Engaging in conduct that is a disruption among the public in a threatening or disrespectful manner is actually a crime in the state of Texas known as disorderly conduct. The offense is hardly ever violent or intentional, however, the state of Texas still has serious penalties for the crime upon conviction. If you’re convicted, you could be sentenced to time behind bars and be required to pay steep court fines in the thousands.
While the right to free speech does allow you to speak freely under the First Amendment, the state of Texas may criminally charge you if that speech is threatening/disrespectful to the public space. That is why we highly encourage you to seek a criminal defense attorney if you’ve been charged with disorderly conduct. They can assess the facts of your case, chart out a formidable defense plan, and aggressively execute that defense in court.
If you or someone you know has been charged with disorderly conduct, we highly encourage you to contact Brian Benken of The Benken Law Firm.
Disorderly Conduct Houston Lawyer | Harris County, Texas
Abusive, indecent, vulgar, or profane language that disrupts the peace could be seen as disorderly conduct by law enforcement. If you’re charged with the offense, you will be facing serious consequences including time in jail and expensive court fines. That is why we highly encourage you to call Brian Benken of The Benken Law Firm if you’ve been charged with disorderly conduct.
Brian Benken has years of criminal defense experience and can use his skills to develop a defense effective enough to face the prosecution. Call The Benken Law Firm today at (713) 223 - 4051 to set up your first consultation with Attorney Benken. He has offices in Houston but accepts clients throughout all parts of Harris County and Texas including Pasadena, Westchase, Alief, Meyerland, and Sharpstown.
- Disorderly Conduct Definition
- Penalty for Disorderly Conduct
- Statute of Limitations for Disorderly Conduct
- Similar Offenses
- Additional Resources
What is Disorderly Conduct in Texas?
In Texas, disorderly conduct is a considered to be a violent crime. This classification means the penalties for committing the crime are especially egregious relative to others. Under the Texas Penal Code Section 42.01, a person is guilty of disorderly conduct if they intentionally or knowingly do any of the following actions:
- Be unreasonably noisy in a place other than a shooting range in/near a private residence of which they have no right to occupy
- Threaten or abuse a person in a public area in an offensive manner
- Get in a fight with another person in public
- Discharge a fun in a public place other than a shooting range or public road
- Manufacture or introduce a noxious and unreasonable odor by chemical means in a public area
- Display a firearm or deadly weapon in public with intent to alarm others
- Intentionally make offensive gestures and displays in public and these acts incite an immediate breach of peace
- Discharge a gun on or across a public road
- Use profane, indecent, or abusive language in public and the language incites an immediate breach of peace
- Expose their anus, genitals, or sexual organs in a public area
Penalty for Disorderly Conduct in Texas
Although your right to freedom of speech is protected under the First Amendment, the state of Texas states if it disrupts the peace you could be charged with disorderly conduct. That is because language constituting danger or is explicitly vulgar to the point it disturbs the peace is not protected under the Constitution. For instance, if a person yells “fire” in a movie theater, it can imply a threat is incoming and therefore cause panic. That panic may then cause a stampede that could result in serious bodily injury.
In Texas, disorderly conduct is a class C misdemeanor. The penalty for a class C misdemeanor is a fine of up to $500. If the act includes discharging or displaying a firearm in a public place, then the crime may be reclassified to a class B misdemeanor. The maximum punishment for a class B misdemeanor is up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Disorderly Conduct?
Nearly all crimes under the Texas Penal Code have something known as a statute of limitations. Its purpose is to serve as a deadline for prosecutors wishing to file criminal charges against another. The limit was created to preserve the integrity of all evidence in the case and to ensure criminal cases are handled in a timely manner.
Most crimes in Texas have a statute of limitations based on the offense’s classification. Since disorderly conduct is commonly charged as a misdemeanor, the statute of limitations is up to two years. For felony crimes, the statute of limitations is up to three years.
Similar Offenses to Disorderly Conduct
- Harassment – Texas Penal Code Section 42.07. Annoying, harming, alarming, tormenting, or embarrassing another person can result in a criminal charge of harassment.
- Deadly Conduct –– Texas Penal Code Section 22.05. Recklessly engaging in conduct that puts another person in danger can result in disorderly conduct charges. Pointing or discharging a firearm in the direction at a person or building/car without care if that place is occupied can also constitute as deadly conduct.
- Assault — Texas Penal Code Section 22.01. Intentionally causing harm, threatening another with injury, or touching another person in a manner known as offensive/provocative is known as Assault in Texas.
- False Alarm or Report — Texas Penal Code Section 42.06. Knowingly initiating, circulating, or communicating a report of past, present or future fire, bombing, or another emergency knowing it’s false can result in a criminal charge of false alarm or report.
Disorderly Conduct Laws in Texas– Visit the official Texas Penal Code to learn more about their laws surrounding disorderly conduct and other violent offenses. View the elements that define the offense, the penalties, and possible enhancements.
Commission on State Emergency Communications – Access the site for the Commission on State Emergency Communications (CSEC). The mission of the organization to preserve and enhance public safety and health in Texas through reliable and easy access to emergency communications services. Visit the website to view their self-help resources available including national alliance on mental illness (NAMI) and the national suicide hotline.
Harris County Lawyer for Disorderly Conduct, Texas
If you or someone you know has been charged with disorderly conduct or any other violence crime, we highly encourage you to call The Benken Law Firm. Criminal defense lawyer Brian Benken can assess your charges and build a defense plan tailor made for your case. Don’t say another word to law enforcement and start your defense plan today with Attorney Benken.
Call The Benken Law Firm at (713) 223 - 4051 today to set up your first consultation in the Houston and Harris County, Texas area.