The definition of disorderly conduct varies from state to state, but each statute generally makes it a crime to disturb the peace. These laws tend to act as catchall crimes designed to prevent obnoxious or unruly behavior in public. Utah's disorderly conduct law makes it illegal to fight, block traffic, or make too much noise in a public place. The following chart outlines Utah's disorderly conduct law.
|Utah Criminal Code section 76-9-102: Disorderly Conduct
Refusing to disburse from a public place when told to do so by a law enforcement officer
Knowingly creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act that doesn't serve a legitimate purpose, or
Engaging in any of the following activities while intending to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, alarm, or recklessly causing a risk thereof:
- Engaging in fighting, or violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior
- Making unreasonable noise in a public place
- Making unreasonable noise in a private place which can be heard in a public place, or
- Obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic
What Qualifies as a "Public Place?"
Any place that the public (or a substantial group of the public) has access to. This includes streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment buildings, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops.
Class C misdemeanor if the offense continues after a request by a person to stop. Otherwise it is an infraction.
Class C misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of up to $750, and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days.
Utah's criminal code also has a couple of laws that are closely related to the crime of disorderly conduct, namely riot and failure to disperse.
Riot: The crime of rioting can be committed in three different ways:
- Engaging in tumultuous or violence conduct (and knowingly or recklessly creating a substantial risk of causing public alarm) with two or more other people
- Assembling with two or more people with the purpose of engaging in tumultuous or violence conduct (while knowing that two or more other people in the assembly have the same purpose), or
- Assembling with two or more people with the purpose of committing an offense against a person or another's property who you suspect of violating a law (while believing that two or more other people in the assembly have the same purpose)
If anyone suffers bodily injury, there is substantial property damage, arson occurs during the riot, or the offender was armed with a dangerous weapon, then the crime is a third degree felony. Otherwise rioting is a class B misdemeanor.
Failure to Disperse: In Utah it is a crime to remain at the scene of a riot, disorderly conduct, or an unlawful assembly after a peace officer orders you to disperse. Failure to disperse is a class C misdemeanor.
State laws change frequently. If you're facing charges for disorderly conduct, you should consult with a local criminal defense lawyer.