Disorderly Conduct Lawyer in Des Moines
Disorderly conduct is a simple misdemeanor, which means it's one of the smallest offenses you can be charged with.
Nonetheless, if you want to keep your criminal record clean, this is still a charge worth fighting -- and depending on what kind of disorderly conduct you're accused of committing, there are some solid First Amendment arguments to make.
What is Disorderly Conduct?
Iowa Code 723.4 provides that you may be charged with and convicted of disorderly conduct if you:
- Engage in fighting or violent behavior in public
- Make loud noise near a home or public building that causes unreasonable distress to the people in it
- Direct abusive epithets or threatening gestures toward someone that you know is likely to provoke a violent response
- Disturbing a lawful assembly
- Initiating or circulating a report or warning of fire, epidemic, or other catastrophe, knowing that it isn't true
- Knowingly and publicly using the United States flag in a disrespectful way, intending or reasonably expecting that you will provoke someone to commit trespass or assault
I am firmly convinced that the part of the statute prohibiting "abusive epithets or threatening gestures" is unconstitutional. "Fighting words" are not constitutionally protected speech, but it's essentially a null set, since it seems difficult to effectively prohibit "fighting words" in a way that isn't overbroad or vague.
The part of the statute prohibiting ‘abusive epithets or threatening gestures’ may be unconstitutional.
Disrespecting the Flag
Constitutional issues may exist here.