December 11, 2011 by staff
Disorderly Conduct, Disorderly conduct is a criminal charge in most jurisdictions in the United States. Typically, disorderly conduct makes it a crime to be drunk in public, to “disturb the peace”, or to loiter in certain areas. Many types of unruly conduct may fit the definition of disorderly conduct, as such statutes are often used as “catch-all” crimes. Police may use a disorderly conduct charge to keep the peace when people are behaving in a disruptive manner to themselves or others, but otherwise present no serious public danger. Disorderly conduct is typically classified as a violation or misdemeanor.
A typical definition of disorderly conduct defines the offense in these ways:
A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally:
(1) engages in fighting or in tumultuous conduct;
(2) makes unreasonable noise and continues to do so after being asked to stop; or
(3) disrupts a lawful assembly of persons;
commits disorderly conduct. . .
Indiana’s definition of “disorderly conduct” is modeled after the Model Penal Code’s definition, and is typical, but not identical, to similar laws on the statute books of other U.S. states. It covers a large variety of potential acts in its prohibition. “Fighting” is perhaps the clearest act within the scope of its prohibition, and “tumultuous conduct” is “conduct [...] likely to result in serious bodily injury to a person or substantial damage to property.” But exactly what constitutes “tumultuous conduct”, “unreasonable noise”, or “disrupt[ing] a lawful assembly” are matters that are far harder to decide, and as such disorderly conduct statutes give police officers and other authorities fairly broad discretion to arrest people whose activities they find undesirable for a wide variety of reasons. Potential punishments include a jail term, fine, probation, restraining orders, or community service.
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