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Potential Defenses to Disorderly Conduct Charges

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Disorderly Conduct

In Massachusetts, disorderly conduct charges are a serious criminal law matter that should never be taken lightly. Many people find themselves facing charges like these when they act out in public, engage in a fight, or annoy or taunt the police. Being convicted of a disorderly conduct charge can result in a criminal record, which can cause you difficulties when you try to apply for certain jobs, apply for green cards and other immigration documentation, or when you apply to schools and other educational programs. If you are facing these charges in Massachusetts, you should have an experienced criminal defense lawyer aggressively fight the charges against you.

What Can Be Construed as Disorderly Conduct?

Disorderly conduct is laid out in M.G.L. Chapter 272, Section 53. The actions that can be considered for this crime can vary significantly and often times the decision of what is disorderly conduct is up to the law enforcement officer that makes the arrest. For instance, engaging in fights or violence, using foul language in an inappropriate situation (in the presence of a large group of young children, for example), or engaging in offensive actions (for example, indecent exposure or harassing someone) could be considered disorderly conduct by a law enforcement officer. Disturbing the peace, loitering and being generally obnoxious to those around you could be enough to result in a disorderly conduct charge. Disorderly conduct is often subjective.

Some Potential Defenses to Disorderly Conduct Charges

What defenses can be raised to this charge depends largely on what the alleged disorderly conduct is to start with. Below are a few examples of defenses that might make sense to raise in your specific situation:

  • Freedom of speech.  This charge might be the result of you openly speaking your mind in a way that was offensive or may have alarmed someone, such as a bystander. But you do have a right to say what you want (for the most part) under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If your disorderly conduct case turns on whether you were engaging in freedom of expression as opposed to engaging in disorderly conduct, then your criminal defense lawyer should explore the facts of your particular situation carefully and raise a freedom of speech defense if it is appropriate.
  • Involuntary actions. It is possible that you were experiencing a fit or some other episode that you have no control over that caused you to create a disturbance. Whether this defense is available to you will depend on your specific circumstances, and if you have a medical history of a condition that caused you to act as you did.
  • Self-defense. In a case of a fight, it is possible that you behaved the way that you did as an act of self-defense.

Contact an Experienced Massachusetts Disorderly Conduct Lawyer

You have every right to express yourself, and if you are facing criminal charges you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. Our Attorney has worked with a number of individuals who have been arrested by police for allegedly committing crimes. Our Attorney analyzes the facts of your specific case to identify any potential defenses you might have. Please do not hesitate to contact Our Attorney immediately reaching out to her online.