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What type of conduct is considered disorderly?

You’ve likely heard it said that what goes on behind closed doors isn’t anyone’s business. The same can’t be said for public behavior, however. In Florida or anywhere you go throughout the United States, there are laws to define what are acceptable public displays of behavior. Above and beyond that, there are also laws that clearly state that certain types of behavior are not only unacceptable but unlawful as well. The trick to staying out of trouble, then, is knowing the difference.

Disorderly conduct is a term applied to various types of behavior considered unlawful and subject to criminal charges. Since state laws often vary on such issues, it behooves you to research the laws of the state you’re in to gain clarification of what you may and may not do in a public setting.

These activities may land you behind bars

Generally speaking, although the particulars of certain laws are often different from state to state, the following behaviors are usually considered unlawful in one form or another:

  • Disturbing the peace: Breaching public peace may include anything from exceeding normal levels of noise to being involved in a fight in a public place.
  • Public drunkenness: If police suspect you of being inebriated in public, they can arrest you and charge you with disorderly conduct. Some states go so far as to include laws prohibiting open alcohol containers in public. Depending on the factors of an individual situation, police may file criminal charges or simply issue a citation and fine.
  • Public loitering: If you seem to be standing around without a purpose in a particular area, you might be at risk for a disorderly conduct charge due to loitering. Police may also consider it loitering if you are randomly wandering with frequent pauses.


If you were involved in a situation where police believe you were being disruptive or endangering public safety, you may wind up behind bars with a strong possibility that a judge will set bail. It’s also not all that uncommon for problems to arise simply by getting into a heated disagreement with one or more parties and having someone call the police on you.

This does not necessarily make you guilty, but chances are you will have your work cut out for you to fight against charges police file against you in order to clear your name. Others in Florida have been successful in their attempts to avoid disorderly conduct convictions by relying on aggressive defense representation in court.