Minnesota Disorderly Conduct

In Minnesota, a disorderly conduct charge is one of the most frequently charged crimes, due in part to it being viewed by many police officers and prosecutors as a "catch-all" crime - meaning, it's the crime charged when the officer or prosecutor don't know what else to charge. And for that reason, you should be aggressive in fighting these charges.

Disorderly Conduct Defined

There are two parts to the disorderly conduct definition: the type of conduct and the mental state of the actor. The requisite mental state requires the actor to do the act while knowing, or having reasonable grounds to know that the act will, or will tend to, alarm, anger, or disturb others, or provoke an assault or breach of peace. And the type of conduct includes:

  1. Brawling or fighting;
  2. Disturbing an assembly or meeting;
  3. Indecent conduct or exposure;
  4. Engaging in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous, or noisy conduct; or
  5. Engaging in offensive, obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to cause alarm, anger, or resentment in others.

As you may have figured out, this definition is sufficiently vague to capture a lot more acts than what is specified above, including public drunkenness and verbal altercations.

Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor level of offense, carrying a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Through the help of an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney, you should not see anywhere near that maximum penalty.

Why You Should Hire a Minnesota Disorderly Conduct Attorney

Because disorderly conduct charges often stem from an incident when an officer or prosecutor don't know what else to charge, the evidence may be weak and insufficient to convict you if you hire an attorney to aggressively defend the case.

Many times, the case will depend upon the testimony of lay witnesses - i.e. untrained witnesses when compared to officers who are trained in providing trial testimony. And those lay witnesses are often involved in the incident in question as well. A skillful cross examination can lead to reasonable doubt and a finding of not guilty.

One key defense that is not often associated with a disorderly conduct charge is self-defense. Depending on what type of conduct the state is alleging - i.e. fighting or brawling - self-defense is an underutilized defense that can make an already difficult case to prove even more challenging for the state.

Finally, a criminal defense attorney knows how to properly leverage these issues in order to obtain a favorable result via plea negotiations - including a negotiated resolution that may ultimately result in the dismissal of the charges.

You need to not only get a Minnesota disorderly conduct attorney involved, but get one that is unafraid to aggressively push your case. Many defense attorneys see a disorderly conduct charge as an easy fee - a case that can be easily negotiated to a decent result without much work or time. The criminal defense attorneys at North Star Criminal Defense do not share this mind-set. We develop your personalized legal strategy and will fight for you to get the best possible outcome - and that means pushing it to trial if we have to. Contact North Star Criminal Defense today.

Case Results

To see just how successful our approach is, here are some representative case results:

State v. S.N.

Charges: Domestic assault and disorderly conduct

Resolution: Stay of adjudication to the disorderly conduct, with an agreement to expunge the record when eligible. With the client in the midst of a divorce with the alleged victim, obtaining a non-conviction result was critical. Even after obtaining this great result, Mr. Gempeler argued successfully against probation's recommendations for domestic abuse programming. Instead, the judge credited the client for having completed anger management and did not impose any additional terms of probation. The client is set up to succeed and get back on her feet.

State v. L.C.

Charges: Two separate Disorderly Conduct cases

Resolution: Plead to one disorderly conduct and the other case is dismissed. Client received a stay of imposition on one case and had no jail or jail alternative (such as sentence to serve) imposed, despite being charged with two disorderly conducts in a matter of months for drunken misconduct in a residential community. The end game is the client has to comply with non-burdensome probationary conditions and pay the minimum fine. Considering what he was facing, the client was thrilled with this outcome and knowing we limited the possible negative collateral consequences that can stem from two convictions during a short period of time.

State v. M.C.

Charges: Disorderly Conduct and Trespassing

Resolution: Stay of adjudication to trespass charge and the disorderly conduct charge is dismissed. The stay period is for only 9 months and the terms of the agreement are light - small fine, no criminal convictions, and no contact with the complaining witness, which is a non-issue for this client. This outcome further ensures the client will be in a great position to have this record expunged in short order because the burden of proof on an expungement will flip to the State.