New York Disorderly Conduct Charges Lawyer
In New York State, Disorderly Conduct [CPL § 240.20] is a violation of the law. But it is not viewed as a crime per-se. This means that unlike a conviction for a misdemeanor or felony offense, being found guilty of Disorderly Conduct, is not a criminal conviction, and may be sealed on your record.
Disorderly Conduct involves behavior with “intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof.” Police officers commonly charge someone with Disorderly Conduct violations for behaviors such as:
- Public drunkenness
- Disturbing the peace
- Excessive noise
- Threatening behavior
- Using obscene language
- Blocking a sidewalk or street.
Those who are charged with Disorderly Conduct in NYC, will typically receive a “pink summons” (or ticket). It informs the person of the violation, in addition to the date they must appear in criminal court to defend themselves against their Disorderly Conduct charge.
How Disorderly Conduct Affects Those Who Are Charged with This Offense
The maximum penalty in New York for Disorderly Conduct is 15 days in jail and a few hundred dollars in fines and surcharges (court costs). Yet even though these penalties are not overly harsh, they still should be taken seriously. Hiring a criminal defense attorney sooner rather than later is a very good idea. An experienced lawyer helps protect your rights and can often have your Disorderly Conduct charges dismissed.
Much of the wording in the relevant law is vague; nevertheless, Disorderly Conduct remains an important element in New York’s criminal justice system. Often, other more serious charges can accompany Disorderly Conduct, and since much of the time, both sides (prosecution and defense) would rather avoid a trial, they often end up negotiating over those other charges. So, Disorderly Conduct can serve as a safety valve by permitting cases to be settled by compromise, where the accused will plead guilty to lesser charges – including the non-specific Disorderly Conduct.
But there’s another side to Disorderly Conduct, where the suspect is actually charged up front with the offense because his words or actions make a police officer angry. It comes as no surprise that some people become upset or agitated when being forced to deal with police officers. One way police respond to such behavior is with a Disorderly Conduct pink summons.
Protect Yourself from Disorderly Conduct Violation Charges
One thing you should never do is blow off a summons, Disorderly conduct or otherwise, and fail to show up on your court date. If you fail to appear, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest, and you may be arrested the next time you have police contact (even when getting pulled over for a traffic ticket).
Having an attorney handle your summons involves more than merely having someone appear in court. An experienced lawyer is able to explain what’s at stake and guide you through the various procedures, which could end up with a dismissal of the charges.
Having an experienced lawyer also eases the uncertainty and anxiety that accompanies dealing with the criminal justice system and works to get the best result possible. Maybe the case can be dismissed, but if not, your attorney will try to negotiate a plea bargain reduction of higher-level criminal charges to a disorderly conduct violation.
In New York City, when appearing on a pink summons, a lawyer may be able to convince the judge, on a first-offense, to give you an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD.) With an ACD, you maintain your innocence and your case is given “deferred adjudication.” This can lead to a dismissal of your charges after a certain period of time – usually six months – as long as you stay out of trouble and do not get arrested, or issued another summons.
If you are charged with Disorderly Conduct in New York, or receive a “pink summons” in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, or Brooklyn, it is important to retain a seasoned New York criminal lawyer who has experience handling Disorderly Conduct cases to defend you.
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