Understanding Disorderly Conduct Charges in PA

Drunk and Disorderly

Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication are independent charges in Pennsylvania. Each charge can be levied separately or together based on the circumstances of the incident. It is important to note that being charged with public intoxication in PA does not mean you were engaged in disorderly conduct, and vice versa.

Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct in the state of Pennsylvania is a broad charge. It is often used to cover a variety of behaviors that may disturb the peace or cause annoyance to others. It can include actions such as fighting, threatening behavior, making unreasonable noise, obscene language or gestures, or creating a hazardous condition without legitimate reason.

This charge can be classified as a summary offense or a third-degree misdemeanor, depending on the severity and impact of the situation. Disorderly conduct charges are typically applied when a person has caused a public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm by:

  • Fighting or threatening other people
  • Making an unreasonable noise
  • Using obscene language or making an obscene gesture
  • Creating a hazardous or physically offensive situation

Under the law, these charges are typically a summary offense that is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300. However, if it is determined that a person intended to cause substantial harm or inconvenience (or if a person continues to persist in their conduct after a reasonable warning to stop), this charge can become a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Public Intoxication vs Disorderly Conduct

Public intoxication charges, on the other hand, is a separate charge that involves being visibly under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance in a public place to the degree that one may endanger oneself, others, or property, or annoy others in their vicinity.

Public intoxication charges are typically applied to someone who is accused of public drunkenness to the degree in which they could be a danger to themselves, other people, or property around them. This charge is also a summary offense that is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 for the first violation. Subsequent violations can see a fine of up to $1,000. In many cases, a person can face a disorderly conduct charge along with a public drunkenness charge.

Get Legal Help with Disorderly Conduct Charges Today

If you or someone you know are facing charges related to disorderly conduct, contact the criminal defense attorneys at SMT. Do not consider these charges to be simply “minor.” At SMT Legal, we work to get to the bottom of what happened so you can get the charges dropped or dismissed. When you are facing disorderly conduct charges in Pittsburgh, contact us for a free consultation.

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