Southaven, MS Disorderly Conduct/Failure to Obey Attorney
The state of Mississippi has a number of laws which prohibit disturbing the peace, failure to obey a police officer and disorderly conduct in general. What the acts associated with these laws have in common, is that the conduct in question upset or angered others, or disturbed public peace and tranquility in some way. In the 1960’s the laws for disorderly conduct or failure to obey were used to target civil rights activists. Today, in the state of Mississippi, a person may commit the crime of disorderly conduct or failure to obey by doing any of the following:
- Refusing a police officer’s order to move
- Refusing a police officer’s order to move a vehicle
- Refusing a police officer’s order to leave the area
- Refusing a police officer’s order to refrain from sitting or lying down in a specific place
- Refusing a police officer’s order to get out of the way of other people or traffic
- Refusing a police officer’s order to unchain or unbind your body from an object or another person
- Refusing a police officer’s order to get into a police vehicle
- Encouraging or helping another person refuse to comply with an officer’s order
If you have disregarded the safety of others through your refusal to comply with a police officer’s order and, as a result, another person is injured or killed, you may be punished more severely, if found guilty.
It is also a crime, under Mississippi law to prevent or interfere with the normal business proceedings of a shop, restaurant, hotel, theater or other public business. As an example, if you are staging a protest in front of a restaurant, and, as a result of that protest you are keeping customers from entering the establishment, and/or if you refuse to leave once a police officer asks you to do so, you could be charged with disorderly conduct.
Disorderly Conduct in the Form of Disturbing the Peace
If you deliberately engage in noisy, offensive, violent, or insulting conduct or language, or if you engage in any type of conduct which will surely disturb others, then you have engaged in disturbing the peace and possibly disorderly conduct. If you become publicly intoxicated and used obscene language or became loud or obnoxious, then you could be charged with disorderly conduct. Mississippi law additionally prohibits you from:
- Disturbing any type of religious service
- Interrupting a funeral or memorial service
- Disrupting or protesting a funeral or memorial service
- Obstructing a public highway or sidewalk
- Falsely reporting a crime or a fire
Unfortunately, in far too many cases, you may be charged with disorderly conduct simply because the police officer is fed-up or annoyed with you, has no other appropriate charge to use against you, or feels you disrespected him or her or was not being as cooperative as you should have been.
Penalties for Southaven, MS Disorderly Conduct or Failure to Obey a Police Officer
If you are convicted of failing or refusing to comply with an order from a police officer (a misdemeanor), you could face up to six months in jail, and be forced to pay a fine as large as $500. If your refusal to comply with a police officer resulted in an injury or death, the crime becomes a felony, and you could face up to five years in prison, and a fine as large as $20,000. Falsely reporting a fire or crime could result in up to a year in jail, and a fine, while the remaining disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace offenses have penalties of up to six months in jail and fines as large as $500.
Possible Defenses to Southaven, MS Disorderly Conduct/Failure to Obey Charges
While your particular defense will depend on the circumstances surrounding your charges, some of the more common defenses for these charges include:
- Justification or self-defense. You were protecting a defenseless person who was being attacked, or your conduct was a reaction to being threatened or provoked.
- Affirmative defense. This means a specific fact prevents the prosecution from pursuing the charge against you. Perhaps the charges were brought in the wrong jurisdiction, were not brought within the allowed time limit, or you did not intend to cause a disruption.
- Reasonable doubt. If there were credible eyewitnesses who tell a different story than the police officer, then the prosecutor may not be able to prove you committed the crime of disorderly conduct beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Your Constitutional rights were violated. You have a right to free speech, so long as no abusive language was used, as well as the right to assemble peacefully, and the freedom to practice your chosen faith or religion.
How Stroud, Flechas & Dalton Can Help
If you have been charged with Southaven, MS disorderly conduct or failure to obey a police officer, you should contact Stroud, Flechas & Dalton as soon as possible. A criminal conviction, even if it is for a misdemeanor crime, can have long-term, serious consequences. An experienced criminal defense attorney from Stroud, Flechas & Dalton could be the only thing standing between you and possible jail time and fines. We will defend your charges aggressively, working toward the best possible resolution on your behalf. Call Stroud, Flechas & Dalton today at (662) 536-5656.
Photo credit: A Gude