Disorderly Conduct and Public Disturbance

Disorderly conduct and public disturbance are very common misdemeanors in Raleigh and throughout North Carolina. However, it has a broad legal definition and there are variety of behaviors that could be considered disorderly conduct, making it difficult to state what you specifically can and cannot do.

As such, if you’ve been charged with disorderly conduct and/or public disturbance, you need a North Carolina criminal defense lawyer to defend your case in court, while ensuring that police and prosecutors have followed the full extent of North Carolina law.

Examples of Disorderly Conduct in North Carolina

According to North Carolina General Statute § 14-288.4, disorderly conduct is defined as a “public disturbance intentionally caused by a person” who does any of the following:

  • Engage in fighting or violent conduct, or in conduct creating the threat of imminent violence
  • Makes any utterance, action, gesture, etc. intended to invoke violence
  • Takes possession or exercises control of a public building or facility
  • Refuses to vacate public building or facility
  • Disrupts, disturbs, or interferes with the teaching of students at public and private educational institutions
  • Disrupts, disturbs, or interferes with a religious service
  • Disrupts, disturbs, or interferes with a funeral

There are many other behaviors that could be considered disorderly conduct. For example, conducting a sit-in or protesting at your school could make you susceptible for a disorderly conduct charge. Furthermore, public misconduct such as public urination or public intoxication can fall under the disorderly conduct category.

In North Carolina, if you’re convicted of a disorderly conduct charge, you could be facing a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.

Rioting and Failure to Disperse

Disorderly Conduct Raleigh | Dewey Brinkley LawThere is a fairly clear line distinguishing a public assembly, such as a protest, from a riot. According to North Carolina law (N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-288.2), a riot involves three or more people threatening to incite violence or behaving in such a way that it creates risk of injury or property damage. Punishments for a riot are profoundly increased in terms of severity if people are injured or property is destroyed during the riot.

At the same time, however, failure to disperse is a common charge given to those exercising their right to assembly and protest. If staging a sit-in at the superintendent’s office, and you’re asked to leave, you could be convicted of failing to disperse.

Drunk and Disorderly

Drunk and disorderly is another common charge in North Carolina, and this crime involves a person being drunk in any public space (even if privately owned) and being disruptive by some of the following activities:

  • Interfering or blocking traffic
  • Blocking a building’s entrance
  • Fighting or inciting others to fight
  • Cursing, shouting, or insulting
  • Begging

Call Dewey P. Brinkley For an Effective Criminal Defense

From noise violations to using obscene or vulgar language at a bus stop, there are many behaviors that could be coined as disorderly conduct. Because of the many grey areas in this law, it is essential to have a North Carolina criminal defense lawyer investigating the circumstances of the case and rigorously defending you in court. For Raleigh’s leading defense attorney, contact Dewey P. Brinkley at 919-832-0307 for a free consultation today.