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.
Des Moines Disorderly Conduct Lawyers
At Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, we defend the rights and liberties of good people who are accused of bad things. An Iowa disorderly conduct attorney might be able to save you from paying thousands in fines and spending time locked up away from your family.
Get out of trouble and get back to life. Call Katherine Sears at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, now at (515) 491 6128 to set up a free consultation. A receptionist is available 24/7 to take your call.
The criminal defense lawyers at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, are based in Des Moines and Ankeny and represent defendants throughout Polk County and the rest of Iowa.
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
Disorderly conduct constitutional issues
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 overbread or vague.
I don’t expect that the statute will hold up under the level of scrutiny applied to this sort of speech/expressive conduct. I absolutely want to appeal an “abusive epithets or threatening gestures” charge. If this applies to you, we should chat.
Disrespecting the flag
Constitutional issues may exist here.
Defense lawyers for disorderly conduct in Des Moines, Polk County, Ankeny, Ames, Johnston, West Des Moines, Waukee, Saylorville, Bondurant, Altoona, Clive, Grimes, Pleasant Hill, Story County, Boone County, Marshall County, Dallas County, Jasper County, Madison County, Warren County, Marion County, Wapello County, Davis County, Ottumwa, Bloomfield, Iowa City, Council Bluffs, and the rest of Iowa.
This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. Reading this site doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship. If you want to talk to us about your Iowa disorderly conduct charges, please contact us at (515) 491 6128 and we’ll set up a time to talk.