Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly Conduct, Public Intoxication

The criminal misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct should be taken seriously. Yet many go forward and plead guilty without retaining a lawyer and without knowing all possible options. ABDO LAW handles disorderly conduct cases extensively in every district court located in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and St. Clair Counties. In fact, disorderly conduct is consistently one of the most prevalent misdemeanor cases that we see on just about every district court docket.

Disorderly conduct statute and ordinances cover a wide range of behavior

Disorderly conduct related crimes are found at MCL 750.167. Disorderly conduct may also be charged under local ordinance rather than state law. Most cities and townships (Royal Oak, Shelby Township, Clinton Township, Sterling Heights, St. Clair Shores, Romeo) have local ordinances that cover disorderly conduct. The offense of disorderly conduct covers various conduct which is deemed to frustrate public tranquility and peace. Most disorderly conduct crimes involve public intoxication (drunken disorderly) or creating a disturbance. In Michigan, disorderly conduct is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or $100 fine, for the following conduct:

  • A person who refuses or neglects to support his or her family
  • A common prostitute
  • A window peeper
  • A person who engages in an illegal occupation
  • A person who is intoxicated in a public place and who is either endangering the safety of another person or property, or is acting in a manner that causes a public disturbance
  • A person who is engaged in indecent conduct in a public place
  • A vagrant
  • A person found begging in a public place
  • A person found loitering in a house of ill fame or prostitution or lewdness is practiced, encouraged or allowed
  • A person who knowingly loiters in or about a place where an illegal occupation or business is conducted
  • A person who loiters in or about a police station, hospital, court building or other public building or place for the purpose of soliciting employment of legal services or the services of sureties
  • A person who is found jostling or roughly crowding people unnecessarily in a public place
  • A person who is intoxicated while hunting with a firearm or other weapon
Dismissals are possible without trial under certain circumstances

Hiring a lawyer should be your first priority if you or a family member is charged with any criminal misdemeanor or felony. Pleading guilty without a lawyer will result in a permanent criminal conviction along with other ramifications. There are other preferable legal options that can result in a dismissal. Dismissals may be obtained by getting the prosecutor and the judge to take the matter under advisement pursuant to HYTA (offenders ages 17 to 23) or by delaying sentence or disposition pursuant to MCL 771.1. While the matter is under advisement, the offender is placed on probation which is usually for a period of 1 year or less. At the end of the period of probation or advisement, the matter is dismissed, and in some cases forever sealed, provided that the offender complies with the terms of probation. All or none of the following terms of probation may be imposed:

  • Jail (rarely imposed; possible in extreme cases or if offender has a bad record)
  • Fines/court costs (always imposed)
  • Drug/alcohol testing (discretionary)
  • Counseling (discretionary)
  • Non-reporting or reporting to a probation officer (discretionary)
  • Community service (discretionary)
  • Restitution (if any party or entity claims financial losses)
  • Driver license sanctions are not applicable

It is also possible, although very infrequent, to get a disorderly conduct case substantially reduced to a traffic related civil infraction which takes it away from being a criminal offense.

Alcohol consumption and disorderly conduct

I would say that the vast majority of disorderly conduct cases that we handle involve misbehavior after the consumption of alcohol. To the extent that alcohol is involved, the court may require alcohol testing and a brief, or lengthy, counseling program as a condition of probation as I have mentioned. Even offenders that are not classified as problem drinkers may be required to attend a 1 day alcohol class to satisfy the court and get the charge dismissed.

For whatever reason, we are seeing more disorderly conduct cases than we have in the past. To some extent, I attribute this to the widespread use of Uber and Lyft cabs by those who wish to indulge in alcoholic beverages for special occasions or celebrations without having to later drive home after doing so. More time drinking and less time driving, bar hopping and later taking it out to the streets can mean trouble if a disturbance is brought to the attention of the police.

Contact ABDO LAW for personal and confidential advice from attorneys that have achieved AVVO’s highest rating of Superb and Martindale Hubbell’s Preeminent rating for legal ability and ethical standards by members of the bar and judiciary.

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