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Disorderly Conduct Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Defend Your Disorderly Conduct Case in Court with the Aid of Musca Law

Throughout the state of Florida, crimes classified as disorderly conduct (often called a breach of peace), could result in sentences of as long as 60 days in county jail, six months of supervised probation, a fine of as much as $500, and a criminal record. If you or someone in your family has been charged with a crime of a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct, reach out to a Fort Lauderdale disorderly conduct criminal attorney right away. A reputable Florida criminal attorney will be able to explain the charges that have been brought against you and decide which legal defenses will work best in your specific circumstances.

General Disorderly Conduct Crimes

As stated in Florida law, Section 877.03, disorderly conduct applies to deeds “of a nature to 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, or engages in such conduct as to constitute a breach of the peace…” This definition of the term clearly casts a very wide net, basically including all acts that involve demonstrating, fighting, or joining in any disruptive actions that might negatively impact the peace and quiet of another person or people.

Crimes of disorderly conduct are usually categorized as second-degree misdemeanors, which carries a potential penalty of as long as 60 days in county jail or six months of supervised probation and a fine of as much as $500. Any offender with a previously clean record might be permitted to have their charges dropped or decreased to simple community service. This is the precise point in the process that a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney will become an invaluable asset since they will have the necessary knowledge regarding how individual judges and prosecutors in the Fort Lauderdale area handle breaches of peace and disorderly conduct crimes.

Defending a Charge of Breaching the Peace

Florida law acknowledges many defenses for a disorderly conduct charge including but not limited to the following:

  • Participating in protected speech. This applies to wholly verbal communication that is defended by the United States Constitution’s First Amendment.
  • Merely using swear words, obscenities, or profanity directed at law enforcement officials. This most commonly comes into play during a protest or demonstration.
  • Simply behaving in an annoying, belligerent, or loud manner is typically not sufficient to support any charges of disorderly conduct.
  • Causing a crowd to assemble or causing a scene. In the absence of additional charges or escalating the situation to the degree of inciting violence, these charges are usually not sufficient to support any charges of disorderly conduct .
  • Acting out of self-defense. This defense may be applicable in the event that a person was merely defending themselves, which is generally associated with public brawls.

The overall idea is that any breach of the peace or disorderly conduct charges have to involve something greater than just actions or words. The state, however, has a habit of reading a lot more into a person’s actions than they ever meant or that ever took place. This is why having a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney by your side will be the most effective tool in your arsenal when it comes to defending yourself against these or similar charges in the state of Florida.

Guidance from a Reputable Attorney

If you or someone that you love has been charged with a breach of the peace or a disorderly conduct crime here in Florida, please get in touch with a Fort Lauderdale disorderly conduct attorney so that they can examine the charges that have been brought against you, ascertain the likelihood of having these charges thrown out or reduced on your behalf, and also decide whether or not a legal defense might be applicable under your circumstances and if so, which one. Even though the majority of Florida disorderly conduct crimes are categorized as a misdemeanor, they could still be enough to leave you with a criminal record which will have a negative impact not only on your good reputation but will also influence what access you have toward any future jobs, education, housing opportunities, and more. Your future is all that you have, so do not allow a charge of disorderly conduct to permanently ruin it.

Juvenile Crimes

Juvenile offenders, juvenile delinquents, delinquent minors, or youthful offenders are the nomenclature that applies to anyone who is under 18 years of age and engages in the perpetration of any kind of criminal activity. Procedures for juveniles vary from state to state and the ins and outs can become quite complex. It is a regular part of growing up that mistakes are made along the way, because youth are learning as they go. As one matures, they will learn the difference between wrong and right as well as what the rules, mores, and laws are of our shared society. Youthful stupidity and misunderstandings often cause children to wander down the wrong path where they may eventually make errors in judgment. The good thing is that the law is already designed to address the fact that adults and kids are intrinsically different from one another, acknowledging that it is only right that they should be treated as the youth that they are when criminal procedures are thrown into the situation.

When someone who is legally an adult is prosecuted, and has to deal with the subsequent punishments for crimes that they have been found guilty of, the idea behind the sentence that they receive is to negatively reinforce unlawful actions, to deter the commission of any subsequent crimes, and to set an example for other people who may be considering acting in similar ways. The stress in adult court is fixed on deterrence, and punishment is based on the fact that adult criminals have been around long enough to know right from wrong. For minors, the same expectations do not come into play because of their fewer years of lived experience, which means that their cases are handled differently when criminal proceedings are involved. The punishments that are given to minors are designed to be focused on education and rehabilitation so that these youthful offenders do not turn into adult offenders and live a life of crime. 

