disorderly conduct

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Disorderly Conduct

A broad term describing conduct that disturbs the peace or endangers the morals, health, or safety of a community.

Unlike the offense of breach of the peace, which originated under Common Law, disorderly conduct is strictly a statutory crime. It is commonly considered a broader term than breach of the peace and, under some statutes, breach of the peace is an element of disorderly conduct.

The elements of disorderly conduct vary from one jurisdiction to another. Most statutes specify the misconduct that constitutes the offense. Acts such as the use of vulgar and obscene language in a public place, Vagrancy, loitering, causing a crowd to gather in a public place, or annoying passengers on a mode of public transportation have been regarded as disorderly conduct by statute or ordinance. The offense is not committed unless the act complained of clearly falls within the statute.

In most jurisdictions, the decision of whether or not the act complained of is disorderly conduct is made by a judge. Following this determination, a jury decides whether or not the accused is guilty of the offense, provided there is a Question of Fact to be decided.The punishment for disorderly conduct is usually fixed by statute. Under most statutes the penalty consists of a fine, imprisonment, or both. Some statutes provide that an accused cannot be imprisoned for disorderly conduct unless he or she has been given an opportunity to pay a fine and has defaulted on the payment.


Disturbance of the Peace.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

disorderly conduct

n. 1) actions that disturb others. 2) minor criminal offenses, such as public drunkenness, loitering, disturbing the peace, and loud threats or parties.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

disorderly conduct

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
Jade Fulcher, 22, of Warren Avenue, Walker, Newcastle, charged with disorderly conduct. James Jordan, 22, of Holly Avenue, Dunston, Gateshead, charged with disorderly conduct.
Cruz found that during the first six months of 1982, the number of disorderly conduct arrests "jumped sharply" and mostly took place in minority police districts.
The teenager was arrested and he was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct and also taken to Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo for a psychiatric evaluation.
'The man arrested on suspicion causing actual bodily harm, and one of the men arrested on suspicion or disorderly conduct, were later released on police bail without charge.
Well, let's just say it is fairly interesting to see what is passing for 'disorderly conduct' here in New York City." Wrote Macomber: "My own 'disorderly conduct' centered around my obedience to police orders, my cooperation with anything they asked me to do, and carrying out the duties of my job."
Granted, kids have been thrown out because of disorderly conduct. But what about the rest, who are just looking for a safe place to hang.
The former heavyweight champion was charged with assault and disorderly conduct following the fight, which happened in the early hours of the morning.
The former heavyweight champion could now face a return to jail after being charged with assault and disorderly conduct.
Former world heavyweight champ Tyson, 36, was charged with assault and disorderly conduct, cops said.
TWO teenagers were today charged with disorderly conduct after eggs were pelted at the royal Rolls Royce during a visit by the Queen.
* Free speech dilemma: when does "free speech" cross the line and become disorderly conduct or slander?
THE Football Association last night overturned Fulham's pounds 30,000 fine for alleged disorderly conduct in the 21-man brawl in a Premiership match against Everton on December 8.