Disorderly Conduct Laws and Penalties:
Disorderly Conduct is one of the most common offenses in the United States. In Washington State, Disorderly Conduct is a misdemeanor. In comparison to other crimes, many people don’t see it as a serious crime. However, this misdemeanor does carry a potential sentence of up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000, plus a permanent mark on your criminal record.
There are a number of different actions that can result in being charged with this criminal offense. Disorderly Conduct is considered a public disturbance or a breach the public peace. Under Washington State Law (RCW 9A.84.030), any of the following actions can result in being charged with Disorderly Conduct:
- Use of abusive language that creates a risk of assault
- Disruption of any lawful assembly or meeting
- Intentional obstruction of traffic without authority
- Engaging in fighting or making unreasonable noise within 500 feet of a funeral, wake, burial, or memorial service
Failure to Disperse Laws and Penalties:
Failure to Disperse is often associated with Disorderly Conduct and is also considered a breach of public peace. Similar to Disorderly Conduct, Failure to Disperse is a misdemeanor that carries a potential sentence of up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000, plus a permanent mark on your criminal record.
According to Washington State law (RCW 9A.84.020), a person may be found guilty of Failure to Disperse if:
- He or she congregates with a group of three of more other persons and there are acts of conduct within that group that creates substantial risk of causing injury to any person, or substantial harm to property; and:
- He or she refuses or fails to disperse when ordered to do so by a peace officer or other public servant engaged in enforcing or executing the law
Disorderly Conduct charges are quite subjective and may feel unfair or unwarranted by the person arrested or charged. A conviction can be life-changing and devastating, leading to potential jail time and impacting your criminal record. Working with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is essential. These are significant charges and you should not try to tackle them without experienced counsel to advise you appropriately and advocate on your behalf.