Disorderly Conduct

What is Disorderly Conduct?

According to RCW §9A.84.030, a person commits the offense of disorderly conduct if he:

  1. Uses abusive language and thereby intentionally creates a risk of assault;
  2. Intentionally disrupts any lawful assembly or meeting of persons without lawful authority;
  3. Intentionally obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic without lawful authority; or
  4. Both:
    1. Intentionally engages in fighting or makes unreasonable noise, within five hundred feet of:
      1. The site of a funeral or burial;
      2. A funeral home during the viewing of a deceased person;
      3. A funeral procession, if he knows it is occurring; or
      4. A building in which a funeral or memorial service is being conducted; AND
    2. Knows that the activity adversely affects the event.
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct in Washington:

Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor, which RCW §9A.20.021 defines as punishable by up to ninety days in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both.

Defending a Disorderly Conduct Charge:

There are multiple ways to defend a charge of disorderly conduct. One way is to challenge one of the elements required for the offense. For example, each of the four ways to commit the offense requires that the act is committed with intent. Therefore, you might argue that you did not intentionally create a risk of assault, that you did not intentionally disrupt an assembly, that you did not intentionally obstruct traffic, or that you did not intentionally fight or make unreasonable noise within five hundred feet of a funeral gathering. In the case of a funeral disruption, you might also challenge the facts by arguing that your disruption was not within five hundred feet of the funeral gathering. Your defense strategy is crucial, and the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney is strongly advised.