Maryland tries to prevent its residents from being bothered by the unruly and unreasonable behavior of others by creating laws prohibiting disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct. The law prohibits things like excessively loud noise, fighting, and preventing others from traveling to certain areas.
A disorderly conduct charge can be vague and is often used as a catch-all for public disturbances. Bar fights, domestic incidents, and public arguments are sometimes charged as disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace. Disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace involve willful conduct that occurs in a public place. There is a requirement that a third party is affected or could be affected by the disturbance. Sometimes disorderly conduct is paired with another charge such as destruction of property or assault.
What is Disorderly Conduct and Disturbing the Peace?
Disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace are governed by Maryland Code, Criminal Law section 10-201. The law prohibits:
- Willfully obstructing the free passage of people in a public place, or on public transportation
- Willfully acting in a manner that disturbs the public peace
- Willfully failing to obey a reasonable order by a police officer who is trying to prevent a disturbance to the public peace
- Making an unreasonably loud noise to disturb the peace in a public place or on a mode of transportation or in one’s home or land
- Entering another person’s premises to disturb the peace by making a loud noise or acting in a disorderly manner.
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct
Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 60 days in jail or a fine of up to $500. Interfering with an individual’s access to a medical facility (such as an abortion clinic) is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Interfering with a sporting event is punishable by up to three months in jail and a $250 fine. This only applies to athletic events that have an admission charge.
Contact a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for disorderly conduct, it can be helpful to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact the lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC or call us at 866-444-6363 for a free consultation today.