Every state has disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace laws on the books, prohibiting things like obscene language, unreasonable noise, and fighting. These laws are generally aimed at protecting citizens' safety and enjoyment of public places.
The Rocky Mountain State has 28 such offenses in its criminal code, under the umbrella of Public Peace and Order. Along with its specific disorderly conduct statute, Colorado also has laws prohibiting everything from loitering to inciting or engaging in a riot. Acts that are outlawed in between include interfering with a funeral, hindering public transportation, and desecrating venerated objects.
Colorado Disorderly Conduct Laws at a Glance
Statutory language is often written in outdated legal jargon, which can take time to understand. For this reason, it can be very helpful to read an overview of the statute in plain English. The following table outlines the specifics of Colorado's disorderly conduct laws and provides links to applicable statutes.
Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 18. Article 9, Part 1, Section 18-9-106 (Disorderly Conduct)
|Defining the Offense
It's disorderly conduct when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:
- Makes a coarse and obviously offensive utterance, gesture, or display in a public place that tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace;
- Makes unreasonable noise in a public place or near a private residence that they don't have a right to occupy;
- Fights with another in a public place (except in an amateur or professional contest of athletic skill);
- Not being a peace officer, discharges a firearm in a public place*; or
- Not being a peace officer, displays a deadly weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to cause a person to reasonably believe that it's a deadly weapon, or represents (verbally or otherwise) that they're armed with a deadly weapon in a public place that's meant to alarm others.
*This doesn't apply to people engaged in lawful target practice, hunting, or involved in a funeral for a veteran.
|Charges and Penalties
Disorderly conduct is either a petty offense or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances:
- Offensive utterances and unreasonable noise are a class 1 petty offense* punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or fines up to $500.
- Fighting is a class 3 misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or fines up to $750.
- Displaying a deadly weapon or firing a firearm is a class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or fines up to $1,000.
*It's a class 2 misdemeanor if the offense is committed with intent to interfere with a funeral or with intent to cause severe emotional distress to a person attending a funeral.
Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 18. Article 9, Part 1, Section 18-9-102, et seq. (Public Peace and Order)
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Colorado Disorderly Conduct Laws: Related Resources
If you'd like to learn more information related to this topic, you can click on the links listed below.
Arrested for Disorderly Conduct in Colorado? Get in Touch with a Lawyer
Yes, it's a bummer to get arrested for a little rowdy behavior, but an arrest and possible conviction for disorderly conduct should never be taken lightly. Always have the facts about the laws and any possible defenses to the disorderly conduct charges against you. Find out more by contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney in Colorado today.