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Arizona Disorderly Conduct Law: Disturbing the Peace Charges ARS 13-2904

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Disturbing the peace, also known as disorderly conduct, is a common charge in Arizona, often involving a range of disruptive behaviors that can include excessive or unreasonable noise, abusive or offensive language, fighting or engaging in violent behavior, trespassing, loitering, and refusing to disperse.

On average, there are thousands of disorderly conduct cases in Arizona each year, with the cost of fines associated with these charges totaling upwards of $2,500. 

In this article, we will discuss the following topics related to disturbing the peace charges in Arizona:

  • Understanding Disturbing the Peace Charges in Arizona – ARS 13-2904
  • Common Examples of Disturbing the Peace in Arizona
  • Arizona’s Disorderly Conduct Classification and Penalties
  • Defending Against Disturbing the Peace Charges
  • Can a Disturbing the Peace Charge Lead to Other Criminal Charges?
  • How a Conviction Can Impact Your Life
  • The Importance of Legal Representation in Disturbing the Peace Cases
  • Arizona’s First-Time Offender Programs and Alternative Sentencing

Charged with Disturbing the Peace? Get Immediate Help from Our Arizona Defense Attorneys. We are Available to Talk Now.

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Arizona Disorderly Conduct Law: Disturbing the Peace Charges ARS 13-2904

Understanding Disturbing the Peace Charges in Arizona – ARS 13-2904

Under the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) § 13-2904, disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace is defined as engaging in behaviors that disrupt the peace and quiet of a community.

These behaviors can include making excessive or unreasonable noise, using offensive language, fighting, engaging in violent behavior, trespassing, loitering, and refusing to disperse.

It’s essential to note that, in Arizona, a person may be charged with disturbing the peace if they knowingly or recklessly engage in these disruptive behaviors.

To prove a disorderly conduct charge, the prosecution must establish that the defendant’s actions were intentional or resulted from disregarding the potential consequences.

Common Examples of Disturbing the Peace in Arizona

Below are some common examples of behaviors that may result in a disturbing the peace charge in Arizona. We have also included fictional examples to get a better understanding.

These include the following:

  • Playing loud music at late hours or in residential areas.

Example Scenario- Brian, a 25-year-old DJ from Chandler, Arizona. He recently moved into a new apartment complex and decided to throw a housewarming party. Despite the quiet hours enforced by the complex, Brian’s music was found to disturb the peace or quiet of his neighborhood. His actions led to numerous noise complaints from his neighbors, and he was charged with disorderly conduct in Arizona.

Brian now faces a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. He must work with a criminal defense attorney to help drop the charges and protect his reputation as an up-and-coming DJ in the Phoenix area.

  • Shouting or using offensive language in public spaces

Example Scenario- Jennifer is a 35-year-old stay-at-home mom from Tempe, Arizona. One afternoon, she got into a heated argument with another parent at her son’s soccer game. In the heat of the moment, Jennifer used abusive or offensive language, drawing the attention of nearby spectators and causing a scene.

The incident resulted in a disorderly conduct charge by using offensive language or gestures. Jennifer must now work with a defense attorney to keep her record clean and preserve her standing within her tight-knit community.

  • Engaging in physical altercations or threatening violence

Example Scenario- Carlos, a 45-year-old construction worker from Mesa, Arizona, went out with a group of friends to watch a football game at a local sports bar. After having a few too many drinks, Carlos got into an argument with a fan of the opposing team. The disagreement escalated quickly, and Carlos threatened to use a deadly weapon against the other fan.

The police were called, and Carlos was charged with felony disorderly conduct, a class 6 felony conviction, because a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument was involved. He now needs a skilled attorney to help him avoid potential penalties and the impact a conviction could have on his job and family life.

  • Trespassing on private property without permission

Example Scenario- Sophie, a 19-year-old college student from Glendale, Arizona, decided to explore an abandoned building with a group of friends one weekend. The group entered the property without permission, displaying the intent to disturb the peace. The property owner discovered the group and called the police, resulting in disorderly conduct charges for Sophie and her friends.

