If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, commonly referred to as a breach of peace, you are likely worried about the ramifications that could follow a criminal conviction. This offense is taken very seriously in Florida, with penalties including fines, probation, and even the possibility of some time behind bars. In addition, if you are a college student, you could also face severe disciplinary action from your school, such as suspension or expulsion.

As a veteran Sarasota underage crimes lawyer, Erika Valcarcel has extensive knowledge and experience dealing with disorderly conduct violations and has seen firsthand the devastation that can result from such a charge. With time spent as both a prosecutor and a defender, she has the comprehensive skills to anticipate the prosecution’s strategy in order to build the strongest defense possible.

Call (941) 363-7900 now to discuss your particular case and see how Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. can help.

Florida Disorderly Conduct Laws

Disorderly conduct, or breach of peace, has an ambiguous definition in the state of Florida. According to Florida Statute Section 877.03, disorderly conduct includes any behavior that corrupts public morals, outrages the public’s sense of decency, or negatively affects the peace and quiet of other individuals. Fighting and brawling are also considered forms of disorderly conduct. Other examples of this crime include, but are not limited to:

  • Using obscene language in a public place, even after being asked to stop
  • Creating a scene by having a loud argument with a friend or spouse
  • Harassing employees with name-calling, shouting, or tampering with private property
  • Loitering near a place of business after you have been asked to leave

Penalties and Collateral Consequences

Florida law labels disorderly conduct as a second-degree misdemeanor. As such, a conviction can result in certain maximum penalties, which are listed below:

  • A $500 fine
  • Up to 60 days in jail or up to 6 months on probation

The examples listed above represent statutory maximums and are not usually assigned unless the person is a repeat offender. In most cases, individuals with no criminal record are only assigned jail time if they engage in conduct that is extremely disrespectful or a real threat to public safety. Incarceration may also be assigned if alcohol or drugs are involved.

For most first time offenders, the real risk of prosecution is the creation of a permanent record. A criminal history can make finding employment all but impossible, as most employers tend to shy away from those with conviction histories. Continuing your education might also be affected. When a post-secondary institution learns that a student has committed a crime, they may hold a disciplinary hearing. This can result in harsh consequences, such as academic probation or suspension.

Defenses Against Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct is among the most defendable charges in the state of Florida. With the help of a skilled attorney, it may be possible to avoid a conviction altogether. Although an arrest for this crime can be made for almost any reason, convictions are rare in cases where the accused simply created an annoyance or disturbed the public with their attitude. In fact, accusations based solely on verbal actions almost never reach a conviction. It might also be the case that you are the victim of mistaken identity. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable and very difficult to verify.

Call Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. Today

A disorderly conduct accusation has a way of wreaking havoc on your life. From ruined educational opportunities to limited employment options, the turmoil that arises in these situations is undeniable. Sarasota underage crimes lawyer Erika Valcarcel understands these difficulties surrounding a disorderly conduct offense. She believes that the key to an effective defense lies in getting to know you and all the details of your case. Once attorney Valcarcel collects all the relevant details, she’ll be able to argue on your behalf for the best result available.

Call Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. (941) 363-7900 today for a free and confidential consultation.