September 17, 2022 By Wallin & Klarich

What Is Disorderly Conduct? 

Disorderly conduct is a broad category of minor criminal offenses that involve public behaviors or activities considered to be offensive or disruptive. California Penal Code Section 647 classifies the following conduct as disorderly: 

  • Engaging in or soliciting lewd or dissolute conduct in a public place 
  • Engaging in or soliciting prostitution 
  • Accosting a person in a public place for begging or soliciting money 
  • Loitering in a public toilet for the purpose of engaging in or soliciting an unlawful act 
  • Lodging in a public or private building, structure, vehicle, or place without the owner’s permission 
  • Being drunk or intoxicated in a public place such that you are unable to exercise care for your own safety or the safety of others 
  • Peeping through the door or window of an inhabited private structure 

Penalties for Disorderly Conduct 

In California, disorderly conduct is charged as a misdemeanor. While this may not seem very serious, a conviction can still carry penalties, including: 

  • Up to $1,000 in fines 
  • Up to 6 months in county jail 

Furthermore, for second or subsequent convictions, you may face heavier sentencing. These penalties include: 

  • Up to $2,000 in fines 
  • Up to 1 year in county jail 

If the conduct involved a minor, there may be additional sentencing enhancements. 

Defenses for Disorderly Conduct 

If you have been accused of disorderly conduct, you may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed by exercising one of the following defenses. It may be in your best interest to obtain an experienced attorney before trying to assert a defense on your own. 

No Prohibited Act 

Under PC Section 647, you must engage in a specific prohibited act in order to be convicted for disorderly conduct, such as engaging in lewd conduct or peeping in someone’s window. This means that if you can prove that your conduct did not amount to a prohibited act, you may have a defense. In order to successfully exercise this defense, you must explain the specific facts of your case to show that no prohibited act was committed. For example, if you were merely passing by a house and looking around aimlessly, you can explain that you did not intend to look into someone’s window. 

No Probable Cause 

Under the Fourth Amendment, an officer must have probable cause before they can stop or arrest a suspect. In other words, they must have reason to believe that you are violating the law. For instance, if you were simply walking slowly and an officer stopped you for public intoxication, you may be able to argue that there was no probable cause for the stop. Then, any evidence that was gathered from the improper stop or arrest must be excluded from the case. Without the evidence, your case may be dismissed. 

False Allegations 

It’s possible that the charges leveled against you are completely false. Personal vendettas against the offender may fuel false allegations, or it may simply be a case of mistaken identity. If that’s the case, a skilled attorney can look into the circumstances of your case and locate evidence that the reported occurrence never happened. 

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you have been arrested for disorderly conduct in Riverside, contact our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can help. With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich is your best choice amongst Southern California criminal defense firms. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients in a wide range of disorderly conduct cases, and we have the skills and resources to secure the best outcome for you. 

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you. Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

Confidential Consult
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

SCHEDULE YOUR free consultation

If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, this is the time to contact us.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.