This installment of our First Time Offender series discusses the crime of disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.  These crimes are meant to keep calm in a neighborhood or area.  While still a chargeable offense, disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct are both misdemeanors and carry a penalty of imprisonment not to exceed 60 days and/or a fine not to exceed $500.

The crime of disorderly conduct in the Criminal Law statute §10-201 explains several prohibited actions.  The statute explains that:

  • “A person may not willfully and without lawful purpose obstruct or hinder the free passage of another in a public place or on a public conveyance.
  • “A person may not willfully act in a disorderly manner that disturbs the public peace.”
  • “A person may not willfully fail to obey a reasonable and lawful order that a law enforcement officer makes to prevent a disturbance to the public peace.”
  • “A person from any location may not, by making an unreasonably loud noise, willfully disturb the peace of another:
    • On the other’s land or premises:
    • In a public place; or
    • On a public conveyance.”

What does this all mean?

Essentially, to prevent being arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and/or disturbing the peace, act responsibly.  Making a big scene in a public place would constitute a violation of this criminal law, not to mention draw a few stares.  Obviously people want to have a good time, and in the case of celebrating, make it known to others the reason for celebrating.  With this being said, it is probably in your best interest to party and act responsibly and behave in a mature manner.

Baltimore Criminal Lawyer: I’ve been charged, now what do I do?

  1. DON’T TALK ABOUT IT! This may be perhaps the most important piece of advice.  If you have talked about the incident on a social media site such as Facebook or Twitter: STOP! DELETE THE POST! Posting information about the incident on a site like this may be self-incriminating and could be used against you in court.  Our advice: mum is the word.
  2. If you have any witnesses to the incident, take down their name and number.  These witnesses can be used in court and may help to prove your innocence.
  3. Save any paperwork or documentation you were given by the police.  These papers are necessary for your attorney to review so they can better assess your case.
  4. DON’T TALK ABOUT THE CASE! Talking about the case to people may open yourself up to incrimination.

If this is your first offense, don’t worry; you do not have to deal with this on your own.  There is a team of attorneys at ENLawyers who have experience dealing with these exact issues and they are here to help.  If you have been charged with disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace, follow our rules listed above, take a deep breath, and call ENLawyers.