Arizona is a very unique state when it comes to classifying the crimes of disorderly conduct (disturbing the peace) and recklessly discharging or brandishing a firearm. Most states separate these crimes into their own individual laws. Not the Grand Canyon State. Both types of crimes are penalized under one specific statute. Let's explore each one in a little more depth.
What is a Disorderly Person in Arizona?
Under Arizona law, a disorderly conduct is considered a "disturbance of the peace" offense and can arise out of several different situations and circumstances.
You are considered a disorderly person if you:
- Engage in fighting or "seriously disruptive behavior;"
- Make “unreasonable” noise (loud music at a party);
- Use abusive or offensive language to try and provoke someone;
- Make a commotion to disrupt business;
- Refuse to leave an area as directed by officials (for instance: the scene of a fire or emergency.
What is Reckless Discharge or Brandishing of a Firearm in Arizona?
While Arizona residents love their guns, there are penalties for acting irresponsibly. It is unlawful to recklessly handle, display, or discharge a firearm with the intent to disturb the peace and quiet of a neighborhood, family or person. Period. The only exception is if you are defending yourself. This is known as a "defensive display" and is justified when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe physical force is immediately necessary to protect yourself against another person's use or attempted use of unlawful physical or deadly physical force.
The following table highlights the main provisions of Arizona's disorderly conduct laws. See Disturbing the Peace, Public Intoxication, Public Safety Violations and Sex Crimes for more information.
|What is Prohibited?
Disorderly Conduct: See above.
Reckless Discharge of a Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument: See above.
Class 1 misdemeanor (up to 6 months in jail and fines of $2,500) for all crimes but reckless discharge of a firearm which is a class 6 felony including classification as a "Dangerous Felony," mandatory minimum prison sentence of one and one half (1.5) years, a presumptive prison term of two and one quarter (2.25) years, and a maximum of three (3) years of incarceration.
In addition, if the person has one (1) prior dangerous felony conviction, then the mandatory “prison only” sentence is three (3) years minimum, three and three quarters (3.75) years presumptive, and four and one half (4.5) years maximum of incarceration.
Note: State laws are always changing through legislative, judicial, or other means. While FindLaw works hard to ensure the accuracy of its legal resources, it's a good idea to thoroughly research the law or check with an attorney to make sure you have the most recent information.
Facing Disorderly Conduct Charges? An Attorney Can Help
Disorderly conduct charges can arise from a wide range of actions, while in some cases you may have a valid argument that you were exercising your constitutionally protected rights, such as the right to free speech. Because Arizona criminal laws can sometimes get complicated, you should consult an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney if you have questions about your disorderly conduct case.