What Is Considered Disorderly Conduct in Arizona?

what is disorderly conduct in Arizona

What Is Considered Disorderly Conduct in Arizona?

Did you know that cursing can be considered disorderly conduct in Arizona? Disorderly conduct laws cover a wide scope of behaviors like fighting, offensive language, drug use, and excessive noise. 

At Van Norman Law, we want to help you understand what constitutes disorderly conduct in Arizona and the levels of punishment that come with this type of charge. We put together this guide on disorderly conduct in Arizona to help you understand your rights. 

What Is Disorderly Conduct According to Arizona Law?

According to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-2904, a person commits disorderly conduct when they do any of the following with the intent to disrupt the peace or quiet of another person, family, or neighborhood:

  • Fight or otherwise engage in violent or seriously disruptive behavior (this can also result in an additional assault charge)
  • Make unreasonable noise, such as yelling or screaming
  • Use abusive or offensive language and/or gestures that are likely to provoke someone
  • Disrupt a lawful gathering, procession, or meeting by making a commotion
  • Refuse to leave an area when directed by an authority in the event of a fire or another emergency
  • Recklessly handle, display, or fire a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument 

Examples of Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct is a common crime because it applies to a wide range of circumstances, especially those involving alcohol or other drug use. Some examples of a person committing disorderly conduct include:

  • Violating a noise ordinance—for example, loud or unnecessary noises such as playing music or yelling are prohibited from 11 pm to 7 am in Phoenix
  • Pulling a fire alarm when there is not an emergency, which is considered “making a commotion”
  • Being unnecessarily loud in public spaces while intoxicated
  • Refusing to leave the scene of an accident after being directed by officials 
  • Getting into a fight with someone
  • Screaming during an argument

What Is the Penalty for Disorderly Conduct in Arizona?

The penalties for disorderly conduct in Arizona vary depending on the type of behavior. For example, under ARS 13-2904, disorderly conduct involving a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument is a class 6 felony. All other types of disorderly conduct are a class 1 misdemeanor

A misdemeanor disorderly conduct conviction carries a penalty of up to 6 months in jail, a maximum of $2,500 in fines, as well as additional fees and restitution to compensate the victim. 

The penalties for a felony disorderly conduct conviction are much harsher, with up to $150,000 in fines, plus restitution and other fees. Prison time for disorderly conduct varies depending on past felony convictions:

How Can Disorderly Conduct Be Defended?

In order to be convicted of disorderly conduct, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant knowingly or intentionally disturbed someone else’s peace. For example, using offensive language may not be considered disorderly conduct if you had no idea someone was able to overhear you. You may also be able to claim self-defense for a disorderly conduct charge involving a fight that you didn’t start. 

When it comes to disorderly conduct involving a weapon, it must be proven that you handled the weapon recklessly. Cautiously displaying a weapon is not disorderly conduct, but pointing the weapon at someone—with or without the intent of causing harm—is grounds for a disorderly conduct charge. 

Disorderly Conduct Defense Lawyer in Scottsdale

If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, your case could be more serious than you realize. It’s always a good idea to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, and the team at Van Norman Law can help you secure a favorable outcome. Discuss your case with us and we’ll determine the best possible defense. Call 480-481-0616 today to schedule a free consultation. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (6/21/2022). Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash