Miami Disorderly Conduct Attorney

Defining Disorderly Conduct and Intoxication

Disorderly conduct and disorderly intoxication are some of the most commonly committed offenses in Florida. The Florida statute §877.03 explains that "such acts are of a nature to corrupt the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them," and that when a person "engages in brawling or fighting, or engages in such conduct as to constitute a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct," that they may be charged with either of these offenses.

Charged for disorderly conduct?
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In most cases, a disorderly conduct offense is determined by the subjective opinion of an arresting officer. Often times, however, there is a difference in how one may interpret each event to determine whether it rises to the level of a criminal violation. For example, there may have been a violation of your First Amendment right to free speech which was wrongly interpreted by a law enforcement officer as a breach of the peace or public safety concern.

Disorderly intoxication charges occur when a person is intoxicated and endangered the safety of another person or property in a public place, or in any public conveyance that causes a public disturbance. These charges typically occur in one of two scenarios:

  • When a person is intoxicated or drinks in a public place and causes a public disturbance.
  • When a person is intoxicated and endangers the safety of persons or property.

Lewdness, Public Nuisances, & Loitering

Disorderly conduct may seem like an ambiguous crime, but it is actually classified as a second-degree misdemeanor that can include penalties of up to sixty days in jail. Additionally, there are many acts that can constitute a charge. "Lewd acts" is one example. According to Florida law, the crime of Lewd (or Lascivious) Conduct is defined as intentionally touching a person under 16 years of age in a lewd manner or soliciting a person under 16 years of age to commit a lewd act. The penalties for this offense will depend on whether the offender was over or under the age of 18 when the lewd conduct occurred.

According to Chapter 800 of the Florida Statutes, indecent exposure can also be a form of disorderly conduct. Indecent exposure is the act of exposing or exhibiting one's sexual organs in public or on the private premises of another, or nearby as to be seen from such private premises, in a vulgar or indecent manner. This offense is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida and is punishable by up to one year in jail. The act of breastfeeding a baby is insufficient to sustain a conviction for indecent exposure, and there are other defenses available to contest a charge of indecent exposure in Miami or Florida.

Florida Statutes Chapter 823 further describes and defines public nuisances, which involve crimes that are more focused on disturbing public decency. Examples of public nuisances include the acts of smoking in elevators, improperly disposing of waste, etc.

Chapter 856 of the Florida Statutes defines the criminal charges associated with drunkenness, open house parties, loitering, prowling and desertion. Disorderly conduct charges commonly involve public intoxication. In essence, any act of disrupting the peace could constitute an arrest for disorderly conduct.

Other Disorderly Conduct Florida Statutes

§509.143 Disorderly conduct on the premises of an establishment—

  • (1) An operator may take a person into custody and detain that person in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable time if the operator has probable cause to believe that the person was engaging in disorderly conduct in violation of s. 877.03 on the premises of the licensed establishment.

§856.011 Disorderly intoxication—

  • (1) No person in the state shall be intoxicated and endanger the safety of another person or property, and no person in the state shall be intoxicated or drink any alcoholic beverage in a public place or in or upon any public conveyance and cause a public disturbance.
  • (2) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.

Are disorderly conduct charges always valid?

Since charges of disorderly conduct can be dictated only by the opinion of the arresting officer, it is important to know your rights. These charges typically result in misdemeanor convictions or infractions, but you still need the proper defense to get them dropped. If you are facing such charges, you should not hesitate to contact a Miami disorderly conduct attorney upon your arrest. The right criminal defense lawyer can protect your rights and help you avoid the inconvenient and costly consequences of a criminal conviction.

To discuss your case and defense, contact our firm for a FREE case evaluation.

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