Disorderly conduct can have many different definitions depending on the jurisdiction where a charge is received. The definition varies from state to state as well as from local government to local government within those states. More or less, it is a catch-all term for disruptive conduct that constitutes a minor offense in most circumstances. Alabama disorderly conduct is covered by state law §13A-11-7 and qualifies as a Class C misdemeanor. Alabama harassment charges, covered by state law §13A-11-8, is a slightly different charge but con occur simultaneously with a disorderly conduct charge depending on the circumstances on an incident leading to such charges. Harassment refers to conduct directed toward a specific person and also qualifies as a Class C misdemeanor.
According to state law, Alabama disorderly conduct occurs when a person has the intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or acts in a reckless manner that creates a risk of causing those things. Actions that qualify as Alabama disorderly conduct include the following:
- Engaging in fighting or in violent tumultuous or threatening behavior;
- Making unreasonable noise;
- Using abusive or obscene language or making an obscene gesture in a public place;
- Obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic, or obstructing a transportation facility; and/or
- Congregating with other persons in a public place and refusing to comply with a lawful order form law enforcement to disperse.
As you can see, there are a number of broad actions that could fit into the umbrella of disorderly conduct. A common cause for disorderly conduct charges is intoxication that leads to one or more of the behaviors listed above, but being drunk is not a prerequisite to receiving a charge for behavior law enforcement officials consider as fitting into the above categories.
According to state law, Alabama harassment occurs when a person has the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person. Behavior that may qualify can include:
- Striking, shoving, kicking, or otherwise touching a person or subjecting a person to physical contact; and/or
- Directing abusive or obscene language or making an obscene gesture towards another person.
Alabamans also have to potential to be charged with Alabama harassing communications if they have the intent to harass or alarm another person and commits any of the following actions:
- Communicating with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, telegraph, mail, or any form of written or electronic communication, in a manner likely to harass or cause harm; and/or
- Makes a telephone call, whether or not a conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate communication.
While the legal definition for harassment may seem somewhat old-fashioned, it is increasingly important to remember the consequences of engaging in such behavior in our increasingly digital age. As this law covers any form of electronic communication, it can be used to apply to online harassment through various social media platforms even when such activities may seem harmless.
Legal Assistance with Alabama Misdemeanor Charges
While misdemeanor charges are not as serious as felonies, they can have stiffer penalties for conviction depending on the circumstances in which they occurred. Alabama Class C misdemeanors – like disorderly conduct and harassment – can have penalties that include a fine of up to $500, up to three months in jail, or both. Even misdemeanor charges can have severe consequences on your life and your record, especially if you have other criminal convictions. When facing and Alabama misdemeanor, it is important to enlist the assistance of an experienced Birmingham criminal defense attorney that understands the Alabama criminal defense system and can work with clients to create an Alabama criminal defense that is appropriate for each individual.