Disorderly Conduct, PL § 240.20

Innocent and Facing Charges That Would Have Ruined My Life

"I had just recently graduated from law school and was awaiting my bar exam when I was charged with 3 class D felonies. Adam was incredibly invested and attentive from the beginning of my case. He greatly exceeded my expectations in how often he took the time to come visit me in jail with updates. He calmly talked my wife through the issues and helped her understand what was going on. Adam believed in me and took the case to jury trial in Monroe County Court. His courtroom performance was excellent, combined with a solid grasp of litigation procedures and law. The jury verdict was not guilty on the 3 counts. I WAS DISCHARGED AND ACQUITTED ON ALL COUNTS. Worst-case scenario I was looking at 21 years in prison, and instead today I have my life back."

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.

DWI and Criminal Defense Lawyer P. Adam Militello, Esq.

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.

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Militello Law Firm
2480 Browncroft Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14625

1 University Drive
Geneseo, NY 14454

(585) 485-0025
Fax: (585) 286-3128