State disorderly conduct laws generally make it illegal to disturb the peace by fighting in public, making unreasonable noise, or obstructing traffic. This article provides a brief overview of Delaware's disorderly conduct laws.
|Delaware Code section 1301: Disorderly Conduct
Intentionally causing public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another person, or creating a risk thereof by:
- Engaging in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior
- Making unreasonable noise or an offensively coarse utterance, gesture or display, or addressing abusive language to any person present
- Disturbing any lawful assembly or meeting of people (without the lawful authority to do so)
- Obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic
- Congregating with other people in a public place and refusing to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse
- Creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition which serves no legitimate purpose, or
- Congregating with other people in a public place while wearing masks, hoods, or other garments to hide their faces, for the purpose of imminently subjecting any person to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
Engaging with at least one other person in an act of disorderly conduct described above that is likely to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, and refuses or knowingly fails to obey an order to disperse made by a peace officer to the participants.
|Disorderly conduct is an unclassified misdemeanor.
Disorderly Conduct at a Funeral
Delaware has a separate statute that criminalizes disorderly conduct at a funeral. This law prohibits any of the following acts within 300 feet of a funeral or memorial service (or within 1,000 feet of a funeral procession or burial):
- Making direct abusive epithets or any threatening gesture which the person knows or reasonably should know is likely to provoke a violent reaction by another
- Disturbing a funeral, memorial service, funeral procession, or burial by conduct intended to disturb or disrupt the funeral
This disorderly conduct is prohibited one hour before the funeral and two hours after the funeral has concluded. Disorderly conduct at a funeral is a class A misdemeanor for a first offense, and is a class F felony for a second (or subsequent) offense.
Delaware's riot law makes it illegal to engage in disorderly conduct with two or more people under any of the following circumstances:
- If the offender has the intent to commit or facilitate the commission of a felony or misdemeanor
- If the offender has the intent to prevent or coerce official action, or
- If any of the participants, with the knowledge of the offender, uses or plans to use a firearm or other deadly weapon
State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Delaware's disorderly conduct laws contact a criminal defense lawyer.