Disorderly Conduct Laws – Montgomery County

 

The Martin Law Firm, P.C. is a criminal defense firm. We routinely represent individuals charged with disorderly conduct in Montgomery County.

 

Montgomery County Disorderly Conduct (18 P.S. § 5503)

A person will be guilty of disorderly conduct if the person, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof; 1) engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior; 2) makes unreasonable noise; 3) uses obscene language, or makes an obscene gesture; or 4) creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose. The offense of disorderly conduct covers a wide variety of behavior that the police in Montgomery County may regard as criminal conduct.

 

Grading

Disorderly conduct is generally considered a summary offense; however, if the Commonwealth can prove that the individual had the intent to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience or if he or she continues the conduct after reasonable warning, then it can be graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree.

 

Penalties for Disorderly Conduct

If graded as a summary offense, an individual may be subject to a maximum of 90 days of imprisonment and/or up to a $300.00 fine. If graded as a misdemeanor, an individual may be subject to a maximum of 1 year of imprisonment and/or up to a $2,500.00 fine.

 

Defense Strategies

The disorderly conduct law is very broad and it can be interpreted to include many acts. As with any crime, the Commonwealth of Montgomery County must prove each and every element of the statute. For disorderly conduct in particular, a common strategy for the misdemeanor charge is to challenge the Commonwealth’s evidence of “intent” or whether the Commonwealth can prove “substantial” harm or “serious” inconvenience. Another defense strategy is to challenge whether the act caused “public” inconvenience, annoyance or alarm. The term “public” means “affecting or likely to affect persons in a place to which the public or a substantial group has access”. Successfully challenging this element of the statute can also result in an acquittal.

 

Hiring a Disorderly Conduct Lawyer

Our lawyers will always work hard to resolve these matters with your arresting officer. We may be able to negotiate an alternative resolution that includes a dismissal of the charge or a reduction of other charges that may have been filed in addition to the disorderly conduct charge. Contact our firm today to discuss your disorderly conduct charge at 215-646-3980.