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What is disorderly conduct?

You're facing disorderly conduct charges. You're not sure exactly how the police settled on those charges or exactly why you're being accused.

It's important to note that these charges can be a bit open-ended. They're often very similar to allegations that you were disturbing the peace.

One key distinction is that you're typically not considered an active threat when you're arrested for disorderly conduct. You're not harming anyone. If you were, you could be charged with assault or assault and battery.

Instead, you're simply being unruly. The police may have been called because someone was worried that it was going to escalate into a more serious situation.

For example, perhaps you were drinking and you and one of your friends got into a fight. It was just a shouting match. It started in the front yard, but then your friend decided to walk home. You followed him through the neighborhood, holding a beer bottle and yelling after him. A neighbor saw you and called the police.

The reactions by police often vary. If they talk to you and you cooperate, you might just get a warning or a citation. If you don't cooperate right away, you could wind up being arrested. Police will do what they feel they need to do to diffuse the situation and keep your neighborhood orderly and calm for everyone else who lives there.

When you're facing charges, it's important to know all of the legal defense options that you have. This is especially true if you feel like you didn't actually do anything wrong and shouldn't have been arrested in the first place.

Source: FindLaw, "Disorderly Conduct," accessed Aug. 31, 2017

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