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Florida Disorderly Conduct Lawyer
Protect Your Interests with Musca LawArrested for disorderly conduct? You may be confused as to why you are even facing these charges. By consulting a criminal defense attorney at Musca Law, you can find out exactly what the circumstances are surrounding your charges and what you’re up against. A Florida disorderly conduct lawyer can also set out immediately to start defending your rights and protecting your interests.
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For Disorderly Conduct?
Disorderly Conduct Offenses in FloridaDisorderly conduct is an offense that involves a person acting in such a manner as to constitute a “breach of the peace.” At times it may be difficult to distinguish which acts may simply be exercising your freedom of speech and which acts may constitute disorderly conduct. Overall, this particular activity is designated as an open playing field, meaning a charge does not necessarily have to be supported by a substantial collection of evidence to be brought to court.
Some examples of acts that may be classified as disorderly conduct:
- Acts of nature so as to corrupt public morals
- Acts that outrage the sense of public decency
- Acts that affect the peace and quiet of those who witness them
- Brawling or fighting
- Public intoxication
Some Facts about Public Intoxication as an Act of Disorderly Conduct in FloridaKeep in mind that acts of public intoxication (also referred to as disorderly intoxication) also fall into the category of disorderly conduct. Even if the act has taken place in an area reserved for alcohol use, a person can still face criminal charges for disrupting the peace of the public. For example, you are fully permitted to purchase alcohol at sporting events, but, if you become intoxicated and disrupt the public safety and well-being of others in the audience at such an event, you can still be arrested and charged.
Some Facts about Verbal Abuse and Battery of a Law Enforcement OfficialAs indicated above, disorderly conduct may also include resisting any form of arrest at the hands of a police officer and any additional acts (including abuse) that may ensue. Based on FS Chapter XLVI, §784.07 (b), any individual who verbally or physically assaults a member of law enforcement will be charged with misdemeanor of the first degree. Based on the information in the statutes, here is a closer look at what officers fall under the category of law enforcement officials:
- “Emergency medical care provider” refers to an individual who drives an ambulance or provides medical care (e.g. a nurse or EMT). Under various circumstances, this definition may also include doctors, hospital employees, agents, or volunteers at hospitals.
- “Firefighters” refer to any person who is responsible for extinguishing fires and rescuing people from these emergency situations.
- “Law enforcement officer” can refer to officers working in law enforcement, corrections, correctional probation, and auxiliary corrections.
- “Public transit employees” refers to people who are authorized to operate buses or trains, collectors of revenue, members of security, and people who are trained to maintain equipment. This category may also include transit agents.
Committing an Act of Disorderly Conduct in FloridaAs indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 877.03, any individual who commits an act of disorderly conduct (a breach of peace) that ultimately corrupts the public morals, outrages public civility, or completely disrupts the peace of onlookers or takes part in a brawl/fight that breaches the same values will be found guilty of committing a 2nd-degree misdemeanor. Also, as dictated by the FS Chapter XLVI, §856.011, any person who commits an act of disorderly intoxication that corrupts the morals of the public or disrupts the peace of onlookers or takes part in a brawl triggered by drunkenness will also be charged with a 2nd-degree misdemeanor.
Determination of a Valid Disorderly Conduct CaseAs indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 877.03, instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 29.5, members of the court must prove (without any doubt) that the defendant:
- Has committed an act that corrupted the morals of members of the public
- Outraged the decency of the public
- Disrupted the peace and quiet of the people who witnessed the act or acts
- Took part in a brawl or a fight
Determination of a Valid Disorderly Conduct Case on the Grounds of IntoxicationIn regards to cases of disorderly conduct on the grounds of public intoxication, FS Chapter XLVI, § 856.011, instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in case portfolio 29.1, individuals of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:
- Was intoxicated at the time of the incident
- Put the safety of another person (or people) or property in danger
- Was intoxicated or had been consuming alcohol in a public location
- Caused a disturbance of the peace and quiet of the people who witnessed the act or acts
Understanding the Terminology of Case 29.1 for Disorderly IntoxicationHere is a closer look at the terminology set out for jurors in Case 29.1 for a case of disorderly conduct, on the grounds of intoxication:
- “Intoxication” refers to a situation where the defendant has consumed so much alcohol that he or she has completely lost control over his or her body and mind.
- “Public place” refers to a location which the public has the right to visit.
Defense in a Disorderly Conduct Case on the Grounds of “Self-Defense”In the event that a defendant has not picked a fight and has committed an aggressive act out of self-defense, he may assert this notion to the original charge of “Disorderly Conduct.” Although self-defense is a strong piece of evidence that can defend a person who is charged with disorderly conduct, you must keep in mind that this does not always apply if the defendant provoked the fight. If a defendant can provide substantial evidence that they attacked an assailant and were not the culprit, he or she will not be charged with disorderly conduct. For references about acts of self-defense categorized as disorderly conduct, see the following cases:
- Self-defense: S.D.G. v. State, 919 So. 2d 704, 705 (Florida 5th DCA 2006)
- Defendant triggers fight: D.M.L. v. State, 773 So.2d 1216, 1217 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000)
Defense in a Disorderly Conduct Case Based on the Grounds of “Free Speech”As the Criminal Jury rules for Case 29.1 indicate, the statute covering disorderly conduct can raise concerns in a state court. In the event that a defendant declares an act falls under the category of protected speech, the court will take special actions to make sure the jury does not convict a person for exercising constitutional rights. Please review Chandler v. State, 744 So. 2d 1058 (Florida 4th DCA, 1999) for more details about this issue. In the event that a defendant has taken part in complete verbal abuse, the case revolving around the charges of disorderly conduct will become tricky. The First Amendment of the U.S Constitution and Article I (Section 4) of the Florida State Constitution dictates that residents have the right to exercise free speech. In more detail, the laws list that:
- U.S. citizens (Floridians) have the right to speak about all subjects but must be prepared to face the consequences of their actions.
- No existing laws will prevent people from exercising the liberty of free speech.
- In any criminal prosecutions, the truth of the situation can be used as evidence in court.
- If the defendant’s speech (in this case, disorderly conduct) is supported on the charge of free speech, the defendant will not face charges.
- C.P. vs. State 644 So. 2d 600 (Florida 2nd DCA, 1994)
- K.Y.E vs. State 557 So.2d 956 (Florida 1st DCA, 1990)
- K.S. vs. State 697 So. 2d 1275 (Florida 3rd DCA, 1997)