NY Criminal Defense Lawyer

Disorderly Conduct


Disorderly conduct is one of the most notoriously vague criminal charges in the New York state criminal code. Because of the nature of the law, it is open to the interpretation and selective enforcement of the police. This can lead to problems as it is an often overused criminal charge. As a matter of fact, you may not have even known you were breaking the law when you were arrested for disorderly conduct!

Like resisting arrest, disorderly conduct is a charge that is often used when you simply get in the way of the police. What one officer may see as a harmless annoyance, another will arrest you for.  This sort of unequal enforcement can lead to confusion and even shock when you are cuffed and placed in the back of the police car.

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A criminal defense attorney can understand your stress and your confusion. They’ve handled cases like this before and know just how subjective disorderly conduct laws are. They can work to minimize the impact of these charges on your life and help ensure you are treated fairly in the New York criminal courts.

What is Disorderly Conduct?

Under New York criminal statutes, the definition of disorderly conduct is extensive. You could be charged with this offense if you do any of the following with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly create a risk thereof:

  • Engage in fighting or in violent, threatening behavior,
  • Make unreasonable noise,
  • In a public place use obscene or abusive language or make obscene gestures,
  • Obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic,
  • Congregate with other people in a public place and refuse to comply with a lawful order by police to disperse, or
  • Create a hazardous or offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose.

Ref: NY State Law 240.20

Disorderly conduct is considered a violation under New York state law. This means it doesn’t amount to a crime but is instead punishable by up to 15 days in jail. Usually, however, a violation is penalized with a fine and community service.

Charges of disorderly conduct are often seen with other offenses like resisting arrest, DWI, or public intoxication. Whether you are facing a violation or a list of several charges including disorderly conduct, a New York criminal defense lawyer can help.

Contact our offices today to discuss the details of your case and how we might be able to help you fight the charges against you.