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Ocean City summer crowds could see disorderly conduct charges

| May 19, 2020 | criminal defense |

Ocean City Beach

With the recent loosening of the restrictions put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic and with summer fast approaching, Marylanders are flocking to the beaches and entertainment venues of Ocean City, Maryland. When people congregate in groups, whether large or small, disorderly conduct can follow.

Disorderly conduct is a common charge in a coastal town like Ocean City, Maryland which sees an influx of tourists in the summer seeking sun and fun and the specifics of the actual charge can be a bit vague. Maryland law enforcement often uses it as a “catch-all” for public disturbances. Common examples of Ocean City, Maryland disorderly conduct charges include bar fights, public arguments and public intoxication.

In general, an Ocean City, Maryland disorderly conduct charge is based on acting willfully in a way that disturbs the public peace and involves conduct that happens in a public place.

An example of a disorderly charge happened in December 2012 when a 16-year-old Berlin girl was charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly being involved in a fight at a McDonald’s on Route 50 near Stephen Decatur High School. Maryland State Police and deputies with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office went to the McDonald’s in response to a call about a large fight in progress. Officers saw several people fighting and dispersed a large crowd of disorderly people, according to a news report.

Although disorderly conduct is similar to disturbing the peace, there is a difference between disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct. Maryland has a separate law for the charge of disturbing the peace.

Maryland’s disorderly conduct law forbids several types of actions, including:

  • Intentionally 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;
  • Intentionally 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 the premises of another person for the purpose of disturbing the peace by making an unreasonably loud noise or acting in a disorderly manner.

Penalties for Disorderly Conduct

The disorderly conduct law is listed under “crimes against public health, conduct and sensibilities.”

Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor that can be punished by up to 60 days in jail and a fine up to $500.

A conviction of public intoxication can result in up to 90 days in jail and a fine up to $100.

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 sports event is punishable by up to three months in jail and/or 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. A Bowie, Maryland woman pleaded guilty in 2012 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 those that involve alcohol use, can lead to stiffer penalties.

An Ocean City disorderly conduct lawyer can help you with your disorderly conduct charge. An experienced Ocean City disorderly conduct attorney can go over the facts of your case to determine the best defense. The consultation is free. The Law Office of Thomas J. Maronick is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your Ocean City and surrounding areas, Baltimore city and Baltimore county legal needs. We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 410-885-1775, the law office at 410-885-1775 or via our website for a free consultation.

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