Innocent and Facing Charges That Would Have Ruined My Life
Why Plead to Disorderly Conduct?
Disorderly Conduct is a kind of catch-all statute that allows prosecutors to offer a plea to a lesser offense in numerous situations. The text of the statute reads:
A person is guilty of disorderly conduct when, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof:
1. He engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior; or
2. He makes unreasonable noise; or
3. In a public place, he uses abusive or obscene language, or makes an obscene gesture; or
4. Without lawful authority, he disturbs any lawful assembly or meeting of persons; or
5. He obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic; or
6. He congregates with other persons in a public place and refuses to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse; or
7. He creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose.
Disorderly Conduct is a violation-level offense, meaning it is not a crime. If you are convicted of Disorderly Conduct by way of a plea, and are then later asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you can - and should - answer "no." Better yet, 12 months after a conviction for violation-level offenses, your court file is sealed. Law Enforcement will still be able to see the arrest and conviction, but anybody else performing a background check should not be able to see it.
Prosecutors often use a Disorderly Conduct as a plea for misdemeanors that they cannot just Adjourn in Contemplation of Dismissal. It's a way to ultimately dismiss a more serious charge when an outright dismissal would not sit well with a complainant. There isn't a minimum fine, but it does come with a mandatory $125.00 NYS surcharge that you will have to pay.
This is not to say that a Disorderly Conduct has no downside risks. A plea to Disorderly Conduct can cause issues with travel to Canada, and in some cases it can have an impact on a person's ability to obtain student housing. Nevertheless, it is a much better option than, say, losing a misdemeanor trial and being convicted of an actual crime.
We have a record of excellent client reviews and winning at trial. If you need help with a criminal charge, call us. (585) 485-0025. We can help.