Bay Area Disorderly Conduct Attorney
Disorderly Conduct Offenses in California
“Disorderly conduct” is an umbrella term that describes a variety of crimes in the California Penal Code, ranging from soliciting prostitution to rioting. If you or someone you love is arrested for any activity defined as “disorderly conduct,” it’s in your best interest to quickly call an experienced Bay Area criminal defense attorney. While a disorderly conduct charge may seem minor, a conviction creates a criminal record that can have unforeseen consequences – both now and in the future.
At Silver Law Firm, we are skilled in handling a wide range of disorderly conduct criminal charges, and have successfully defended clients accused of:
Prostitution (Penal Code 647(b))
Under California’s prostitution and solicitation laws, sex workers, customers of sex workers, and anyone who offers something of value to another person in exchange for sex can be charged with violating the law. The penalties for a conviction depend upon the number of prior convictions for the same offense. For a first offense, a conviction can result in a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000. A second offense carries a mandatory jail sentence of 45 days, while a third offense results in at least 90 days in jail.
Public Intoxication (Penal Code 647(f))
While it’s not unusual to get drunk or high, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol in public can be a crime. In order for public intoxication to be considered a crime, three conditions must be met. First, you have to be willfully under the influence, as opposed to being drunk or high due to force or accidental ingestion. Second, you have to be in a public place. Finally, you have to be unable to care for yourself, put others in danger, or interfere with or obstruct a public thoroughfare. For example, if you walk out of a bar and pass out on the sidewalk, you can be charged with public intoxication. A public intoxication conviction is a misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000.
Peeping (Penal Code 647(j))
Invasion of privacy is considered disorderly conduct in California, and peeping is considered invasive. Under California law, peeping doesn’t only occur when, for example, someone stands outside of a house with binoculars. It occurs anytime someone secretly watches or records another person without their consent, whether in person, remotely, or even using a drone. The person being watched can be in a bedroom, bathroom, fitting room, tanning booth, or anywhere else where they expect privacy. A first misdemeanor conviction for this type of invasion of privacy can mean up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A second or subsequent conviction can lead to up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
Revenge Porn (Penal Code 647(j)(4))
Heartache can lead to wanting to exact revenge against a former partner. In the digital age, revenge can mean posting intimate pictures online in order to embarrass an ex-girlfriend, ex-boyfriend, or spouse. In California, intentionally posting an image of an intimate body part of an identifiable person or an image of that person having sex can be a crime. So-called “revenge porn” is considered disorderly conduct if both people understood that the photo or video would be private, that the person posting the image knew the other person would feel emotional distress, and that the person depicted did, in fact, suffer. A first conviction for revenge porn carries a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000. A second or subsequent conviction can double both the fine and the jail time.
Disturbing the Peace (Penal Code 415)
People offhandedly discuss disturbing the peace but, under California law, disturbing the peace is a crime. In the criminal sense, disturbing the peace can be charged when you fight someone or challenging them to a fight, when you purposefully make a lot of noise in order to bother someone, or when you use highly offensive words – for example, racial epithets – in public that are likely to elicit a violent reaction. Disturbing the peace can be charged as either an infraction – similar to a traffic ticket – or a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is 90 days in jail and a fine of $400.
Trespassing (Penal Code 602)
Trespassing, which is typically under the umbrella of malicious mischief, can be considered disorderly conduct. California Penal Code section 602 outlines many different types of trespassing, but misdemeanor charges often arise from activities like refusing to leave a business once they’ve asked you to do so or raising a ruckus at a private business. If convicted of misdemeanor trespass, the maximum penalty is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Riot Participation (Penal Code 404)
When someone participates in a riot in California, they can be arrested for disturbing the public peace. The definition of a riot is fairly broad, but one of two conditions must be met: using force or violence, or threatening to use force or violence. While an illegal “riot” can include as few as two people, arrests for riot participation usually occur in the context of protests and demonstrations. A misdemeanor rioting conviction carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Failure to Disperse (Penal Code 416)
Failure to disperse can come into play when public protests and demonstrations turn violent. However, it is more often applied in other situations – like a fight in public or groups gathered around a crime scene – when law enforcement tells a group of people to leave and they fail to do so. Typically, those arrested are charged with a misdemeanor. A conviction can mean up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and restitution for any damages.
Defending Against Disorderly Conduct Crimes in California
Disorderly conduct covers a wide range of crimes in California. Although many people dismiss misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges as inconsequential, the truth is that every single criminal conviction matters. There are times when misdemeanor convictions are priorable offenses and can negatively impact subsequent convictions. There are instances when a disorderly conduct conviction can negatively impact someone’s immigration status. Plus, with a conviction, you or your loved one may have to spend time in jail or pay a fine.
The attorneys at Silver Law Firm have deep expertise in defending clients who are facing disorderly conduct charges in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. We drill down to the heart of the matter and engage the prosecution in a discussion to have the charges dismissed. If that isn’t possible, we advocate for probation in lieu of jail time and a fine. Once you’ve successfully completed your probation or jail sentence, we can work to expunge your conviction. An expungement means that the conviction will be wiped off of your record and can’t be used against you.
Silver Law Firm’s track record speaks for itself, but time is of the essence. If you’ve been charged with a disorderly conduct crime in Alameda County, your first call should be to Silver Law Firm. The longer you wait, the more likely a conviction. Contact us immediately for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.