Minors who are found guilty of any kind of criminal activity are more likely to commit these and other criminal offenses regularly during their adult life as opposed to minors who are never found guilty of any crime. Hinging on the severity of the crime, juvenile sentencing is generally less harsh than sentencing that is given to adults. Juveniles are usually provided chances to be redirected away from the justice system towards something positive and their criminal records are often sealed to stop these kids from being known as criminals, and by extension, lessening the probability that they will commit future crimes. 

Juvenile Disorderly Conduct

There are very few criminal charges that are not quite clear in their explanations as to precisely which criminal act has supposedly been perpetrated. Driving under the influence, possession of cocaine and homicide are all perfectly straightforward crimes that each have a very particular definition. On the other side of that same coin, there are also crimes such as disturbing the peace, assault, or disorderly conduct, which can be very unclear. These crimes suggest a broad range of possible events leading up to and resulting in the charge. According to the law under Florida Statute 877.03, disorderly conduct is considered to have taken place whenever a person “commits such acts as are of a nature to 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, or engages in such conduct as to constitute a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.”

Particularly in cases that involve juveniles, law enforcement officers generally charge disobedient people from any number of situations with a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct charge even in the event that no definite crime has taken place. Juveniles are uniquely susceptible to being charged with breach of the peace or disorderly conduct due to the fact that the majority of schools in the state of Florida have law enforcement officers present on the school grounds all the time. At each school, there is always that select group of a few children who may show blatant irreverence toward authority figures. These circumstances can quickly intensify and even in cases in which no criminal acts have technically been perpetrated, a child could wind up with a charge for disorderly conduct just because they challenged the power of a police officer.

A perfect example of this is the case Gonzales vs. the City of Belle Glade, Florida. In this instance, someone was arrested for a breach of peace due to the fact that they were displeased with the service that they experienced at a neighborhood eatery. The defendant, Gonzales, shouted at the restaurant staff as well as the law enforcement officers who responded to the disturbance call. Gonzales was then charged with disorderly conduct. Absolutely no threats had been made to the staff, no threats had been made to the police officers who were in attendance, and zero property damage had taken place. When this case went to court, the judge found in favor of Gonzales, asserting that Gonzales had not outraged the public’s sense of decency, nor had he corrupted the public morals. The whole debacle was, however, simply a nuisance to those who happened to be patronizing the restaurant at that particular time. Simple nuisances do not warrant a criminal charge, and therefore the sentence was reversed.

A breach of the peace is classified as a misdemeanor crime of the second degree, and is punishable by as long as 60 days in county jail, a fine as much as $500.00 and as long as six months of supervised probation. A charge of disorderly conduct is comparatively defensible because of the wide scope and vagueness of the charge. As we saw in the case of Gonzales versus the City of Belle Glade, a sentence is unable to be upheld where the defendant simply caused a nuisance in a public area with only their words, just as long as there were no fighting words or words of a threatening nature used. The United States Constitution’s First Amendment defends free speech albeit with certain exemptions to genuine threats or cases like shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded movie theater. This is due to the fact that these words have a reasonable expectation of causing panic and fear in rational people. 

Charges of disorderly conduct typically include situations in which a person speaks rudely, uses swear words or shouts vulgarities at police officers. Law enforcement officers are not granted any form of protection from free speech as stated clearly in the First Amendment. The amendment intends for every American to hold the right to say anything they wish to agents of our government. This includes law enforcement officers, as long as the purpose of their words is not intimidating or threatening. For instance, a juvenile could lawfully state “I hate police officers” directly to a police officer and be absolutely within their rights. They may not, however, rightfully say “I am going to kill you” to that same police officer. The second statement would easily end, at the very least, in a charge for disorderly conduct, and possibly even a charge for aggravated assault.

Musca Law Criminal Defense Attorneys

The Florida disorderly conduct criminal defense attorneys at Musca Law realize that children act out on certain occasions and that they ultimately won’t grow until they are able to learn from their mistakes. Campus police officers and school administrators may strive to make an example out of disobedient students as a way to maintain their power and influence, but we at Musca Law are ready to defend their rights and freedom of expression. Students can easily wind up with a charge for disorderly conduct, which could last with them forever. Do not allow your kid’s permanent record to be darkened with a criminal charge when they were actually behaving well within their constitutional rights. Musca Law has a solid reputation for advocating for the rights of every single one of our clients. Nobody’s constitutional liberties must ever be disregarded or neglected when undergoing a trial in criminal court, and our disorderly conduct attorneys are going to make certain that it will not happen. Do not leave your kid’s future up to a prosecutor and a judge. Call our Fort Lauderdale law office at (954) 302-5391 as soon as possible so that we can schedule your free initial case consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys. 

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