Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication

Disorderly conduct is a charge that many individuals face as they are becoming mature and first interacting with alcohol. It is not the most serious charge in the state of California. Few individuals are sentenced to significant prison time for disorderly conduct or related public intoxication charges. However, individuals still need to know about disorderly conduct and its related penalties if they hope to launch a proper defense from these crimes.

Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct is a minor crime relating to disturbing the peace and generally disruptive public activity. This conduct can take a variety of different forms. One form of disorderly conduct involves fighting in public and causing a disturbance. Another is public drunkenness and interfering with others with disruptive public activity. A third is a disruption of a lawful assembly. This charge may include running into or yelling obscenities at a crowd of people that causes them distress. A drunk and disorderly conduct charge in the state of California involves proof that an individual was present and harming others. The most common evidence used is witness testimony. Individuals facing this charge could receive penalties for disorderly conduct ranging from a fine to a short term of imprisonment in the state of California. These charges are misdemeanors and individuals can often plead down for their drunk and disorderly conduct charge to avoid jail time.

Basic elements of a public intoxication charge

Public intoxication is one of the more common forms of disturbing the peace. The basic elements of a public intoxication charge involve an individual becoming visibly drunk and impeding other individuals by their drunkenness. It is clearly not illegal to simply be drunk in public. No police officer is giving breathalyzers to every individual on the street who is walking out of a bar. The public intoxication statute is meant to ban drunken behavior that can harm or impede others. A wide variety of activities and behaviors fit that standard. Individuals can be arrested for public drunkenness by vomiting in public or passing out and impeding a sidewalk. They can be arrested for accosting other individuals or public urination. Practically any behavior tied to drunkenness that harms other individuals can lead to an arrest and misdemeanor charges under California’s Penal Code Section 647.

What can you do about disorderly conduct?

The first step to fighting any disorderly conduct charge under California’s Penal Code Section 647, and answering the question of what can you do about disorderly conduct, is to secure release from jail. Individuals who are arrested for this charge are often booked and have to go through the bail bonds process. They are arranged and a judge sets bail. In some cases, the bail that is set for such a minor charge is minuscule and individuals can even be released on their own recognizance without having to post any bail money. For those who face substantial bail amounts, these individuals have to then post bail as soon as possible so that they can get out and properly plan their defense. If an individual does not have the money to post bail, they should contact a bail bondsman. Once they are out of jail, an individual charged with disorderly conduct needs to contact an attorney. The attorney will help them build their case and will know exactly what to tell a jury or prosecutor. Many attorneys have years of experience negotiating with prosecutors in order to secure a good plea deal. Read About Rico act


Any individual who is charged with disorderly conduct or faces public intoxication charges needs to treat the charges and penalties for disorderly conduct seriously. They should hire an attorney and begin carefully working on their defense. An individual who fights the charge seriously may end up having it dismissed entirely. But those who are sloppy or do not spend time and money to defend themselves may end up with a long-term stain on their criminal records.