Drunk and Disorderly Lawyer in Atlanta
Drunk and disorderly conduct, simply referred to as disorderly conduct, is a catchall provision in the state law. In fact, the criminal act is one of those commonly charged offenses because officers used when confronting an individual they want to detain. Typically, police want to detain the alleged suspect for the purpose of:
- Preventing them from interfering with an investigation
- Keep the public safe
- “Teach the person a lesson”
How the Drunk and Disorderly Conduct Crime Occurs in Georgia
A person can be accused of drunk and disorderly conduct for one of four reasons. For instance, a person acts in a tumultuous or violent way toward another individual. This action places the other individual in reasonable fear for their safety. Other ways of a person can be charged with drunk and disorderly conduct are:
- They act in a violent way toward another person and either place the alleged victim’s property in danger. They may also be accused of destroying the alleged victim’s property.
- A person acts, without provocation, abusive words that may incite violence or breach peace immediately in another individual’s presence. For example, a person is allegedly drunk and hanging around a group of people. In their presence, the person begins using “fighting words” to start or instigate some sort of violence. They could be accused of disorderly conduct.
- They use vulgar, obscene or profane language, without any provocation in the presence of a person under 14 years old. To be in the presence of a minor also includes using this language over the phone. The profane language must threaten the breach of peace immediately. This means violence may erupt at any time because of the obscene, vulgar or obscene language.
An Arrest for Drunk and Disorderly can occur during a DUI Investigation in Georgia
When thinking about who can be arrested for disorderly conduct, most people would not think about the driver’s passenger. Sometimes a driver will be arrested for DUI and/or disorderly conduct. In cases of DUI stops in Atlanta, a passenger may be at risk for a disorderly conduct charge.
This often occurs when a passenger gets out of the vehicle to interfere with the DUI investigation. The interference may be simply be trying to understand what is happening. The arresting officer may perceive the questioning as the passenger trying to prevent the driver from being arrested.
Another reason why a passenger may be accused of disorderly conduct during a DUI investigation is for safety. An Atlanta officer may try to ensure their safety and the safety of other people by limiting the movement of bystanders. Bystanders include passengers in the driver’s motor vehicle. For example, the officer may instruct the passenger to remain in the vehicle during the DUI investigation.
If the passenger attempts to leave the vehicle, they may be warned to remain in the vehicle. If they attempt to leave the vehicle or become disorderly, they can be charged with disorderly conduct.
Things to Know about Drunk and Disorderly Conduct Cases in Georgia
Usually, Georgia does not criminalize a person for using unprovoked language directed at an individual 14 years or younger unless they are “fighting words.” The use of the obscene language must be used in the presence of the public, not just an arresting officer. So arguing with an officer may not be enough to charge someone with drunk and disorderly conduct.
Penalties for Drunk and Disorderly Conduct in Georgia
In Atlanta, disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor. The misdemeanor is punishable by 12 months in jail and/or $1,000 fine. It is a judge’s discretion to give an alternative sentence. The alternative sentence may be probation instead of jail time. Other option could be a combination of community service, fine or an alcohol awareness course.
Instead of being charged with disorderly conduct, an individual can be charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer. The difference between the two crimes is knowledge. In the obstruction of a law enforcement officer, a person must knowingly and willfully hinder or obstruct an office while they are working.
One example is a passenger constantly asking the officer questions while knowing to try to hinder their DUI investigation of the driver. Another similar charge is obstruction. Obstruction involves lying to police or giving them false information.
Fight Your Drunk and Disorderly Charge in Georgia with Help of Georgia’s Toughest Lawyers at Yeargan & Kert, LLC
You were charged with disorderly conduct. Maybe you were accused of being drunk and disorderly. Maybe you were not drunk. Maybe you were the passenger in the vehicle and wrongly accused of interfering with a DUI investigation.
The reason you were charged with drunk and disorderly conduct may work in your favor. For instance, the police officer assumed you were disorderly when you were acting in a peaceful manner. At Yeargan & Kert, LLC we work hard to build the best defense available. We do this by listening to you explain what happened before, during and after the arrest and viewing the police report.
We will also work to get the charge dismissed or reduced. You may think disorderly conduct is just a minor offense, but a conviction can have long-term, devastating consequences. For instance, the conviction will go on your criminal record. It is time to fight your disorderly conduct charge. Contact Yeargan & Kert, LLC for help.