Disorderly Conduct Charges

In Kentucky, charges of disorderly conduct are described in KRS 525.055 and 525.060. It’s fair to say that most of these arrests are for disorderly conduct in the second degree. The law states that someone is guilty of this offense “when in a public place and with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or wantonly creating a risk thereof, he:

(a) Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior;

(b) Makes unreasonable noise;

(c) Refuses to obey an official order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, hazard, or other emergency; or

(d) Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act that serves no legitimate purpose.”

Disorderly conduct in the second degree is a Class B misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 90 days’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $250.

Disorderly conduct in the first degree is charged when a person exhibits the above behavior within 300 feet of a cemetery or funeral at certain times. This is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by 90 days to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $500. This section of the law was passed in response to groups who choose funerals as a backdrop for their protests against war, homosexuality, and other social issues.

In Central Kentucky, many towns are home to colleges and universities – the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, Centre College, and the University of Louisville, to name a few. The exuberance of youth, heightened at times by alcohol, can lead to rowdiness and public disturbances. Celebrations over sports victories have been known to involve burning couches, overturned cars and bottles being hurled through the air. When U.K. won the NCAA tournament in 2012, several dozen were arrested on charges that included disorderly conduct.

There are behaviors other than partying that can result in being cited for disorderly conduct, such as loud or threatening verbal confrontations and assaultive behavior. Arguing with a police officer may result in an arrest for disorderly conduct, as well. In 2008, some UK students were charged with disorderly conduct, among other things, when they hung a life-sized effigy of then-candidate Obama from a tree outside the Mines and Minerals building.

University of Kentucky students should also be aware of the Lexington Area Party Plan, municipal ordinance section 14-96. It relates to several offenses, including disorderly conduct. If a residence is found to be a disturbance problem, the division of police “shall immediately” certify it as a “no party property.” This lasts for one year, during which time if a violation occurs then citations will be made, with fines ranging from $50 to $500.

How We Can Help

Disorderly conduct can happen when emotions go unchecked. Fueled by alcohol or anger, people of all ages can overreact. And sometimes the police overreact. A competent criminal defense attorney may argue that the offense was not in a public place or that there was no intent to cause public inconvenience or harm. If the incident included a fight, a defense of self-defense may be appropriate.

Dan Carman has experience defending college students and others who have been charged with disorderly conduct. A phone call to Dan could be the next step you need to take to see that your rights are protected against this and any accompanying criminal charges. Call (859) 685-1055 or use the online form.