How to Defend Yourself in Court for Disorderly Conduct

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In most states, disorderly conduct is one of the most common charges. Disorderly conduct is a wide category encompassing acts such as public drunkenness, rioting and disturbing the peace, loitering in forbidden areas or fighting. These acts might be charged as misdemeanors, while others such as repeated drunk driving or engaging in violent fighting might be charged as felony. (See ref 1) There are various defenses that you can use to defend yourself in court for disorderly conduct. The defense that you choose will depend on the circumstances of your case.

  • Plead guilty if you do not want the case to go to trial by striking an agreement between you and the prosecutor to either drop the charges or to reduce the charges against you. You will keep your case from going to trial and also will avoid a jail sentence. You might be given a less severe punishment such as community service.(See resources)

  • Enter a plea of not guilty if you have been charged for something that you did not do or if you accept the facts of the case but you believe you should not be held responsible. Attend the trial hearing set by the judge to make a defense against the charges brought against you. Prepare your case by identifying witnesses, videotapes of a scene and by having a sufficient explanation of the events. (See ref 2)

  • File a motion to suppress evidence that is false or was obtained unlawfully by the police. For example, in a drunken driving disorderly conduct case, indicate in the motion that the police had not actual cause to stop you or the police had no reasonable belief that you were committing a crime. Indicate that the police officer was not at the scene to witness the alleged disorderly conduct be it drunkenness, rioting or unlawful loitering. If the motion to suppress evidence is successful, your case might be dismissed completely. (See ref 3)

  • Present a self-defense argument in felonies or misdemeanor cases involving rioting, assault, fighting or unnecessary noise. Demonstrate to the judge that defending yourself against an aggressor by shouting or hitting him back was necessary, that you believed he was going to harm you and that the response(self-defense) was absolutely necessary. Call upon witnesses to support this or present videotapes that prove your claim.(See ref 4)

  • Appeal a judge's conviction against you by filing a notice of appeal to the trial court within 30 days of the conviction. Attend your appeal trial and provide more evidence of the charges against you. Come up with new evidence or ask the court to review the evidence you had earlier provided to the trial court. (See ref 2)

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