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Examples of disorderly conduct pursuant to Florida law

A pair of Florida Criminal Code sections enumerate certain types of conduct that are considered to be disorderly conduct. The statutory provisions also set forth penalties that can be imposed if a person is convicted of one of them. In addition, Florida’s disorderly conduct law also sets forth some defenses that can be mounted when facing such a charge.

Examples of disorderly conduct under Florida law

Florida statutes set forth a number of different types of conduct that rise to the level of disorderly conduct. The most commonplace ones are:

  • Disturbance of the peace
  • Loitering in restricted or certain areas
  • Inciting a riot
  • Obstructing traffic
  • Fighting and other types of physical altercations
  • Loud or unreasonable noise
  • Use of abusive language or obscenities

Penalties upon a conviction for disorderly conduct

Under state law, disorderly conduct charges can be classified as either first or second-degree misdemeanors. If a charge is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, a conviction can carry a sentence of up to a year imprisonment. If the case involves a second-degree misdemeanor, a sentence of up to 60 days can be imposed upon conviction.

As an aside, inciting a riot can also be charged as a third-degree felony in Florida. A conviction on a third-degree incitement charge can result in a prison term of over a year.

Defenses to a disorderly conduct charge

The three most commonplace defenses to a disorderly conduct charge are:

  • The right to free speech pursuant to the First Amendment
  • The act did not occur in a public setting
  • Self-defense

In many cases, a person charged with disorderly conduct for the first time is more likely to receive a fine rather than a term of incarceration upon conviction. If a person has a prior criminal record, the sentence is likely to be more severe.

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