What Is Considered Disorderly Conduct in Texas?

Disorderly conduct stands out as a catch-all phrase that encompasses a wide range of behaviors. While it may seem subjective, Texas law provides specific definitions of what constitutes disorderly conduct, as well as the consequences for those found guilty of such actions.

In this blog, you’ll read more about how Texas defines disorderly conduct in Texas, see examples of what kind of behaviors and activities may be considered disorderly conduct, and learn about the penalties for a conviction of this crime.

The Legal Definition of Disorderly Conduct in Texas

Disorderly conduct is addressed under Section 42.01 of the Texas Penal Code. According to the statute, a person commits the offense of disorderly conduct if they intentionally or knowingly engage in certain behaviors that are deemed disruptive or alarming to the public peace and order.

By law, such behaviors include:

  • Making unreasonable noise: This can range from excessively loud music in a residential area to shouting or yelling in public spaces.
  • Fighting or brawling: Engaging in physical altercations or disturbances that cause public alarm or inconvenience falls under this category.
  • Discharging firearms: Recklessly firing a gun in a public place without justification constitutes disorderly conduct.
  • Displaying a firearm: Intentionally displaying a firearm in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm others is also considered disorderly conduct.
  • Using abusive or profane language: Publicly using language or gestures that are likely to incite an immediate breach of peace can lead to charges of disorderly conduct.

It’s important to note that although these categories are clearly laid out, they can be interpreted differently by the police and judicial system. This is why it’s crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you fight against unfair charges.

Examples of Disorderly Conduct

While the legal definition of disorderly conduct provides important context to understand this offense, a few examples might help you see how it applies to the charges against you.

Scenarios such as these may be considered disorderly conduct:

  • A heated argument escalates into a physical altercation at a crowded festival, causing panic among attendees.
  • A group of individuals sets off fireworks late at night in a residential neighborhood, disturbing the peace and tranquility of the area.
  • A person loudly berates a cashier in a grocery store, using offensive language and causing a disturbance among other customers.
  • During a protest, someone brandishes a firearm in a threatening manner, inciting fear and chaos among the crowd.
  • A motorist honks incessantly and yells obscenities at other drivers during rush hour traffic, creating a hazardous environment on the road.

These examples highlight the diverse situations in which disorderly conduct may occur, ranging from verbal altercations to more serious acts of public disturbance.

Legal Penalties for Disorderly Conduct Convictions

The consequences of a disorderly conduct conviction in Texas can vary depending on the circumstances of the offense and the individual's criminal history. Generally, disorderly conduct is classified as a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

However, if the offense involves discharging a firearm or displaying a firearm in a public place, the severity of the penalties increases. In such cases, the individual may face charges of a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a potential jail sentence of up to 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000.

Additionally, a disorderly conduct conviction can have collateral consequences, such as a criminal record that may affect employment opportunities and other aspects of the individual's life.

Do You Need Help Fighting Your Charges?

When facing a disorderly conduct charge in Texas, having the right legal representation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Rodriguez & Gimbert P.L.L.C. is a reputable criminal defense law firm, offering experienced legal advice and guidance from attorneys who understand the criminal justice system.

Rodriguez & Gimbert P.L.L.C. can provide you with a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific situation. Whether you're accused of making unreasonable noise, engaging in a physical altercation, or any other disorderly conduct offense, our team is dedicated to protecting your rights and advocating for the best possible outcome in your legal proceedings.

Contact us today to learn more and request a consultation.