Disorderly Conduct

Many Texans are unaware of this fact, but engaging in conduct that disrupts the public in a disrespectful or threatening manner is a crime known as disorderly conduct. Although the crime is hardly ever violent, the penalties upon conviction are incredibly serious and could significantly impact your life. You could be sentenced to time in jail or prison and be forced to pay expensive fines.

You may think your First Amendment right to free speech will completely protect you from criminal charges. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Using abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language that disrupts the peace will lead to criminal charges. If you’ve been arrested for disorderly conduct in the state of Texas, it’s important you seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Disorderly Conduct Brownsville Attorney, Texas

Disorderly conduct, despite the public’s perception, is a serious crime that could cost you thousands of dollars and time behind bars. Fight back against the allegations by calling the experienced criminal defense team at The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. Our Cameron County disorderly conduct lawyers can assess the facts of your case, develop a sturdy defense plan, and execute it in the courtroom.

Call The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. to set up your first consultation today with The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. You can find our offices in Brownsville, Texas. However, our criminal defense lawyers accept clients throughout the greater Cameron County and Willacy County area including San Perlita, Raymondville, Lyford, Palm Valley, Port Isabel, Rio Hondo, San Benito, Olmito, Los Fresnos, and La Feria.

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What Constitutes Disorderly Conduct?

Disorderly conduct is labeled as a violent offense under the Texas Penal Code. That means the penalties for the crime are especially egregious. According to Section 42.01 of the Penal Code, an individual can be convicted of disorderly conduct if they intentionally or knowingly do any of the following:

  • Expose their sexual organs, genital, or anus in public
  • Use indecent, profane abusive, or vulgar language in a public space and the language incites an immediate breach of peace
  • Discharge a firearm on or across a public road
  • Make offensive gestures or displays in a public area, and said gesture/display incites an immediate breach of peace
  • Display a deadly weapon or firearm in a public place with the intent to alarm
  • Create a noxious and unreasonable odor by chemical means in a public place
  • Discharge a firearm in a public place other than a public road or shooting range
  • Fight with another person in a public
  • Abuse or threaten a person in a public place in an obviously offense manner
  • Make unreasonable noise in a place other than a shooting range or in a or near a private residence of which they have no right to occupy

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What is the Punishment for Disorderly Conduct in Texas?

The right to freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment. However, the Texas courts have made a few exceptions when it comes to disorderly conduct. Language that constitutes danger or that is explicitly vulgar to the point it disturbs the peace is not protected under the Constitution. For example, if a person yells “explosion” in a movie theatre, it can imply an incoming threat and then cause serious bodily injury due to panic.

Disorderly conduct is a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500. Firearms-related acts including discharging or displaying a gun in a public place is a class B misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for a class B misdemeanor is up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

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Statute of Limitations for Disorderly Conduct

Most crimes under the Texas Penal Code have a statute of limitations. It serves as a deadline for prosecutors who wish to file criminal charges against someone. The limit exists to preserve the integrity of evidence and to ensure the court system handles cases on a timely basis.

The state of Texas determines a statute of limitations by the offense’s classification. Because disorderly conduct is charged as a misdemeanor, it will have a statute of limitations of two years. Most felony crimes, on the other hand, have a statute of limitations of three years.

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Crimes Similar to Disorderly Conduct

  • Deadly Conduct – A person may be charged with this offense if they recklessly engage in conduct that puts another in danger or points/discharges a firearm at a person or a building/car where a person could be occupied. Texas Penal Code Section 22.05
  • Harassment – Individuals charged with this offend intend to harm, annoy, alarm, torment, or embarrass another person. Texas Penal Code Section 42.07
  • Disruption of Meetings or Processions – Any person can be charged with this offense if they prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, gather, procession through physical action or verbal utterances. Texas Penal Code Section 42.05
  • False Alarm or Report – When a person knowingly initiates, circulates, or communicates a report of past, present, or future fire, bombing, offense or another emergency they know to be false they may be charged with making a false alarm or report. Texas Penal Code Section 42.06.
  • Assault – A person may be charged with this offense if they intentionally cause physical harm, threaten another with injury, or touch someone in a manner they know is provocative or offensive. Texas Penal Code Section 22.01.

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Additional Resources

Commission on State Emergency Communications – Access the site for the Commission on State Emergency Communications (CSEC). The mission of the organization to preserve and enhance public safety and health in Texas through reliable and easy access to emergency communications services. Visit the website to view their self-help resources available including national alliance on mental illness (NAMI) and the national suicide hotline.

Texas Laws on Disorderly Conduct – Access the Texas Penal Code to learn more about their laws surrounding disorderly conduct. View the elements that constitute the offense, the penalties, and possible admissible defenses. You can also peruse the chapter to learn of other offenses similar to disorderly conduct.

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Cameron County Disorderly Conduct Lawyer | Texas Violent Crimes Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with disorderly conduct or any other violent crime, call the legal team at The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. Our knowledgable and skilled lawyers have over ten years of criminal defense experience we can apply to your case. Call The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. today to set up your first consultation with an experienced Brownsville violent crime lawyer.

The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. accepts clients in Cameron County and surrounding areas including Hidalgo County and Willacy County.

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