are in place to regulate behavior that a reasonable person would consider to be disruptive or excessively offensive.

Many people who have been charged with disorderly conduct think that it is unfair. Very often, it depends on whether or not you have annoyed a police office. Since disturbing the peace can be difficult to prove and the laws tend to be vague, you should seek the advice of legal counsel with experience in Wisconsin criminal defense procedures.

What is considered disorderly conduct?

In nearly every state, disorderly conduct is described as any conduct that disturbs the peace or endangers the morals, health, or safety of a community. This includes the use of vulgar or obscene language in a public place, loitering, inciting a riot, and even harassing passengers on public transportation.

Is public intoxication disorderly conduct?

In the state of Wisconsin, drinking or being intoxicated in public is not considered a crime. However, a person who is drunk in public can be placed in custody at a police officer's discretion. This not only includes being held at the police station, but also being taken to a public treatment center or hospital. Fortunately, an officer can do this without filing an arrest report.

What is prohibited in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin's disorderly conduct laws include disturbing the peace, vagrancy, drinking in common areas, and causing violence or breach of the peace by damaging or destroying a United States flag.

Crimes against the peace also include unlawful assemblies, such as protesting without a permit, disturbing funeral or memorial services and processions, and bomb scares.

What are the penalties for disturbing the peace?

Crimes related to disorderly conduct are all considered to be misdemeanors and the penalties vary from class to class.

A Class A misdemeanor, which includes flag burning, carries a penalty of no more than nine months in jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

A Class B misdemeanor for general disorderly conduct can land you with up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

A Class C misdemeanor, such as vagrancy and drinking in common areas, for example on public transport, can get you up to 30 days in jail and no more than $500 in fines.

Due to the vagueness of disorderly conduct laws, a charge for disturbing the peace can be a very complicated matter. If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, contact a local Wisconsin attorney today and find out what options are available to you.

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