Disorderly Conduct in Florida

Disorderly Conduct is a catch-all crime that is primarily used by law enforcement to arrest people who are acting unruly.

If accused of Disorderly Conduct, you need to know the:

Definition of Disorderly Conduct

Under Florida Statute 877.03, the crime of Disorderly Conduct is committed when a person:

  1. Commits an act that corrupts the public morals, outrages the sense of public decency, or affects the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them; or
  2. Engages in brawling, fighting, or other conduct that constitutes a breach of the peace.

Penalties for Disorderly Conduct

The crime of Disorderly Conduct is a Second Degree Misdemeanor and if convicted of Disorderly Conduct, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to sixty (60) days in jail.
  • Up to six (6) months of probation.
  • Up to $500 in fines.

Defenses to Disorderly Conduct

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, a specific defense to the crime of Disorderly Conduct is:

First Amendment Protected Speech

Generally, speech alone will not support a conviction for disorderly conduct. However, exceptions to this general rule are “fighting words” or enhanced speech like shouts of “fire.”

Fighting Words

Fighting words are those words likely to cause an average person to whom they are addressed to engage in fighting. [1]

Enhanced Speech

Enhanced Speech refers to words like shouts of "fire." When analyzing enhanced speech, the courts focus on the delivery of the words. When the deliver is un-enhanced, the courts have consistently held that the speech will not support a conviction for disorderly conduct. [2]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Disorderly Conduct in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, please contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. ASC v. State, 14 So. 3d 1118 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009)
  2. State v. Saunders, 339 So. 2d 641 (Fla. 1976)