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Disorderly Conduct

What Is Disorderly Conduct?

Disorderly conduct is defined in Florida statute 877.03. The statute provides a number of ways that someone may commit this offense. Candidly, the statute attempts to be clear, however, is anything but clear. The statute states that a person commits the crime of disorderly conduct if they engage in acts that “corrupt the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them, or engages in brawling or fighting.” The statute actually raises more questions than provides answers. What does “corrupt the public morals mean?” “Outrage the sense of public decency?” What does that mean? Also, the statute suggests that it’s a crime if one fights. Does that mean only physical fighting? What about verbal sparring? Because the statute is so unclear, officers often incorrectly charge people with disorderly conduct. They erroneously think that mere yelling in public qualifies as a criminal offense under this statute. They are dead wrong. Merely yelling in public isn’t necessarily a crime. In fact, the appellate courts have ruled that yelling outrageous and even offensive speech is constitutionally protected and not a crime. For example, in one Miami criminal case, (L.A.T. vs. State) a juvenile looked directly at police and yelled at them in protest at the top of his lungs while his friend was being arrested at Publix. According to police, his cursing and loud tone caused a crowd to gather and even created concerns for the safety and well being of persons and property in the area. He was arrested and convicted. In reversing his conviction, the court of appeals ruled that what he did, while offensive, was not unlawful.

Our law firm has handled hundreds of disorderly conduct cases similar to the example provided. We have won many cases on motions to dismiss, successfully persuading the judge that the arrest was unlawful and constitutionally protected. Having a talented and knowledgeable Miami disorderly conduct lawyer representing you can mean the difference between dismissal and conviction.

Presumption of Innocence

At the Law Offices of Mark Eiglarsh, we take very seriously the presumption of innocence. Even if our clients may have been engaged in disorderly conduct, the prosecution bears the burden of proof and must prove each and every element of the crime charged. Often, even if the offense was committed, prosecutors will have challenges actually proving the case. These types of cases hinge heavily, if not exclusively, on the testimony provided by eye-witnesses. Frequently, key witnesses in these disorderly conduct cases fail to appear in court. Prosecutors may then attempt to prove their disorderly conduct cases without those key witnesses. A skilled experienced Miami disorderly conduct attorney will know how to make the proper objections to ensure your due process rights are protected and that the case can be legally proven with admissible evidence.

Defenses

One of the reasons you need the best disorderly conduct attorney in Miami on your side is to know the best defense for your case. As discussed above, one of the most frequently used defenses is that the speech and/or conduct is constitutionally protected and not unlawful. When it comes to speech, the U.S. constitution affords wide latitude to say things even that are offensive and/or outrageous. There are some limits to free speech. The most popular example is that in a crowded movie theater, you cannot yell “Fire!!!” Also, it’s not lawful for you to encourage others to commit crimes. For example, yelling to a crowd of people, “Let’s kill these police officers” is unlawful and not protected by the first amendment’s free speech clause. However, yelling to that same crowd, “Police suck” is extremely offensive and ill-advised, however, is constitutionally protected, even if it angers gatherers and the police themselves.

Another defense to disorderly conduct is “self-defense.” If a person is arrested because they were fighting in public, a legitimate defense may be to argue that the fighting only took place because the accused was defending himself against an aggressor. One should never be convicted of this offense if they chose to stand their ground and lawfully defend themselves against an attack.

Call Now

If you’ve been charged with disorderly conduct, you need the best disorderly conduct attorney in Miami. If you’ve been arrested in Broward or Palm Beach County, you need the best South Florida disorderly conduct lawyer around. Allow the Law Offices of Mark Eiglarsh assist you. We have over two decades of experience in the criminal arena. You must take this charge seriously and call now. We are available 24/7 to assist you. (877) 674-0003. Allow us to help you immediately.