Pennsylvania Disorderly Conduct Laws
In Pennsylvania it is a crime to intentionally cause or recklessly create a risk of public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm by doing any of the following:
- Engaging in fighting, threatening or violent behavior;
- Making unreasonable noise;
- Using obscene language or gestures; or
- Creating a physically hazardous condition that serves no legitimate purpose.
Basically this statute prohibits any type of action that disturbs the peace of others in public. In turn, law enforcement can detain individuals for disruptive behavior. The charge may be applied to a variety of situations, such loud parties, bar fights, or even some peaceful protests. Sometimes this charge is paired with other offenses, such as an assault or battery charge during a fight, which can lead to more serious consequences for the alleged offender.
Penalties and Sentences
Generally, disorderly conduct is charged as a summary offense in Pennsylvania. This is a less serious charge than a felony or misdemeanor. It is not actually a criminal conviction. However, it will show up on criminal record history checks and for that reason, should be taken very seriously. A summary offense may receive a sentence of up to ninety days in jail and/or a fine of anywhere between $25 and $1,500 depending on the degree or severity of the summary offense.
Can Disorderly Conduct Be Charged as a Misdemeanor?
This crime may be charged as a third degree misdemeanor if the defendant intended to cause serious inconvenience or substantial harm, or if he/she persisted with the disorderly conduct after being asked to stop. A third degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania may receive a sentence of up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500.