To avoid having a criminal record that could affect her future education and career opportunities, Sophie must work with a criminal defense lawyer to fight the charges.

  • Loitering near a business or residential area without a valid reason

Example Scenario- Max, a 22-year-old aspiring artist from Peoria, Arizona, was waiting for a friend outside a convenience store. He decided to sketch the storefront while he waited but ended up lingering in the area for an extended period. The store owner grew suspicious and called the police, who charged Max with disorderly conduct for loitering without a valid reason.

Max now needs an attorney to help him prove that he had no ill intentions and get the charges dropped.

  • Refusing to leave a public area when ordered to disperse by law enforcement

Example Scenario- Alice, a 28-year-old activist from Avondale, Arizona, participated in a peaceful protest in downtown Phoenix. When the demonstration began to disrupt traffic, the police issued an order to maintain public safety and instructed the protesters to disperse.

However, Alice refused to obey a lawful order, insisting on her right to free speech. As a result, she was charged with disorderly conduct. Alice now needs a defense attorney to help her argue that her actions were protected under the First Amendment and get the charges dismissed.

While these are some typical examples, it’s essential to understand that each case is unique, and a variety of factors can contribute to a disorderly conduct charge.

Arizona’s Disorderly Conduct Classification and Penalties

In Arizona, disorderly conduct is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, and up to three years of probation.

However, the specific penalties for a disorderly conduct conviction can vary depending on the circumstances of the case, the defendant’s criminal history, and other factors considered by the court.

Defending Against Disturbing the Peace Charges

When facing a disturbing the peace charge in Arizona, it’s crucial to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer from Colburn Hintze Maletta.

Some common defense strategies for these charges include:

  • Arguing that the defendant’s behavior was not intentional or reckless
  • Challenging the validity of the arresting officer’s observations or testimony
  • Presenting evidence that the alleged behavior was not disruptive or did not disturb the peace
  • Asserting that the defendant’s actions were protected under the First Amendment right to free speech

An experienced attorney will carefully review the facts of the case and develop a tailored defense strategy to achieve the best possible outcome.

Can a Disturbing the Peace Charge Lead to Other Criminal Charges?

In some cases, a disturbing the peace charge may be accompanied by additional criminal charges.

For example, if the disorderly conduct involved physical altercations, the defendant may also be charged with assault or battery.

Similarly, if the disruptive behavior included trespassing, the defendant could face trespassing charges.

A skilled defense attorney can help navigate these additional charges and develop a comprehensive defense strategy.

How a Conviction Can Impact Your Life

A conviction for disturbing the peace can have significant, long-lasting consequences.

In addition to the potential fines, jail time, and probation, a disorderly conduct conviction can also impact your employment prospects, housing opportunities, and even your reputation within the community.

Moreover, having a criminal record can make securing loans or obtaining professional licenses more challenging.

It’s crucial to take these charges seriously and work with an experienced defense attorney to minimize the potential impact on your life.

When facing a disturbing the peace charge, hiring a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer from the law office of Colburn Hintze Maletta is essential.

A skilled attorney will investigate the case thoroughly, identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence, and present a strong defense on your behalf.

They can also negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or alternative sentencing options, potentially avoiding the negative consequences of a conviction.

Arizona’s First-Time Offender Programs and Alternative Sentencing

Sometimes, first-time offenders facing a disturbing the peace charge in Arizona may be eligible for alternative sentencing or diversion programs.

These programs typically involve participating in community service, attending educational classes or counseling, and potentially paying restitution.

Upon successfully completing the program, the charges may be dismissed or reduced, allowing the defendant to avoid a criminal record.

However, eligibility for these programs can depend on the specific Arizona laws of the case and the defendant’s criminal history.

An experienced defense attorney from Colburn Hintze Maletta can help determine your eligibility and advocate for your participation in a diversion program if appropriate.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately

Disturbing the peace charges in Arizona encompasses a wide range of disruptive behaviors and can have lasting consequences for those convicted.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer from Colburn Hintze Maletta can provide invaluable guidance and representation, helping you navigate the complexities of the legal system and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

Call us immediately at (602) 825-2500 to discuss this during a free consultation.

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