What are the Penalties for First Time Disorderly Conduct Charges in Utah?
Disorderly conduct is an offense that can be difficult to accurately describe because there is a wide range of activities that may trigger charges. If you or a family member was charged with disorderly conduct, you should contact an experienced Salt Lake City disorderly conduct lawyer. Darwin Overson can help you explore all legal options to fight undeserved disorderly conduct charges. Overson Law explains the penalties for first-time disorderly conduct charges in Utah.
Utah’s Disorderly Conduct Laws
Disorderly conduct is one of the most common types of offenses in Utah and many other states. There are several actions that could cause a person to be charged with disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct offenses typically happen when the offender commits some action in a public place that is disturbing other people. The statute defines a public place as an area that a significant portion of the population has access to, like a city street or highway, and even places like schools, hospitals, and retail stores.
One way to be charged with disorderly conduct is by refusing a police officer’s order to vacate a public area. For example, if you double park your vehicle on a busy city street and decline to move your vehicle after a police officer’s instruction, you could be issued a disorderly conduct citation. Additionally, an individual whose actions cause a dangerous or “physically offensive” situation for no valid reason can also receive charges for disorderly conduct.
An offender can be guilty of disorderly conduct if they intentionally try to cause a public disturbance. A public disturbance can be categorized in various ways:
- Starting a fight or exhibiting dangerous behavior
- Being unreasonably loud or making distasteful remarks in a public area
- Making a significant amount of noise that emanates from a private area to a public space
To learn more about what triggers disorderly conduct charges, you should speak with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer.
Penalties for Causing a Public Disturbance
The penalties for a disorderly conduct offense will depend on the circumstances of the case. Normally, a public disturbance offense will be charged as an “infraction.” In Utah, an infraction is a minor violation similar to a traffic violation, but for non-traffic offenses. The penalty for an infraction is $750. There are also alternatives to the $750 fine, like community service.
A disorderly conduct violation can be increased to a class C misdemeanor under certain circumstances. For example, if someone a committed an act that would constitute disorderly conduct and they did not desist after being asked to stop by another person or law enforcement, they could be charged with a class C misdemeanor. In Utah, the penalties for a class C misdemeanor are up to 90 days in jail and $750 in fines. Community service is also available for individuals charged with a class C misdemeanor.
“Compensatory service” allows an offender to perform voluntary community service work to pay off a criminal fine. This service may be performed for a variety of organizations:
- Utah government agencies
- Nonprofit organizations
- Any business or entity that the Utah court approves
The offender will have to perform work until they pay off the amount of the fine for the offense they committed. Every hour of community service that they perform is worth $10.
Under some circumstances, a disorderly conduct charge can be combined with additional charges. For example, when charged with disorderly conduct for fighting, you may also be charged with assault. Alternatively, if you are involved in a political protest that turns violent, you could be charged with rioting – a felony offense. You may face an infraction or misdemeanor for disorderly conduct but have to deal with an additional felony stemming from the same conduct, like with charges for rioting. In Utah, felonies are punishable by at least one year in prison.
Our Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help with Your Disorderly Conduct Charges
If you or a family member needs assistance dealing with a disorderly conduct charge, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. It can be difficult to tell which actions could cause you to be charged with disorderly conduct. If you feel your disorderly conduct charge was unwarranted, Darwin Overson can help you with your case. To schedule a free legal consultation, call us at (801) 733-1308. Overson Law is available for you, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.