Like other states, the Commonwealth of Virginia has laws that make it a crime to engage in disorderly conduct in public. This is a serious misdemeanor offense that comes with harsh consequences if convicted. However, an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands the unique aspects of this crime in our state can help you build a strong defense strategy to fight the charges you face.
What Is Considered Disorderly Conduct in Virginia?
Under Virginia Code §18.2-415, an individual can be found guilty of disorderly conduct for intentionally causing or creating a risk of a public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm. Disorderly conduct can be charged for fighting or for other actions in a public location when the police officer does not have another specific crime that the accused can be arrested for.
To be convicted of disorderly conduct, certain actions must be committed in specific locations. This offense can be charged for the following:
- 2-415.1. It is considered disorderly conduct to engage in conduct that has the direct tendency to cause acts of violence by a victim who the violence is directed against in a street, highway, public building, or public place.
- 2-415.2. A person can be charged with disorderly conduct if they willfully disrupt a funeral, memorial service, or meeting of a governmental entity, school, literary society or place of worship, or does so while intoxicated. If the accused is intoxicated, the prosecutor does not need to prove that the disruption was intentional.
- 2-415.3. Under this section, an offender who willfully, or while intoxicated, disrupts a school or school-sponsored operation or activity can be charged with disorderly conduct. To be found guilty, the accused’s actions must prevent or interfere with the operation or activity or have a direct tendency to cause acts of violence by the individual whom the disruption was directed against.
What Are the Penalties for Disorderly Conduct?
Disorderly conduct is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. If convicted, a defendant can be sentenced to these punishments:
- Up to 12 months in jail
- Fine not to exceed $2,500
In addition, many cities have ordinances that prohibit disorderly conduct. If charged under local law, the offense could be a less serious misdemeanor offense with different penalties.
Were you charged with disorderly conduct in Virginia? Our skilled criminal defense legal team can mount a strong defense for you that may result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. To learn more about how we can help you, start a live chat or fill out the convenient only form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.