Disorderly conduct is a general term for a wide range of criminal activities. But these activities usually involve behavior that creates a disturbance or done in a public place. Yet in the State of Washington, a person may be charged with disorderly conduct for numerous reasons.

What is the Disorderly Conduct Law in Washington State?

Disorderly conduct is defined as:

  • Disrupting a lawful meeting or assembly
  • Using abusive language that places someone at risk of an assault
  • Unlawfully and intentionally obstructing traffic
  • Making unreasonable noise or fighting within 500 feet of a burial, wake, funeral, or memorial service

Is it Disorderly Conduct in Washington State If I’m Accused of Failing to Disperse?

No, it would not be disorderly conduct. In Washington, failing to disperse is a different crime. It means a defendant congregated with more than three people in a way that creates a risk of injury or damage to property. Failing to disperse becomes a criminal act when a police officer tells the group to disperse and they don’t. The officer can charge them with failing to disperse, but not disorderly conduct.

Is Obstruction of a Public Servant the Same as Disorderly Conduct?

No. Obstruction of a public servant is defined as interfering with the work of a public servant such as an EMT, police officer, or emergency responder.

What are the Penalties for a Disorderly Conduct Conviction?

Disorderly conduct is charged as a misdemeanor. A person convicted of disorderly conduct may be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Should I Contact a Defense Lawyer to Help Me with My Criminal Charge?

Yes. A misdemeanor conviction can have serious and long-term consequences. It’s important to contact a washington criminal lawyer immediately to discuss possible defenses and how to fight the charge.