Disorderly conduct charges can have serious consequences in the state of Texas. Whether you've been accused of this offense or simply want to be informed, it's crucial to understand the legal implications and potential defenses available to you.
What Is Disorderly Conduct in Texas?
According to the Texas Penal Code, disorderly conduct is defined as behaving in a way that is deemed "disruptive" or "offensive" in public.
This includes actions such as:
- Making excessively loud noise
- Using abusive language
- Threatening others
- Engaging in lewd conduct
Such behavior may not in and of itself be a crime, but because it happens in a public setting, it may result in an arrest for disorderly conduct. Therefore, it’s best to avoid such activity unless you’re on private property and have permission from the property owner to engage in such activities.
What Are the Penalties for Disorderly Conduct?
If you're convicted of disorderly conduct in Texas, you could be facing a Class C misdemeanor charge. This carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine. While this may not seem like a huge penalty, a misdemeanor charge can have long-term consequences on your criminal record. It can impact your ability to get a job or rent an apartment, and it can even affect your ability to travel internationally.
What Are the Defenses Available for Disorderly Conduct?
One of the defenses you can use against a disorderly conduct charge is that your behavior wasn't truly "disruptive" or "offensive." If your actions were justified in some way, such as defending yourself or others, you may be able to argue that you weren't engaging in disorderly conduct.
Additionally, if the prosecution can't prove that your behavior was serious enough to qualify as disorderly conduct, they may have a hard time winning a conviction.
Another possible defense against a disorderly conduct charge is that the arresting officer didn't have a valid reason to arrest you in the first place. If your behavior wasn't actually disorderly, the officer may have overstepped their bounds in arresting you. Similarly, if the officer didn't follow proper procedure or acted in a discriminatory way, you may have grounds for a defense.
Getting arrested for disorderly conduct in Texas can be scary, but it's important to remember that there are ways to fight the charge. Understanding exactly what qualifies as disorderly conduct in Texas, the potential consequences of a conviction, and the defenses available to you can go a long way in building your case.
When facing a disorderly conduct charge, it's important to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can help guide you through the process and protect your rights. If you're facing this charge, don't give up hope—with the right strategy, you may be able to beat the case and move forward with your life.
When you need legal representation, don’t hesitate to contact Alband, Lane & Balderrama for assistance.