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Qualified Legal Defense Lawyer for Disorderly Conduct in Central Indiana

Indianapolis Disorderly Conduct Attorney

Disorderly conduct is one of the most commonly committed criminal offenses in the country, largely in part because of how broad it is in terms of the kinds of conduct the crime may cover. Sometimes called breach of the peace, disorderly conduct laws are aimed at curbing public disturbances at particular times of day or in certain areas. It is usually a misdemeanor, but certain aggravating factors may turn the charge into a felony.

Disorderly conduct charges can still result in serious penalties such as jail time and fines. Additionally, disorderly conduct charges are rarely brought without other more serious offenses such as assault. The help of an experienced Indianapolis disorderly conduct lawyer like the attorneys at Eskew Law, LLC, is strongly recommended if a person is charged with this crime in the Indianapolis or Central Indiana areas.

Disorderly Conduct Defined

The Indiana legislature has also crafted a broad definition of disorderly conduct. Under Ind. Code § 35-45-1-3, a person is guilty of disorder conduct, a Class B misdemeanor punishable with jail time not more than 180 days and a fine not exceeding $1,000, if he or she recklessly, knowingly or intentionally:

  • Engages in fighting or tumultuous conduct, which is defined in Ind. Code § 35-45-1-1 as conduct that results in, or is likely to result in, serious bodily injury to a person or substantial damage to a property;
  • Makes unreasonable noise and continues to do so after being asked to stop; or
  • Disrupts a lawful assembly of persons.

An essential question for a skilled Indianapolis criminal lawyer to ask when defending against a disorderly conduct charge is whether there is sufficient evidence of tumultuous conduct, unreasonable noise, or disruption of a lawful assembly in the record.  With respect to tumultuous conduct, the Indiana Supreme Court stated in a case that there has to be enough physical activity on the part of a defendant that makes it likely that someone will be seriously injured or that property will be substantially damaged. For example, the Indiana Supreme Court decided that there was enough evidence of tumultuous conduct when a man threw down his drink and his coat, stepped towards another person in an angry manner, clinched up his fists at his sides, and yelled a series of obscenities within inches of that man’s face.

With respect to unreasonable noise, the Indiana Supreme Court observed in a case that the disorderly conduct statute specifically prohibits context-inappropriate volume. Therefore, in order to prove disorderly conduct as to noise, a prosecutor has to show that the sound produced by a defendant is too loud for the circumstances. As the court stated in that case, it does not matter whether the sound conveys a good message, a bad message, or no message at all. If you have any questions regarding the definition of disorderly conduct as it pertains to Indiana law, reach out to a knowledgeable disorderly conduct attorney in Indianapolis, IN.

Aggravating Factors

There are two circumstances under Indiana law where a disorderly conduct charge may be elevated from a Class B misdemeanor to a Level 6 felony punishable by a prison term between six months and three years and a fine not exceeding $10,000, under Ind. Code § 35-50-2-7. These two circumstances are:

  • The conduct is committed in an airport or on the premises of an airport, including in a parking area, a maintenance bay, or an airport hangar, and the conduct adversely affects airport security; or
  • The conduct is committed within 500 feet of the location where a burial is being performed, in a funeral procession which the defendant knows is taking place, or in a building in which a funeral or memorial service is being conducted, and the conduct adversely affects the burial, viewing, memorial, or funeral procession.

Passionate Advocacy for Clients Accused of Disorderly Conduct in Indianapolis

Indianapolis disorderly conduct lawyer Chris Eskew and his team of attorneys at Eskew Law, LLC are experienced criminal defense lawyers that can investigate your case and provide you with advice on how to mount an effective defense. You may call us at (317) 974-0177 or submit our online consultation request form, and we will respond to you as soon as possible.