Laws Regarding Disorderly Conduct in Arizona
What exactly is the crime of disorderly conduct and which activities fall under the umbrella? How is it prosecuted in Arizona and what would it take to defend yourself? Let’s take a more thorough look at Arizona regulations and the specifics of disorderly conduct.
Arizona Disorderly Conduct Laws
According to A.R.S. 13-2904, a person commits disorderly conduct in several circumstances. Some of the most prominent include the following:
- Making unreasonable noise like playing music too loud in the middle of the night
- Using abusive or offensive language towards another person
- Making a commotion to disrupt a business or the activities of others
- Engaging in a fight or violent behavior
- Preventing a meeting or a lawful gathering from taking place via disruptive behavior
- Recklessly handling, displaying or firing a deadly weapon
In most of these cases, disorderly conduct will be classified as a misdemeanor. It could lead to felony charges whenever a deadly weapon in displayed or fired.
As you can see, the scope of disorderly conduct activities is very broad. This is one of the main reasons why it ranks among the most common criminal offenses in Arizona. Whether you insult someone or you engage in a fist fight, you will have to face the consequences of your actions.
Disorderly Conduct Penalties
In all cases except for the firing of a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct will contribute to Class 1 misdemeanor charges.
The penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona include a prison sentence in the range from zero days to six months and a fine of up to 2,500 dollars.
A person that displays or fires a deadly weapon will be committing a Class 6 felony. Felonies in Arizona carry a mandatory prison sentence. In this case, the length of incarceration is a minimum of 1.5 years. The maximum prison sentence is three years.
When determining the penalty, the court will examine whether disorderly conduct is accompanied by aggravating factors. In such instances, the penalty is going to be a lot harsher. The same applies to people who already have a criminal record. Such individuals who are repeat offenders could be sentenced to serve prison time of up to six years.
Common Disorderly Conduct Defense Scenarios
It’s imperative to call your Arizona criminal defense attorney as soon as you’re taken in custody. Your lawyer will examine the nature of the charges, the circumstances and the evidence against you. Based on this information, an experienced criminal lawyer can craft a defense strategy bound to give the client the best possible outcome.
Reacting to somebody else’s behavior is a possible defense scenario. If you were provoked by someone and you cursed them in response, you will have viable defense. Chances are that the police arrived at the scene to witness solely your behavior. If this is the case, your lawyer will have to prove that you were reacting to somebody else’s behavior instead of being the instigator.
There’s also a big difference between being rude and conducting a crime. The crime of disorderly conduct has to involve either the use of violence or serious disruptive behavior. In the absence of both, there will be no crime committed.
The absence of the right state of mind is another possible line of defense. To be charged, the prosecution has to prove intentional behavior on your behalf. You should have acted in a way aimed at intentionally disturbing others. An accident or an honest mistake cannot be classified as a crime and the charges will probably be dismissed.
Don’t think that disorderly conduct is a minor offense. It can lead to prison time, which is why the case has to be handled professionally right from the start. If you underestimate the severity of the situation, you could end up having to deal with incarceration, fine, probation and additional legal consequences.
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