What a Charge of Disorderly Conduct Means in Texas

Disorderly conduct is broad term that refers to a variety of crimes that offend, scare or endanger the community at large. These crimes are often thought of as things that people do when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, like urinating in a public place. However, while some of these crimes do occur when a person’s judgment is impaired by a substance, others do not. Sometimes, a person charged with disorderly conduct is not even aware that he or she at the time was breaking the law. However, it is important to remember that ignorance is never a valid defense. This is especially important for parents to understand, because children who are older than sixth grade can be charged in Texas with disorderly conduct. The following are a list of some of the acts that can result in a disorderly conduct charge:

  • Public displaying one’s private parts without regard to whether the act may offend or upset other people (i.e., “flashing” someone);
  • Fighting in public;
  • Publicly firing a weapon for a reason other than to protect yourself or others from a dangerous animal;
  • Publicly brandishing a weapon for the purposes of scaring or upsetting other people;
  • Use of obscene or offensive language that is intended to scare or provoke other people (i.e., using “fighting words”);
  • Publicly fighting;
  • Creating excessive noise that disturbs other or the community at large;
  • Being a “peeping Tom,” or peering into another’s person’s private residence or at a person in a public shower or restroom for purposes that are not lawful;
  • Picketing a funeral;
  • Participation in a riot;
  • Being obviously drunk while in public or public intoxication;
  • Blocking a sidewalk, street or access to public building, “protesting” that results in blocking a public road; and
  • Making a false or harassing 911 call.


The punishment for a charge of disorderly conduct depends on the severity of the charge. For example, fighting in public in most instances will be considered to be a Class C misdemeanor, which is the least serious misdemeanor. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a $500 fine. Funeral picketing and rioting are examples of acts usually classified as Class B misdemeanors. The punishment for a Class B misdemeanor is a fine of up to $2,000 and/or jail time of up to 180 days. However, either of these crimes can be upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor if the crime warrants it.

Seek the advice of an attorney

Any time a person is arrested and charged with a crime, regardless if the crime is a petty offense or a serious charge, his or her rights are in jeopardy. A seasoned criminal defense attorney will be able to not only protect your rights, but also determine if you have any defenses to the charges. A person who forgoes representation and just accepts the charges will have a criminal record. A criminal record is not something that disappears overnight. In many instances, a criminal record can interfere with a person’s ability to obtain employment or can even raise your insurance rates.

If you have been arrested and charged disorderly conducts or disturbing the peace, it is important that you speak with an experienced Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. For more than 30 years Attorney Jack Pettit has provided aggressive representation for clients charged with both misdemeanor and felony criminal charges. As a former prosecutor, Jack Pettit brings a special advantage to his clients. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call the Law Offices of Jack Pettit today at (214) 521-4567. Our office provides services to clients in both English and Spanish. Major credit cards are accepted as well.


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