Disorderly Conduct and Disorderly Intoxication Attorney
Disorderly Conduct and Disorderly Intoxication
Disorderly Conduct and Disorderly Intoxication in Pinellas County cover a wide range of behaviors and scenarios. Although a misdemeanor of the second degree, it should not be taken lightly. The creation of a permanent record can have a devastating impact on employment, housing, and educational opportunities for the rest of your life.
If you’re facing either of these charges, contact Disorderly Conduct Attorney, Sean McQuaid, today.
Disorderly Conduct Lawyer in Pinellas County
Sean McQuaid has been successfully defending people facing Disorderly Conduct and Disorderly Intoxication charges for over 20 years. Mr. McQuaid is President at Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., which for over 60 years has been providing the Tampa Bay area with exceptional legal assistance.
Mr. McQuaid is highly respected by the State Attorney’s Office and the Judges at the Pinellas Justice Center. He has received a perfect ranking from numerous review sources, from his peers, the judges he practices in front of, and his clients and their families. Mr. McQuaid knows every judge and prosecutor that will be handling your case, which can give you a significant advantage.
If you’ve been charged with either Disorderly Conduct or Disorderly Intoxication, please contact Sean McQuaid today for a free consultation.
What is Disorderly Conduct in Florida?
Disorderly Conduct is an offense where a person acts in a manner that is a “breach of peace.” Florida Statute 877.03 describes these acts as “corrupting the public morals,” “outraging the sense of public decency,” or “affecting the peace and quiet of persons.” It also covers brawling or fighting.
Common Examples of Disorderly Conduct:
- Aggressive behavior
- 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.
What is Disorderly Intoxication in Florida?
Disorderly Intoxication in Florida is an offense where an intoxicated person poses a danger to public safety or causes a public disturbance while intoxicated or drinking alcohol in a public place.
While in other states being intoxicated in public alone is a charge of Disorderly Intoxication, Florida law requires that the individual be unruly or disorderly for it to be an offense.
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct and Disorderly Intoxication
Both Disorderly Conduct and Disorderly Intoxication in Florida are second-degree misdemeanors, with the following penalties:
- Up to 60 days in jail or 6 months of probation
- $500 fine
- Conviction of a crime on your criminal record
Although these penalties represent the statutory maximum available for the charge, they don’t reflect the sentences for most cases. For most first-time offenders, a permanent criminal record is likely to be the most worrying consequence. The exception is that jail time is realistic if you were disrespectful towards police or if you endangered the public.
Defenses for Disorderly Conduct in Florida
Disorderly Conduct is one of Florida’s most defendable charges.
The First Amendment
Words are usually insufficient enough for a conviction. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects all forms of free speech, including profanity. However, if the situation involved physical harm or endangered the public, this defense may not be valid.
For example (CP v. State), in 1994, an individual was charged for Disorderly Conduct having shouted profanity at a police officer. There was insufficient evidence for a conviction because the defendant’s language did not constitute “fighting words”. Just because the words were spoken loudly did not elevate his actions to disorderly conduct.
Loudness and Annoyance
Being ‘annoying’ is rarely sufficient enough for a conviction for Disorderly Conduct in Florida. For example (Miller v. State), in 2001 a defendant’s loud yelling and aggression were insufficient for a conviction because there was no evidence that her actions were anything more than irritating.
Self-defense might apply if you didn’t start the fight. This is commonly used in fighting or brawling cases. If your Disorderly Conduct attorney can show evidence that the defendant was acting in self-defense, there might be a way to get the case dismissed.
For example, in 2006 (SDG v. State), a defendant’s charges were dropped when witnesses backed up his claims that he had fought off another person in front of a police officer, as he had been attacked first.
Defenses to Disorderly Intoxication in Florida
Depending on the circumstances, there are many routes a Disorderly Intoxication attorney in Pinellas County can take for defense. These include:
You don’t lose your rights to free speech just because you have been drinking.
Therefore, only ‘fighting words’ or words that endanger others can support a conviction.
The Incident Wasn’t In a Public Place.
If you’re charged with disorderly intoxication, then the incident must have occurred in a ‘public place.’ In Florida, that’s a place where the general public has the right to be. Some examples are at a park, a bar, parking lot, or sidewalk.
If the incident occurred at a house party or on your front porch, then there might be a defense.
You Weren’t Intoxicated.
One of the most common defenses to Disorderly Intoxication in Florida is that you weren’t intoxicated. Remember, this isn’t a DUI case where they make you perform tests. Evidence is required that you were impaired, not just an officer’s subjective opinion.
You Didn’t Endanger The Public.
There must be evidence that the defendant actually endangered the public. For example, by threatening people, falling into the road, or throwing dangerous objects.
Many cases were dropped if the defendant was charged for simply shouting, flailing their arms or smelling of alcohol.
If you know that you drank too much and did something wrong, it’s always best to take a proactive approach. Show the judge that you are working to improve your drinking habits. There are thousands of people every year in Florida facing these charges, so you need to set yourself apart from the rest to win some leniency. For example, maybe you go to AA or see a counselor and show proof.
Do I Need an Attorney for Disorderly Conduct?
Given the grey areas and defenses available in Disorderly Conduct or Disorderly Intoxication cases, a criminal defense attorney can prove critical in avoiding convictions, jail time, probation and a permanent criminal record. They will attempt to have your charges dismissed or mitigated as soon as possible.
Don’t let one bad night or mistake get blown out of proportion. Contact a Disorderly Conduct attorney as soon as possible.
Hire a Disorderly Conduct Lawyer in Pinellas County
Hiring a Disorderly Conduct Attorney in Pinellas County is the best way to avoid damaging your future, regardless of your circumstances.
St Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Sean McQuaid has vast experience helping people like you resolve their charges, avoid a criminal record, and stay out of jail. Consultations are always free of charge, so please do not delay.
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