Disorderly Conduct Attorney in Athens

Disorderly Conduct Lawyer in Athens

Many U.S. states, including Georgia, have disorderly conduct laws that keep communities peaceful by limiting what people can do. Any behavior that disrupts public peace, causes unrest, or makes people fear for their safety is categorized as this offense.

Disorderly conduct is classified as a crime against public order and safety in Georgia and is a commonly charged offense. A person can easily be charged with disorderly conduct in Georgia since many actions fit the provision in G.A. Code § 16-11-39.

Therefore, it is vital to seek legal help from a skilled criminal defense attorney. An experienced attorney can provide resources and a solid defense to reduce your sentence or get your case dismissed. 

Whether you are being investigated or have already been arrested for the offense of armed robbery, an experienced lawyer has the knowledge and experience needed to help ensure that you get the best possible outcome for your case.

Actions That Constitute Disorderly Conduct in Georgia

According to the Georgia code, the following actions constitute disorderly conduct:

  • Acting violently or tumultuously toward another person so that there is a reasonable fear for the safety of such person’s life, limbs, or health

  • Acting in a violent or tumultuous manner toward another person whereby the person’s property is at risk of being destroyed

  • Using obscene and vulgar language without provocation in the presence of or by telephone to a person less than 14 years old, which threatens an immediate breach of the peace

  • Using certain abusive words without provocation to another person or in their presence, which by their utterance tends to incite violence or a breach of the peace

  • Other actions are deemed to constitute disorderly conduct by ordinances created within the legal limits of counties and municipalities

In regards to using certain abusive words, these words should be such that they naturally provoke violent resentment under ordinary circumstances and as a matter of common knowledge when used in the presence of the person they refer to. Such words are commonly called “fighting words.”

Athen-Clarke County in Georgia has a more comprehensive list of offenses that constitute disorderly conduct in its Code of Ordinances Sec 3-5-1. That is why you might consider hiring a knowledgeable and skilled Athens disorderly conduct attorney to help you with your criminal defense.

Interpretation of Disorderly Conduct by Georgia Courts

Georgia case law suggests that the courts will not criminalize the public use of rude, abusive, or socially unacceptable words unless they constitute fighting words in their usage context.

This can be seen in the case of Lundgren v. The State, 238 Ga. App. 425 (1999), where the criminal defendant/appellant spoke to an officer using sexually obscene words. The court held that the words were not sufficiently hostile and aggressive to threaten an immediate breach of the peace.

However, in the earlier case of Brooks v. State, 166 Ga. App. 704 (1983), a man at a protest pointed at a police officer and yelled, “All cops are dogs, like this man right here… This man here is a dog.” The courts held that those words were “fighting words” as they were sufficiently abusive and spoken in a manner capable of provoking violent resentment.

Because of the vagueness of the code in identifying “words commonly called fighting words,” it is left to the court to determine on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, having a skilled, disorderly conduct attorney in Athens, such as Adam Levin Law, who can argue your case well may save you from a criminal conviction.

Consequences of a Disorderly Conduct Charge in Georgia

According to the Georgia code, disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor offense. It carries a maximum jail time of 12 months and a fine of up to $1000. The judge also has the discretion to sentence you to a period of probation and community service or mandate that you go for an alcohol or drug awareness class, depending on the circumstances that led to your disorderly conduct charge.

Other Associated Offences

People are often charged with disorderly conduct in addition to other offenses since some acts that constitute disorderly conduct also constitute other crimes. Two common offenses that people are charged with in conjunction with disorderly conduct are the obstruction of a law enforcement officer and a DUI.

The offense of obstruction of a law enforcement officer usually arises when a person deliberately hinders an officer from being able to carry out their lawful duty, for instance, resisting arrest physically and threatening violence or running away from arrest. These actions can also fall under the category of disorderly conduct, so when a person that does these actions is arrested, they are typically charged with the two offenses.

With a DUI charge, disorderly conduct can arise when a person is stopped for a DUI check and gets out of the car to confront the police officer. If there is probable cause to arrest for DUI, the police may charge the person with both offenses.

Other offenses that usually arise in disorderly conduct situations include assault, indecent exposure, public intoxication, rioting, fighting, and so on.

The police may decide to bring more than one criminal charge for the same or related actions to increase your chances of being found guilty. However, Georgia’s disorderly conduct lawyers understand how the law works and may be able to get all charges against you dropped or reduce the severity of your charges.

How Can Attorneys From Swingle Levin Help?

 

Hiring a criminal defense attorney is vital to avoiding a criminal conviction. Swingle Levin’s attorneys help clients with their in-depth knowledge of case and statute law, years of experience in court proceedings, top-tier investigative capacity, humane approach to criminal cases, and so much more.

With an excellent track record of cases, they may be just what your case needs. No matter how insignificant or enormous your criminal charge appears, there may be something they can do for you. Furthermore, they handle criminal appeal cases when you have already received a disorderly conduct conviction.

There is no reason to risk jail time, a permanent criminal record, fines, and possibly other opportunities because of a disorderly conduct charge. Contact Swingle Levin LLC today for a free case evaluation and see how we can assist you.