Disorderly Conduct Defense in Tampa, FL

Disorderly Conduct Defense in Tampa, FL

What is Disorderly Conduct?

Under Florida Law a person commits the offense of Disorderly Conduct when:

  1. The person commits an act that corrupts the public morals, outrages the sense of public decency, or affects the peace and quiet of persons;

Or when,

  1. The person engages in brawling or fighting.

Maximum penalties for Disorderly Conduct
In Florida, Disorderly Conduct is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of:

60 days in jail
6 months of probation
$500 fine

Possible Defenses to a Disorderly Conduct Charge

First Amendment
Pursuant to the United States Constitution, Florida laws normally cannot restrict a person’s freedom of speech.  Therefore the words a person speaks will rarely result in a conviction for Disorderly Conduct.

For example, an accused generally cannot be convicted for Disorderly Conduct when he or she merely screams, swears or directs insults at a law enforcement officer.  However, if along with the screaming, swearing, and insults an accused engaged in physical actions that obstructed the officer from doing his or her duty, a person could be convicted of disorderly conduct.

There are other situations in which a person’s words can result in a Disorderly Conduct conviction.

First, a person can be convicted of Disorderly Conduct if they use “fighting words.”  “Fighting words,” are words that are likely to cause an average person to whom they are addressed to fight.

Second, a person can be convicted of disorderly conduct if they speak words that they know are false and those words create a danger of bodily harm to others.  For example, if a person were to scream “fire!” just to get a better seat at a crowded concert, this conduct would create a danger that people might be injured as they attempt to flee the area.

Self Defense
Because an accused can be convicted of Disorderly Conduct if they engage in brawling or fighting, an accused may claim that they fought or brawled in self-defense.   However, the defense applies only if the defendant did not provoke the brawl or fight.

Are you looking for the best Disorderly Conduct lawyer in Tampa Florida? Contact Attorney David C. Hardy.

Tampa Attorney David C. Hardy is a former prosecutor that now represents persons accused of Disorderly Conduct.  He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. As a prosecutor and defense attorney, he has extensive experience handling Disorderly Conduct cases.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for Disorderly Conduct in Hillsborough County Florida, Pinellas County Florida, or Pasco County Florida, Attorney David C. Hardy has the knowledge, skills, and experience to guide you through this process and obtain the best possible results.