Disorderly Conduct

Individuals who decide to act out of order in public can be charged under the disorderly conduct laws of Minnesota. Disorderly conduct can take on many forms under Minnesota law. Behaviors prohibited under Minnesota’s disorderly conduct laws include fighting, disturbing a lawful assembly or meeting, engaging in offensive, abusive, or noisy conduct, or using offensive, obscene, or abusive language to reasonably arouse anger or alarm.

Disorderly conduct is classified as a public safety crime, so the aim behind disorderly conduct laws is to prohibit any kind of conduct that could breach the peace and upset or annoy others.

Minnesota Disorderly Conduct Attorney

Disorderly conduct charge might sound insignificant, it is nevertheless a criminal offense that carries severe penalties. The good news is an arrest is not a conviction. If you are currently facing accusations for allegedly committing a disorderly conduct offense, contact defense lawyer James Blumberg at James Blumberg Law.

James Blumberg Law serves clients throughout the state of Minnesota in cities such as Apple Valley, Eagan, Lakeville, Burnsville, Rosemount, Farmington, Inver Grove Heights and West St. Paul. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation today.

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Information Center

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Disorderly Conduct

To understand whether someone can be found guilty of disorderly conduct, Minnesota law has provided Minn. Stat. § 609.72, which states:

Whoever does any of the following in a public or private place, including on a school bus, knowing, or having reasonable grounds to know that it will, or will tend to, alarm, anger or disturb others or provoke an assault or breach of the peace, is guilty of disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor: (1) engages in brawling or fighting; or (2) disturbs an assembly or meeting, not unlawful in its character; or (3) engages in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous, or noisy conduct or in offensive, obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others.

Minnesota’s disorderly conduct law is comprehensive and can cover any action as long as it disturbs someone nearby. To understand how ordinary conduct can quickly turn into disorderly conduct, it is essential to see how the disorderly conduct law works in different settings. For example, shouting obscenities at a loud rock concert would be considered okay; however, shouting obscenities at the local library would be considered disorderly conduct. The key here is context and whether the behavior in question is considered acceptable in the individual’s setting.

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What About The First Amendment?

The First Amendment is a common concern when determining whether someone’s spoken words can be restricted under the disorderly conduct laws. To ensure every citizen’s right to freedom of speech is protected, the prosecution must establish that the defendant used fighting words or engaged in behavior that is not Constitutionally protected.

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What Are Penalties For Disorderly Conduct?

The penalties that accompany a charge for disorderly conduct are not considered severe by most people. Disorderly conduct is classified as a misdemeanor under Min. Stat. § 609.72, so the penalties could range from a fine of no more than $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.

It is important to note that under Min. Stat. § 609.72, penalties could increase depending on the circumstances. For instance, a caregiver who is found guilty of disorderly conduct against a vulnerable adult could face a penalty of up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $3,000.

The consequences of a criminal conviction, such as disorderly conduct, are essential to understand because potential employers, landlords, and licensing authorities could use these records to disqualify an applicant.

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What Are Some Defenses To A Disorderly Conduct Charge?

Like many other specific intent crimes, a defendant has many defenses potentially available if faced with charges of disorderly conduct. Some of the most common defenses include 1) lack of intent, 2) seizures or uncontrolled movements, and 3) no lawful assembly or meeting.

Lack Of Intent

In any criminal case, the prosecution has to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to meet this burden of proof as to any one element of the crime, the individual cannot be convicted of the crime.

As noted above, disorderly conduct is a specific intent crime, so the prosecution must prove that the accused either knew or had reasonable grounds to know that their conduct would tend to anger, alarm, or disturb others or provoke an assault or breach of the peace.

The standard used in this case is the reasonable person standard, so the defense needs to show by an objective standard that a reasonable person had no reason to believe the conduct might anger, alarm, or disturb others or provoke an assault or breach of the peace. It is insufficient to argue that the accused did not know their behavior might lead to those consequences.

Seizures Or Uncontrolled Movements

Under Minn. Stat. § 609.72, a person does not commit disorderly conduct if an epileptic seizure caused the conduct in question. It is important to note that this exception extends to uncontrolled movements caused by a medical condition.

Self Defense

Minn. Stat. § 609.72 contains a specific element that includes engaging in any brawling or fighting; however, if the individual being accused of disorderly conduct were to claim the conduct was a result of defending himself or another, this would be a valid defense to the allegations.

No Lawful Assembly Or Meeting

Disorderly conduct laws contain a specific element that involves the disturbance of a lawful assembly or meeting. Therefore, if the accused can prove the meeting does not qualify as a lawful assembly or meeting, they can avoid prosecution.

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Statute Of Limitations For A Disorderly Conduct Charge

A statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time that a prosecutor has to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense. As discussed, disorderly conduct is classified as a misdemeanor under Minnesota law. In Minnesota, misdemeanors have a three-year statute of limitations unless specified by the statute. Therefore, disorderly conduct under Minnesota law has a three-year statute of limitations.

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Additional Resources

Minnesota Disorderly Conduct Laws – The Minnesota Statute website describes the legal definitions of crimes and the penalties associated with a conviction. Specifically, Chapter 609 Section 72 gives the relevant information for disorderly conduct.

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Apple Valley Disorderly Conduct Lawyer | Dakota County, MN

If you have been arrested for disorderly conduct, you should hire a qualified criminal defense lawyer that can assist you. Disorderly conduct charges carry severe penalties such as imprisonment and steep fines. Defense attorney James Blumberg at James Blumberg Law has almost two decades of experience in criminal law.

He can formulate a strong defense for your case. To schedule a free consultation today, call (952) 431-7758 as soon as possible.

Mr. Blumberg accepts disorderly conduct cases in Rice County, Steele CountyScott CountySibley County, Dodge County, Olmsted County, and Carver County.

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