Stamford Disorderly Conduct Lawyer
Disorderly conduct charges are extremely common in Stamford. These offenses are the most commonly charged crime in Connecticut because they encompass such a wide range of behavior. Whether an action is considered disorderly is in the discretion of the police officer that is investigating the crime.
If you have been accused of a disorderly conduct violation, contact a distinguished criminal lawyer to begin your case. A Stamford disorderly conduct lawyer could help you build a strong defense for your future.
What is the Definition of Disorderly Conduct?
According to Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 53a-182, disorderly conduct is a broad offense that covers many different unlawful behaviors. As a result, you could face disorderly conduct charges for anything from fighting with a spouse or significant other to being disruptive at a public political event.
To secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you either intentionally committed the unlawful conduct to bother others or acted recklessly and created a risk of annoying or disturbing other people.
What are some Common Examples of Disorderly Conduct in Stamford?
Police officers have a great deal of discretion in determining whether certain behavior merits an arrest for disorderly conduct. Some common examples include:
- Fighting or engaging in threatening behavior
- Annoying or interfering with another person
- Making unreasonable noise
- Disturbing any lawful assembly without lawful authority
- Obstructing pedestrian or vehicle traffic
- Committing simple trespass
- Congregating with other people in a public place and refusing to comply with a reasonable official request or order to disperse
All of these actions, as well as other conduct that falls under this broad definition, can result in a disorderly conduct arrest. These charges are also common in domestic violence situations. Since the consequences of a conviction can be severe, individuals facing disorderly conduct charges may wish to contact a lawyer in Stamford for advice.
Potential Grounds for a Disorderly Conduct Arrest
Generally speaking, there are two ways one can be arrested for disturbing the peace: by arrest warrant or on scene. On scene arrests are the most common way that disorderly conduct arrests occur and often how domestic violence related disorderly conduct arrests occur.
In some situations, though, arrests for disturbing the peace stem from a lengthy police investigation that produces enough evidence for a judge to issue a conviction. This is more common in disorderly conduct cases that do not involve domestic violence, such as those stemming from disruption of a lawful assembly or obstruction of traffic that does not end with an arrest at the scene.
Contesting on-the-spot disorderly conduct arrests is usually much easier than contesting arrests that come at the end of an investigation. This is because the former scenario often involves much more room for subjective interpretation of a defendant’s allegedly criminal actions. Either way, though, assistance from a skilled Stamford attorney can be absolutely essential to constructing a strong disorderly conduct defense strategy and executing on it effectively in court hearings.
What are Some Defense Strategies for Disturbing the Peace?
There may be various defenses available to individuals who face prosecution for disorderly conduct. For example, if law enforcement officers arrested you during a peaceful and lawful protest, then those officers may have violated your First Amendment right to freedom of speech, assembly, or religion. If there was no violence, excessive noise, blocking of sidewalks or roads, or other behavior that annoyed others, law enforcement officers may not have a legal justification for arresting protest participants.
As a Stamford attorney may recommend, another possible defense in a disorderly conduct case involves intent. The prosecution must prove that you intentionally caused or recklessly created a risk of annoyance or alarm to others. Proving your intent beyond a reasonable doubt may be difficult, and this element could be a weakness in the case against you.
Fighting Back Against Domestic Violence Disorderly Conduct Allegations
Because of the additional legal proceedings in family court that a domestic violence disorderly conduct arrest can lead to, successfully contesting charges of this nature can be that much more complicated. However, there are also some ways of potentially resolving these charges that are not applicable in other types of disturbing the peace cases in Stamford, as a knowledgeable lawyer could explain in more detail. If the Office of Family Services accepts the case, your chances of arguing for your charges to be dropped increase.
Sometimes, it is possible for a defendant to get a disorderly conduct charge dropped by showing the court that there are no domestic violence issues in their home and that no one in their family or household is at any risk of future harm. If an argument gets a little out of hand and neither party involved believes it should constitute a criminal offense, this approach may be a good way to settle the issue without any further consequences for either side.
A similar outcome may be possible if the parties involved can come together and peacefully mediate the problem that led to the arrest in the first place. If possible, courts may choose to prioritize the safety of the person or people directly impacted by the disorderly conduct rather than focusing solely on rehabilitating or punishing the instigator.
Finally, first-time offenders may be able to get their disorderly conduct charge dismissed by voluntarily applying for and completing Connecticut’s Family Violence Education Program. This program consists of nine anger management classes and a monitoring period that may last from six months to two years, but if it is completed successfully, the court will take the initial disorderly conduct charge off the defendant’s criminal record.
What are the Penalties for Disturbing the Peace in Stamford?
Disorderly conduct is a Class C misdemeanor, a fairly low level criminal charge in Connecticut. The penalties for disturbing the peace include a permanent criminal record, being subject to a protective order, jail time, probation, and/or court fines of up to $500.
Although Stamford disorderly conduct charges are the lowest misdemeanor charge in Connecticut, they should be treated seriously because they are still prosecuted in court and can result in a permanent criminal record. A criminal record could lead to long-term consequences, like making it difficult for one to gain employment.
Disorderly conduct charges can also result in a protective order. This protective order can stop someone from being able to return to their home or speak to their significant other for the pendency of their criminal case for up to two years. Protective orders can also pose issues for defendants while traveling internationally. Violation of a protective order is a felony charge, so it is important for individuals to contact a Stamford lawyer when facing disorderly charges.
How a Stamford Disorderly Conduct Attorney Could Help
If you have questions about disorderly conduct or how to defend against disturbing the peace charges, contact an attorney today. A dedicated Stamford disorderly conduct lawyer could fight for you to ensure that your rights are being protected. Call today and let an Avvo 5-star rated attorney help you avoid the serious consequences for disturbing the peace.