Section 2917.11 of the Ohio Revised Code defines Disorderly Conduct as:
(A) No person shall recklessly cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to another by doing any of the following:
- Engaging in fighting, in threatening harm to persons or property, or in violent or turbulent behavior;
- Making unreasonable noise or an offensively coarse utterance, gesture, or display or communicating unwarranted and grossly abusive language to any person;
- Insulting, taunting, or challenging another, under circumstances in which that conduct is likely to provoke a violent response;
- Hindering or preventing the movement of persons on a public street, road, highway, or right-of-way, or to, from, within, or upon public or private property, so as to interfere with the rights of others, and by any act that serves no lawful and reasonable purpose of the offender;
- Creating a condition that is physically offensive to persons or that presents a risk of physical harm to persons or property, by any act that serves no lawful and reasonable purpose of the offender.
(B) No person, while voluntarily intoxicated, shall do either of the following:
- In a public place or in the presence of two or more persons, engage in conduct likely to be offensive or to cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to persons of ordinary sensibilities, which conduct the offender, if the offender were not intoxicated, should know is likely to have that effect on others;
- Engage in conduct or create a condition that presents a risk of physical harm to the offender or to the property of another.
A person is mistaken to think that as long as they don’t engage in outrageous behavior, they will not run afoul of Ohio’s many criminal laws. A charge of disorderly conduct can arise from any of the preceding activities set forth Section 2917.11 of the Ohio Revised Code.
You can be charged with disorderly conduct by simply causing inconvenience or annoyance to another person by engaging in certain activities. This means that you don’t have to actually harm someone or something in order to be found guilty of disorderly conduct.
Likewise, disorderly conduct can arise even if no one is harmed, annoyed, offended or threatened. Arguably, you could engage in disorderly conduct even if nobody is aware of your activity. This is because one element of disorderly conduct can be satisfied if you create a condition that presents a risk of physical harm to someone—even if they are unaware of it.
Disorderly conduct and alcohol
It should come as no surprise that being intoxicated is no defense to disorderly conduct, even if you (because of your intoxicated state) are unaware that the activity you are engaging in can be charged as disorderly conduct. This means that you should think twice before consuming alcohol to excess in Ohio, as being intoxicated can remove your inhibitions to engaging in certain acts without removing your culpability for doing so.
If you are found guilty of disorderly conduct under Section 2917.11 (A) or (B) of the Ohio Revised Code it is a minor misdemeanor punishable with a fine not to exceed $150 (there is no jail time) and you could be ordered to pay court costs.
Under Section 2917.11 (E)(3) of the Ohio Revised Code Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree if any of the following applies:
(a) The offender persists in disorderly conduct after reasonable warning or request to desist.
(b) The offense is committed in the vicinity of a school or in a school safety zone.
(c) The offense is committed in the presence of any law enforcement officer, firefighter, rescuer, medical person, emergency medical services person, or other authorized person who is engaged in the person’s duties at the scene of a fire, accident, disaster, riot, or emergency of any kind.
(d) The offense is committed in the presence of any emergency facility person who is engaged in the person’s duties in an emergency facility.
A misdemeanor of the fourth degree is punishable up to 30 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $250.
However, many Ohio cities have enacted local ordinances that make disorderly conduct a misdemeanor of the first degree which is punishable up to six months in jail and a fine not to exceed $1,000. Therefore, local jurisdictions will often charge you with a violation of disorderly conduct under their local ordinance.
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct in Ohio
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct in Ohio, an experienced criminal defense attorney will help determine whether you have any defenses to the charge(s) and thoroughly discuss your options. Should you decide to go to trial, a skilled defense attorney is an absolute necessity. For more information and a free consultation, please contact Jeff Hastings, experienced Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney.