Consequences of Disorderly Conduct in Ohio
- Criminal Defense
The state laws of Ohio stipulate that disorderly conduct will be prosecuted as a minor misdemeanor unless the following circumstances aggravate the alleged offense:
- It happens near a school or in a school safety zone.
- It happens “in the presence of any law enforcement officer, firefighter, rescuer, medical person, emergency medical services person, or other authorized person who is engaged in the person’s duties at the scene of a fire, accident, disaster, riot, or emergency of any kind.”
- It happens “in the presence of any emergency facility person who is engaged in the person’s duties in an emergency facility.”
Disorderly Conduct Punishment in Ohio
The maximum fine for a minor misdemeanor is $150. As a fourth degree misdemeanor, a more serious Ohio disorderly conduct charge can bring a 30-day jail sentence and a fine of $250. House arrest, probation, substance abuse counseling and treatment, and use of a monitoring ankle bracelet, in some combination, are also possible in lieu of time spent in jail.
Criminal Consequences of Disorderly Conduct in Ohio
The actual criminal consequences of disorderly conduct in Ohio can be severe in relation to the offense. To understand that, as well as why contesting the charge with assistance from an Ohio disorderly conduct attorney can make sense, consider this list of behaviors defined as disorderly conduct in section 2917.11 of the Ohio Revised Code:
- Arguing loudly
- Trying to provoke a fight
- Threatening to cause harm to a person or property
- Acting in a violent manner
- Yelling obscenities and making rude gestures
- Verbally insulting someone
- Blocking a road, sidewalk, doorway, or train track
- Creating an unsafe situation
- Drinking in public
- Being visibly drunk in public
- Operating a vehicle even if one’s blood alcohol concentration or blood and urine levels of intoxicating drugs is below legal limits
The statute states that the behavior must be “reckless” and cause “inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to another.” Those may seem like high bars of evidence to clear until one realizes that state law provides no objective standards for defining recklessness or inconvenience. Depending on what law enforcement officers and members of the public consider disorderly at a given time and in a given place, protest marches, acting erratically at a crime or crash scene, behaving in a distraught manner in a hospital, and attending a loud party can all be cited and prosecuted as disorderly conduct. So can joking around with friends in a parking lot and responding to another person’s aggressive behavior.
Disorderly Conduct Penalty in Ohio
Another alarming aspect of Ohio’s disorderly conduct statute is that it automatically places students at risk for receiving the harshest disorderly conduct penalties. Arguments at school and sneaking beers can result in jail terms because each is a higher-level misdemeanor. A disorderly conduct charge can also count as a violation of a high school or college’s student code of conduct that is punishable by expulsion.
To discuss ways to fight an Ohio disorderly conduct charge, contact a Columbus Ohio criminal defense attorney with The Maher Law Firm. Our phone number is (614) 205-2208 and initial consultations are free.