Engaging in conduct that disrupts the public in a disrespectful or threatening matter is known as disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct is a violent crime in Texas that often carries harsh consequences such as jail time, a criminal record, fines, and community service. If you’ve been charged with disorderly conduct, it’s important you understand the penalties behind the crime.
Many people believe that their First Amendment right to free speech will protect them from their disorderly conduct charge. However, that is not the case. Disorderly conduct is a serious crime under Texas Statute § 42.01 and violation of that law can result in criminal consequences. That’s why it’s important to seek the legal representation of a skilled criminal defense attorney if you’ve been charged with disorderly conduct.
Disorderly Conduct Attorneys in Houston, TX
If you or someone you know has been charged with disorderly conduct in Houston, contact our Texas criminal defense lawyers at Horak Law. Attorney Matthew Horak has a passion for criminal defense. He has been practicing in Texas criminal courts for years and understands the logistics of disorderly conduct crimes.
Do not face your charges alone. Horak Law has two convenient locations to serve you: Houston, TX and The Woodlands, TX. We also represent clients including Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston, Liberty, and Waller counties. Office visits and in-person consultations are available at either location by appointment only. Call us today at (713) 225-8000 to schedule a free consultation.
- Disorderly Conduct in Houston, TX
- Disorderly Conduct Penalties in TX
- Offenses Similar to Disorderly Conduct
- Disorderly Conduct for Additional Resources
The criminal justice system in Texas views violent crimes as one of the heinous legal violations in the books. Unfortunately, disorderly conduct is categorized as a violent crime. That means the penalties upon conviction are incredibly serious.
According to §42.01 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can be convicted of disrupting a public place if they intentionally or knowingly:
- Uses abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace.
- Makes an offensive gesture or display in a public place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace.
- Creates, by chemical means, a noxious and unreasonable odor in a public place.
- Abuses or threatens a person in a public place in an obviously offensive manner.
- Makes unreasonable noise in a public place other than a sport shooting range, as defined by Section 250.001, Local Government Code, or in or near a private residence that he has no right to occupy.
- Fights with another person in a public place.
- Discharges a firearm in a public place other than a public road or a sport shooting range, as defined by Section 250.001, Local Government Code.
- Displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.
- Discharges a firearm on or across a public road.
- Exposes sex organs, genitals or anus in a public place.
The First Amendment guarantees the right to freedom of speech, but the Texas courts have made some exceptions. Vulgar language or acts that may constitute danger are not protected. For example, yelling “explosion” in a movie theater can imply threat and cause serious bodily harm to those inside of the public place.
Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code defines the penalties an individual may face after being convicted of disorderly conduct. An offense under this statute is a Class C Misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500. However, firearm-related acts such discharging or displaying a gun in a public place can result in a Class B Misdemeanor. A Class B Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
The Texas Penal Code provides various offenses that are similar to disorderly conduct. Someone can be charged with these offenses individually or in addition to disorderly conduct. These offenses are as follows:
Harassment – According to Texas Penal Code Section 42.07, an individual can be charged with this offense if they intend to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another person.
False Alarm or Report – According to Texas Penal Code 42.06, an individual can be charged with this offense if he or she knowingly initiates, communicates or circulates a report of a present, past, or future bombing, fire, offense, or another emergency they know is false.
Disruption of Meetings or Processions – According to Texas Penal Code 42.05, an individual can be charged with this offense if they prevent or disrupt any lawful meeting, procession or gathering through physical action or verbal utterance.
Destruction of Flag – According to Texas Penal Code 42.11, A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly damages, defaces, mutilates, or burns the flag of the United States or the State of Texas.
Texas Penal Code: Disorderly Conduct – Visit Chapter 42 of Texas Penal Code which provides information about disorderly conduct. Click the link to view the elements that constitute the offense. The webpage also lists the penalties that a person can acquire if they’re charged with the disorderly conduct crime.
Commission on State Emergency Communications – The mission of the Commission on State Emergency Communications (CSEC) is to preserve and enhance public safety and health in TX through reliable access to emergency communications services. Visit the website to view valuable resources available such as the national suicide hotline, and national alliance on mental illness (NAMI).
Houston Disorderly Conduct Defense Lawyer | Texas Violent Crime Attorney
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct in TX, it’s best to secure representation by a legal team with experience. By retaining an experienced violent crime attorney you trust, you can confidently stand up to the charges against you. If you’re ready to take the next step to protect your rights and freedom, contact Horak Law.
Horak Law accepts clients throughout the greater Houston metroplex area and surrounding communities including River Oaks, Brays Oaks, Midtown, and Greenspoint. Our Houston violent crime lawyers will make every effort to help you avoid the penalties to your alleged disorderly conduct offense. Call us today at (713) 225-8000 to schedule an initial consultation free of charge.