What’s Considered Disorderly Conduct?

British police

At some point, you’ve most likely heard someone use the term “disorderly conduct”, but what exactly does it mean?  Below, we’ll uncover some of the different reasons someone could be charged with disorderly conduct: 

What Is Disorderly Conduct?

Whenever one or more individuals cause a disturbance or lead to a non-peaceful event, it can be prosecuted as disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct charges are common, as they’re often because of rowdy, intoxicated people or those participating in boisterous public displays. If there has been a breach of the peace, then the possibility of disorderly conduct charges may be applied. But what constitutes a disorderly conduct charge? 

Disorderly Conduct Laws

The term is quite broad, which often results in some confusion surrounding the law. There are different types of disorderly conduct:


Many cases are based on whether or not it involves behaviour that wouldn’t have been considered disorderly if it had occurred in a different location or time.


The disorderly conduct prosecution has to show that another person or group was alarmed or affected by the accused’s conduct.  


The ruling can depend on where the disorderly conduct takes place. If the conduct occurs in a public place, such as hospitals, parks, or restrooms, it can be considered disorderly. If the situation happens in private, it would depend unless it affected others, such as neighbours. 

Examples of Disorderly Conduct 


If the situation isn’t severe enough to result in charges of assault and battery, disorderly conduct may be the other option. Any fights, brawls, or scuffles can be considered disorderly. The circumstances of the situation might differentiate it from assault and battery.

Public Misconduct 

Engagement of activity in a public setting that would often be private can be considered disorderly. Acts such as an indecent exhibition in a public place, like swearing, intoxication, urination, exposing oneself, or impeding on others can result in disorderly conduct charges.

Public Assembly 

Interrupting events such as a public rally, religious ceremony, or city council meeting are enough to constitute a charge.


While peaceful protests are welcomed, engaging in a riotous or disruptive protest may result in a disorderly conduct charge. 

Police Encounters 

Many of these charges may come about from encounters with police. Failure to comply with police after being told to leave a public area or engaging in any threatening or physical contact will result in disorderly conduct charges. 


There will be penalties dealt if you face a disorderly conduct charge. It can result in jail time, fines, or probation, as they’re typically considered misdemeanor offences. 

Call today if you require legal assistance from an experienced lawyer, and you’ll receive effective legal representation for a variety of offences. They’ll review your case, options, and figure out what the next best move to take will be.