Arizona Disorderly Conduct Cases
Lake Havasu City is one of the top spring break and recreational destinations in Arizona. Lake Havasu has many water sporting activities and nightlife that makes accompanying alcohol consumption very common. Alcohol use lower inhibitions and impairs judgment and can sometimes result in everyday people getting in trouble with the law.
Disorderly Conduct is the most common crimes that result from public drunken behavior. The Lake Havasu City Police Department has a heightened concern and priority to arrest individuals that commit disorderly conduct at public places in Lake Havasu City.
Misdemeanors by definition are less serious crimes. So inherently, folks from all walks of life can easily find themselves on the wrong side of the law because of a lapse of judgment or from the heat of the moment in a confrontation. Even someone with no criminal record could find themselves charged with disorderly conduct because of a bad mistake.
In a typical scenario, the police get called out to a dispute at a public place like the Lake Havasu Channel, or Kokomos (by way of example) because someone reports fighting or a particular subject being belligerent. When the officer gets to the scene it is usually impossible for the officer to determine properly who was the aggressor in a confrontation and who was the victim. A police officer ends up only seeing the aftermath of two agitated individuals having been in a confrontation with each other. Witness reports if they are made or taken can be unreliable or biased.
Instead of charging one person with an assault or threatening and intimidation, a police officer may end up charging all the parties with disorderly conduct to resolve the situation and end the call out. Someone may find themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time and end up being charged with disorderly conduct and taken to the Lake Havasu City Police Department Jail.
Criminal Disorderly Conduct cases that are cited by the Lake Havasu City Police Department get filed with the Lake Havasu City Municipal Court. A suspect who is arrested or given a citation must then appear in court.
What is Disorderly Conduct?
Disorderly Conduct is an “Offense Against Public Order” under chapter 29 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. The most common instances of disorderly conduct are legally defined under A.R.S. 13-2904.
A.R.S. 13-2904 Disorderly Conduct
A person commits disorderly conduct if, with intent to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family or person, or with knowledge of doing so, such person:
1. Engages in fighting, violent or seriously disruptive behavior; or
2. Makes unreasonable noise; or
3. Uses abusive or offensive language or gestures to any person present in a manner likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation by such person . . .
One of the many legal challenges to disorderly conduct cases is that the term “seriously disruptive behavior” is too vague to be constitutional and give adequate due process to those charged with this crime. Unfortunately, most courts have upheld this type of language in disorderly conduct statutes as entirely permissible under the law. Judges, therefore, have great discretion and latitude in deciding what is “seriously disruptive behavior” and determining someone's guilt or innocence.
What are the Defenses for Disorderly Conduct?
If you are charged with Disorderly Conduct there are many legal and factual defenses that could be raised in court and at trial.
In reviewing a charge for disorderly conduct one of the first issues to determined is what is the conduct that is “unreasonable” or determine what is the “seriously disruptive” behavior. An argument might be made that conduct in one context is not unreasonable in another situation that fits the circumstance in the case.
The Government and the prosecutor also have to prove that the defendant intentionally “disturb(ed) the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family, or person”. You cannot be convicted for recklessly disturbing the peace or for negligently disturbing the peace. The prosecutor must prove an intentional act before a suspect can be held criminally liable.
Another key point to keep in mind is that all defenses available to criminal offenses such as assault or still applicable. It is a legal defense to disorderly conduct if you are acting in self-defense or justification if someone has placed you in immediate apprehension of harm.
What are the Penalties for Disorderly Conduct?
Getting a conviction for Disorderly Conduct in Lake Havasu City can result in serious consequences and penalties. Disorderly conduct is a class 1 Misdemeanor that can be punishable with:
- Up to 6 months in jail.
- Up to $2,500 fine.
- Up to 3 years Probation
- Domestic Violence conviction under certain criteria.
Lake Havasu City Courts have a reputation for imposing substantial fines and penalties for most criminal offenses including disorderly conduct. It is important that you consult with an attorney if you are ever charged with a disorderly conduct crime. You have a right to legal counsel to protect your rights. A criminal defense attorney works to help get your charges dismissed or reduced to avoid any harsh criminal sentence.