During the April 2015 riots in Baltimore rioters clashed with police, looted stores and pharmacies and set fire to cars and buildings. A mandatory curfew was put into place. As a result of the disturbances, several Baltimore City residents were arrested for disorderly conduct.
Maryland’s disorderly conduct law forbids several types of actions, including willfully obstructing the passage of people into a public place such as a building, parking lot, street, theater, school, etc. or on a public bus, airplane, train or school bus; willfully acting in a manner that disturbs the peace of the public; willfully disobeying a reasonable order from a police officer to prevent a disturbance of the peace; making an unreasonable loud noise to disturb the peace of another in a public place; entering another person’s premises to disturb the peace of people by making an unreasonably loud noise or acting in a disorderly manner.
Disorderly conduct can be a vague charge. The police often used it as a “catch-all” for public disturbances. For example, peaceful protesters are sometimes arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Other examples of Baltimore or Maryland disorderly conduct charges include bar fights, domestic violence incidents and public arguments.
The common trait is acting willfully in a way that disturbs the public peace and conduct that happens in a public place. Where the law talks about public peace, this means that there is a requirement that a third party is affected or could be affected.
Maryland’s disorderly conduct law is listed under “crimes against public health, conduct and sensibilities.”
Disorderly conduct is related to disturbing the peace but there is a difference between disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct. Maryland has a separate law for the charge of disturbing the peace.
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct in Maryland
Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor that can be punished by up to 60 days in jail and a fine up to $500.
Interfering with access to a medical facility can be punished by up to 90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
Interfering with a sport event is punishable by up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $250.
Keeping a disorderly house is punishable by a up to six months behinds bars and a fine of up to $300. In 2012, a Bowie, Maryland woman pleaded guilty to keeping a disorderly house and disturbing the peace of her neighbors and was sentenced to 60 days and one year of probation. Officers observed several intoxicated minors in the woman’s home and issued the citation for a disorderly house.
Repeated disorderly convictions, especially if they involve alcohol use, can lead to stiffer penalties.
A Baltimore disorderly conduct lawyer can help you with your disorderly conduct charge. An experienced Maryland disorderly conduct attorney can go over the facts of your case to help determine the best defense. The consultation is free. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas J. Maronick have experience handling criminal charges throughout Maryland. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.934.3007 or via our website for a free consultation.