Maryland Disorderly Conduct Attorney
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Under the Maryland Criminal Code, disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor. However, a conviction can still land you in jail and subject you to monetary fines. In general, disorderly conduct is a very broad term and often serves as an “umbrella charge” for a myriad of public disturbances under the law.
Sometimes, people are wrongfully arrested for disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace. This is most common in cases where the accused is taking part in a lawful demonstration or participating in a peaceful protest.
The penalties upon conviction for disorderly conduct can be harsh. However, it is important to keep in mind that disorderly conduct charges – like all other criminal charges in Maryland – have potential legal defenses associated with them.
If the State of Maryland has charged you with disorderly conduct, you need a skilled defense lawyer on your side throughout every stage of your criminal case, like the ones at Alpert Schreyer Poe, LLC.
If you've been arrested for disorderly conduct, our experienced attorneys may be able to help you minimize the impact of a conviction on your personal and professional life. Call (301) 321-7277.
Purpose of Criminalizing Disorderly Conduct
Maryland disorderly conduct laws are in place for the purpose of protecting citizens from unreasonable or disruptive behavior by others.
Some of the most common types of behaviors which disorderly conduct laws protect against include:
- Making loud noises or playing loud music – most especially during the nighttime hours
- Fighting in public – including places of business or at sporting events
- Stopping others from traveling in areas which are open to the public
- Interfering with an athletic event, such as by throwing objects in the stands or onto the court or field
These disruptive behaviors are sometimes also referred to as “disturbing the peace.” Disorderly conduct laws are also intertwined with public intoxication laws. These laws generally prohibit drunkenness in public – as well as causing public disturbances or property damage as a result of being drunk in public.
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace in Maryland, Alpert Schreyer Poe may be able to help you formulate a good legal defense to your criminal charge.
Four Types of Disorderly Conduct
The Maryland Criminal Code criminalizes four different types of disorderly conduct. If you are caught committing one or more of these offenses, a police officer could arrest you. Moreover, if you are charged and convicted, you can face certain criminal penalties, including monetary fines and jail time.
Under Maryland law, disorderly conduct includes:
- Intentionally preventing people from walking or moving freely into or out of a public place – In this context, public places may include public buildings, hotels, elevators, public streets, parking lots and garages, schools, amusement parks, and theaters. The law also precludes interfering with patrons on public transportation vehicles, including buses, trains, and airplanes. It is also against the law to block others from entering or exiting a designated medical building or facility.
- Disturbing the peace – The disorderly conduct statute precludes individuals from intentionally engaging in activities which disturb the peace. Examples of disturbing the peace may include yelling or playing loud music during the night when people are trying to sleep.
- Failing to obey a police officer’s lawful orders – If a person intentionally disregards or disobeys a police officer’s lawful orders when the officer is attempting to prevent a disturbance of the peace, the police officer can arrest the offender and take him or her into custody.
- Making an unreasonably loud noise in a public place – The disorderly conduct statute prohibits people from making unreasonably loud noises in public places – including on public transportation – for the purpose of disturbing the peace. The same is true if the person makes the noise in another person’s home or on his or her land.
- Unlawfully entering another person’s home for purposes of disturbing the peace – In Maryland, it is unlawful to enter someone else’s home with the intention of disturbing the peace or behaving in a disorderly manner.
If the State has charged you with disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace, you should contact a defense lawyer as soon as possible. Alpert Schreyer Poe may be able to help you formulate a legal defense, represent you in court, or work out a favorable plea deal with the prosecution.
Potential Penalties Upon Conviction
In the State of Maryland, disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor. If you are ultimately convicted of disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace in Maryland, a judge could sentence you to up to 60 days in jail, along with a monetary fine of up to $500.
Likewise, if you are found guilty of blocking access to a medical facility, a judge could sentence you to up to 90 days’ incarceration, as well as a fine of up to $1,000.
If you are convicted of interfering with a sporting event, a judge could sentence you to three months’ incarceration, along with a fine of up to $250. A public intoxication conviction can result in up to 90 days’ incarceration, along with a monetary fine of up to $100.
Talk to a Maryland Disorderly Conduct Attorney Today for a Free Case Evaluation
Although disorderly conduct is only a misdemeanor in Maryland, a charge or conviction can result in a criminal record. A conviction can also result in significant penalties, including serious limitations on your personal freedom.
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, you should not wait until right before your trial date to seek legal representation. Alpert Schreyer Poe can review your case with you and may be able to offer you legal representation.
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