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Disorderly conduct, also referred to as “dis-con,” is described under § 240.20 of the New York Penal Law. The statute sets forth several different ways a person can be found guilty of disorderly conduct. The individual must have caused public “inconvenience, alarm or annoyance” in anyone of the seven enumerated ways found in the statute.
You should know that this charge is frequently seen as vague. It is however a very common crime charged. You may see a police officer charge an individual with disorderly conduct in addition to resisting arrest or obstructing governmental administration.
In many instances, if a person is being boisterous or tumultuous, and the police officer cannot identify what to arrest that person for, it’s not uncommon for the police officer to consider making a disorderly conduct if circumstances warrant.
These circumstances include (but aren’t limited to) the person intentionally making unreasonable noise or engage in threatening behavior. It may also arise if the person makes or uses obscene language or gestures or if the person obstructs vehicle traffic or creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition with no legitimate purpose.
Remember, the person does not have to do all those things to be arrested for disorderly conduct. Just one of the seven enumerated acts of misconduct listed in the statute is enough. For example, if a person intentionally causes what the officer believes is public “annoyance” and unreasonable noise, then that person may be arrested for disorderly conduct.
In many instances, prosecutors offer as an alternative to a more serious charge (i.e. assault), the disorderly conduct disposition during negotiations.
The good news is that disorderly conduct is a violation under New York law, and therefore even if one pleads guilty, it will not result in a criminal record. The bad news however is that it may appear in some background checks. Additionally, under the eyes of immigration law, disorderly conduct may be considered a misdemeanor since it is punishable by imprisonment of one year or less but greater than five days and the person is sentenced to 90 days or less in jail, including a sentence of time served.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, it is best that you consult with an experienced immigration lawyer who could discuss any possible immigration consequence involving a guilty plea for disorderly conduct. Keep in mind that if you received a “pink summons” for disorderly conduct, many police officers do not properly articulate how your conduct was “disorderly.”
If you are not a U.S. citizen and have been charged with disorderly conduct, call Attorney Kyce Siddiqi at (646) 930-4488 for a consultation.