Disorderly Conduct in Massachusetts

What is considered disorderly conduct in Massachusetts?

Disorderly conduct is a very general term which may include a wide variety of behavior. Basically, is that which disturbs the public tranquility, or alarms or provokes others. Massachusetts Law prohibits conduct that involves the use of force, violence, threats, tumultuous behavior, excessively unreasonable noise, or creating a hazard to public safety or physically offensive condition.

Whatever behavior the government alleges, it must have been reasonably likely to affect the public and either intended to or recklessly created public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm.

What types of disorderly conduct are there?

• Engaging fighting or threatening
• Engaging in violent or tumultuous behavior
• Creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition which serves no legitimate purpose

What happens if I am arrested for disorderly conduct?

If you are arrested for disorderly, you will be transported to the police station and processed. This will include fingerprints and photos. It is important that, as always, you remember not to answer any questions about the charges. A clerk magistrate will be contacted to set a bail and you will either be permitted to post bail or may be held and transported to the court.

You will then be arraigned in court. At the arraignment you will likely get preliminary reports of the facts supporting the charges. Next, you will be subject to a bail hearing at which the court will determine whether you must post a bail or be subject to other terms or conditions of release.

What are the penalties?

If found guilty of disorderly conduct you may be fined for a first offense or sentenced up to 6 months in the house of correction for a second offense.
What is the difference between disturbing the peace vs disorderly conduct?
Both crimes are punishable under the same statute, carry the same potential sentence, and are nearly indistinguishable. Generally speaking, disorderly conduct is charged where one’s conduct involves fighting or violent conduct which cause public inconvenience. Disturbing the peace typically involves intentionally causing loud disruptions in which one actually does annoy or disturb at least one person. Disorderly conduct includes reckless behavior whereas actions disturbing the peace must be intended.

Why you should hire a defense attorney:

As with all criminal cases, the potential implications include infringements on your liberty and, therefore, it is important to treat these cases seriously. Disorderly conduct cases involve many distinct legal issues that may have an effect on the charges. Because the charge involves conduct that is so generalized, there is often multitude of discrete issues to analyze. Some conduct charged as disorderly may be protected by our Constitution.

Only a trained and experienced attorney can properly evaluate the case and mount a defense. The lawyers at Eisenstadt, Krippendorf & Galvin LLP are experienced at defending charges of disorderly conduct and protecting your rights.