Disorderly Conduct Laws

A broad offense, there is a good chance you didn’t even know you were breaking the law when you were charged with disorderly conduct. Under Ohio law, it is considered an “offense against the public peace”, law enforcement uses this law to keep peace in the community.


Offenses categorized under “offenses against the public peace” in Ohio are broad and far reaching. Including disorderly conduct, failure to disperse, and inciting, these are the laws that keep neighborhoods quiet and people under control. However, they are not always applied correctly.

If you’re actions were misinterpreted by police we may be able to help. We have handled many cases like yours and want to be the attorney that you choose to represent you.

Even if you realize that you brought the charges on yourself and are ready to take responsibility for your actions, we can help. We can help ensure that your rights are protected on your journey through the Ohio criminal justice system. We can also increase your chances of serving probation in lieu of jail time if a conviction is unavoidable.

Ohio Disorderly Conduct – Laws & Penalties

There are many circumstances that may have led you to a disorderly conduct charge. And you are more likely to be charged if you particularly annoy the police or they don’t like you, given that the criteria are often very subjective.

If you were believed to have done any of the following you may be facing this charge:

Recklessly cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm by:

  • Fighting, threatening, or engaging in violent or turbulent behavior,
  • Making unreasonable noise or communicating abusive language,
  • Insulting or taunting another where it is likely to cause a violent response,
  • Preventing or hindering movement of others, or
  • Creating a physically offensive condition that present the risk of physical harm

Or, while intoxicated:

  • Engage is offensive or inconveniencing behavior, or
  • Engage in conduct or create a condition that presents the risk of harm.

In most circumstances, disorderly conduct is considered a minor misdemeanor punishable by a $150 fine. However, there are situations where the charge can be elevated to a 4th degree misdemeanor with a potential sentence of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine. The best way to know what type of penalty you may be facing is to consult with an attorney.

Ref: ORC 2917.11

Ohio Inciting to Violence Laws

It is against the law in Ohio to engage in behavior that urges another to commit a violent offense if there is a present danger that the violence will be committed or if the conduct results in any violent offense.

If the violent act that is being urged is a misdemeanor, then the “inciting” charge will be a 1st degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 in fines. If, however, the act being incited is a felony, the inciting charge will be a 3rd degree felony which carries a potential 1-5 year prison term and $10,000 in fines.

Ref: ORC 2917.01

Ohio Failure to Disperse Laws

One of the tools that law enforcement uses in an effort to keep the peace is to disperse crowds or groups that are gathered without lawful purpose. If the crowd is gathered and are simultaneously committing disorderly conduct, they must disperse at the direction of law enforcement.

Failure to disperse in this situation is considered a minor misdemeanor punishable by a $150 fine.

However, if you are accused of not dispersing and the failure is likely to cause harm to someone or is committed at the scene of a fire or other emergency, the charge could be elevated to a 4th degree misdemeanor. This charge is then punishable by up to 30 days in jail and fines up to $250.

Ref: ORC 2917.04

Free Consultation on Ohio Criminal Defense Laws

These charges, which are on the books to enforce order, can be easily misused and misapplied to unfairly suppress lawful speech and behavior.

Facing any criminal charges is stressful. Entrusting your case with us can reduce some of that fear and uncertainty. Call for a consultation today, and find out what an experienced, tough, Ohio criminal defense attorney can do for you.

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