Disorderly Conduct Lawyer in Travis County
Disorderly conduct is an umbrella term used to cover a variety of offenses that disrupt the public. Most of the time, the alleged crimes are charged as Class C misdemeanors. If found guilty, you can be ordered to pay a fine of up to $500. It's even more serious if you're charged with a Class B misdemeanor. In this case, the judge has the discretion to sentence you to up to 180 days in jail. You can also be charged a fine of up to $2,000.
It's important to understand that even though the charges are misdemeanors, they can still impact your life. Thus, call us for a free consultation with a Travis County disorderly conduct lawyer to go over your legal options.
What Is Disorderly Conduct?
In Travis County, you can be charged with disorderly conduct if you disrupt or disturb the peace by doing any of the following in public:
- Using offensive or vulgar language or gestures
- Using chemicals to create a noxious odor
- Displaying or discharging a firearm
- Engaging in lewd behavior, including peeping and showing genitals
- Making unreasonably loud noises
Freedom Of Speech Vs. Disorderly Conduct
Freedom of speech has been hotly debated in living rooms and courtrooms for generations. The courts have decided over and over that freedom of speech isn't absolute and can be restricted to keep the peace and ensure public safety. For instance, you are free to walk into a movie theater and chat with your friends while getting your seat. However, you cannot run into the theater, yell “fire,” and leave.
Even though there are some basic ground rules, there are a lot of gray areas surrounding freedom of speech and disorderly conduct charges. If you believe you were within your rights but still charged, you can stand up for yourself in court. Our Travis County disorderly conduct lawyer will get your statement, review other evidence, and go over your legal options.
Intention Matters With Disorderly Conduct Charges
Imagine walking down the street, tripping, falling, and accidentally yelling something that some might find obscene. You surely didn't mean to disturb anyone or act in a disorderly fashion. Instead, you were taken by surprise and reacted as many people would do if in the same situation. Because you did not intend to threaten, disturb, harass, or harm anyone, you should not be charged with disorderly conduct.
Now, assume that someone disrobes without any concern for others and then runs down the street screaming profanity at everyone that passes. The intent here appears to be to make a scene, disturb the peace, and create chaos while making people feel unsafe. This is an example of disorderly conduct.
It's possible that you did not intend to create a disturbance, even though law enforcement thinks you did. Consult with our Travis County disorderly conduct lawyer to discuss the circumstances of your case.
The Prosecution Has To Prove Guilt
If this is your first time facing criminal charges, you might think you have to come up with evidence that clearly demonstrates you could not have committed the crime. While that is always helpful, it's often unnecessary. In court cases, the defendant is not tasked with proving his or her innocence. Instead, the prosecution must prove the person's guilt. This can be challenging for the prosecution, especially when you have a Travis County disorderly conduct lawyer by your side to poke holes in the prosecution's theory. Thus, reach out for a free consultation today.
How Long Does The State Have To File Charges?
Prosecutors must file charges before the two-year statute of limitations expires. If they wait until the deadline passes, they will not be able to charge you with a crime. The statute of limitations is in place to protect defendants. First, of course, it's unfair to live under a lifetime of threats that you might be charged for something that allegedly occurred years ago. Second, evidence disappears, witnesses move, and memories fade as time passes. By ensuring that charges are filed in a timely fashion, your Travis County disorderly conduct lawyer can collect evidence and build your defense.