Disorderly Conduct in Florida is a relatively minor crime that covers a range of offenses for people who have allegedly acted disruptively. Most cases have to do with drinking too much. Many of my clients also believe that their drinks were tampered with or even drugged. The biggest concern for my clients is will they go to jail and how will this disorderly conduct charge affect my permanent criminal record.
In this blog, we’re going to look at how disorderly conduct in Florida affects your criminal record and the consequences of that:
What is Disorderly Conduct in Florida?
Florida Statute 877.03 defines Disorderly Conduct as a ‘breach of peace’ – the offense is committed when behavior:
- Corrupt public morals
- Outrages the sense of public decency
- Affects the peace and quiet of anyone who witnesses the act
- Engages in brawling or fighting
- Engages in conduct that is deemed as a breach of peace or disorderly conduct
As you can see, the term can cover a broad range of scenarios. It’s usually related to incidents that caused drama in public spaces and put other members of the public in danger. These include:
Common Examples of Disorderly Conduct:
- Aggressive behavior
- Bar fights
- Causing trouble with police officers
- Fighting, brawling.
- Harassing other members of the public
- Inciting a riot.
- Listening to music too loud
- Obstructing traffic.
- Reporting false threats to law enforcement.
- Urinating in public.
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct in Florida
Disorderly Conduct in Florida is a second-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, you can face the following charges:
- Up to sixty (60) days in jail.
- Up to six (6) months of probation.
- Up to $500 in fines.
- Conviction of the crime on your criminal record.
Disorderly Conduct on Criminal Records
First Time Offenders
If you’re convicted as a first-time offender, the maximum penalties are unlikely to be imposed. The worst consequences you are likely to face are the creation of a permanent criminal record and a probation sentence which may include community service.
A criminal record can haunt you for the rest of your life. Read on below to see the consequences you may face.
Note: If the case and charges are dropped, you technically will not have a criminal record. But the history of the charge will still be public record on the clerk’s website and the sheriff’s website. This information is accessible by background searches. This is why it is extremely important to get the charge dropped and then discuss sealing or expungement.
Disorderly Conduct with Other Crimes
In some cases, you may be charged for other crimes committed in the same incident. For example, a police officer may try to arrest you for disorderly conduct, but claim that you pulled away and resisted while he was trying to arrest you. So, he will add on a charge of obstruction of justice. In these cases, you may face further penalties and extra crimes added to your criminal record.
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Fines, community service and probation can be painful, but ultimately won’t haunt you for life. A permanent criminal record can. One regretful night resulting in a disorderly conduct charge could see you struggle with:
A background check is ultimately what everyone should be concerned with because all of your issues will depend on what they find. There are many companies who run background checks and each organization from a school to an employer to an apartment complex will use different ones. Once you are arrested, these companies mine the data off the web and add it to their databases. The goal is then to get the charge dropped, so there is no further report of a conviction.
Many employers have the right to carry out a background check when hiring. Many job openings will disqualify people with a criminal record, but it can also be a stumbling block if you need to acquire a license or bond.
This is especially true for childcare, construction, cosmetology, education, legal, accounting and medical fields.
Difficulty with Housing
The Fair Housing Rights Act protects against discrimination based on race, color, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
But it does not protect criminal offenders. If you have a criminal record to your name, you may get denied housing or apartment applications. I run across this constantly in my law practice. You would be surprised at how sensitive apartment complexes are about criminal records even when you can pay.
Your Rights to Education
Disorderly Conduct in Florida can affect your ability to get accepted into colleges. Although it is often not grounds for blanket denial, it can give them a reason to reject your application based on your individual situation. This is especially true for teachers and those working in the medical field, like nurses.
If you are currently a student, you may also be at risk of being suspended or expelled. You may also lose your financial aid.
Restrictions on Serving Your Country
The U.S. Armed Forces require those entering to be of good moral character. They seek to reduce the risk of security and disciplinary problems.
If you are under any form of judicial restraint such as probation or have a history of crimes of a violent nature, you may be rejected.
Impact on Child Custody
Family court proceedings can be significantly impacted by the existence of disorderly conduct in Florida on a criminal record.
When a court is determining child custody arrangements, it will consider the best interest of the children – including whether you, as a parent, can provide safety and well-being.
It can also significantly restrict your ability to become a foster parent or adopt a child.
If you’re an immigrant in the U.S. with a visa or a green card, then having a criminal record can affect your immigration status and at worst, lead to your removal from the country or restricted re-entry. Although this is unlikely with a disorderly conduct crime, it may be the case if you were charged with violent behavior
What to Do If You’ve Been Arrested for Disorderly Conduct in Florida?
The good news is that I have been extremely successful in getting disorderly conduct charges dropped. Sometimes my clients have to do some community service. Sometimes they have to do counseling or provide a negative urine screen. But quite often I am able to get the charges dropped by telling the prosecutor about my client, why the incident was out of the ordinary, and explaining that they have learned a lesson and have been punished enough.
A criminal defense attorney will be able to use their experience and standing to protect your future. In some cases, they may be able to get the case dropped by proving the arrest was unjust. In others, it will be about minimizing your penalties by showing you’re taking steps to improve your behavior.
We’ve had great success with these charges in the past, and our first advice is always the same: receive a consultation with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, this is not something to take chances with.
Disorderly Conduct Attorney in Pinellas County, FL
If you want to fight against a charge for disorderly conduct in Florida, you must contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. We have had very good success over the years in reducing charges, minimizing penalties, getting cases dismissed and protecting futures from permanent criminal records.
Sean McQuaid is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Pinellas County. He is the President of the St. Petersburg Bar Association, a group of 1,100 lawyers and judges in the area. He is the managing partner at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms with the reputation and connections to make things happen.
With decades of experience helping people like you, we believe there is no better place to help you fight or reduce a disorderly conduct charge in Florida.
Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300