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So, you stayed out later than planned, had a few too many margaritas, and got arrested for having a loud, one-man dance party in the streets of your quiet neighborhood at 3 a.m. Or maybe you refused to stop shouting angry insults at every person entering the local grocery store. Whatever your disorderly conduct charge was for, you're probably wondering if you can get the charges dropped. It's always possible, but the probability of success depends on a number of factors.
Disorderly Conduct: What the Prosecution Must Prove
The exact elements of a disorderly conduct charge vary from state to state and sometimes include or resemble charges for disturbing the peace or creating a public nuisance. It often serves as a sort of "catch-all" charge since its definition is so broad and covers a lot of different actions. However, a disorderly conduct charge usually requires the prosecution to prove some form of intentionally or recklessly causing public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm.
Factors Affecting Dismissal
Although the crime of disorderly conduct can seem fairly vague, it's still possible to get those charges dropped. Some state statutes provide for specific defenses to the charge, such as mental incapacity, being a minor, or acting under duress or in self-defense. Additionally, the circumstances of your arrest and the evidence against you could help you get the charges dropped. For example, if there's little evidence you were the one who caused the problem and the cops just arrested everyone in the area, that could be used to your advantage.
Another important factor is the ability of your attorney. An experienced attorney will know how to spot the weaknesses in the prosecution's case against you. He or she will also know how to effectively negotiate with the other side, increasing your chances of having the charges dropped or reduced.
A disorderly conduct charge may not seem like that big of a deal, but it could earn you significant fines and even jail time. And nobody needs that on their record. Talk to an attorney or interview a few of them to assess your case and the likelihood of getting your disorderly conduct charge dismissed.