1In Tennessee, there are laws that make it illegal to disturb the peace of others, also known as disorderly conduct. If you create a fight on the street for absolutely no reason or curse and carry on at a neighbor in the middle of the night, you could likely be charged with this crime. Public intoxication sometimes goes hand in hand with disorderly conduct due to the fact that many committing the crime may be under the influence at the time. Tennessee strictly prohibits all related laws like disorderly conduct, disorderly conduct at funerals, public intoxication, obstructing a highway or other passageway, and civil rights intimidation. If you commit any of these crimes, you could face anything from a Class C Misdemeanor to a Class D Felony.

What are the laws surrounding disorderly conduct?
Disorderly conduct is also known as disturbing the peace, and involves some type of offensive public activity. The laws surrounding disorderly conduct allow police officers to arrest people when their public behavior is disruptive or offensive. If somebody’s actions are interfering with other people’s enjoyment of public spaces, then they are disobeying the law. Often times, the offender is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, this is not always the reason. No, sometimes the disruptive conduct (loitering, fighting, being unreasonably noisy, and disturbing the peace) has nothing to do with alcohol or drug use. Every state works differently on how they decide to punish against these crimes.

What are the laws surrounding public intoxication?
Most states have laws that make it a crime to be intoxicated in public from alcohol or drug use. Some states will require that there is some kind of accompanying disruptive public behavior, such as disorderly conduct, which is why the two so often go together hand in hand. Law enforcement officers, in many states, have to use discretion to detain people who are intoxicated and acting inappropriately and let them sleep it off in a local jail cell. Public intoxication laws are not only in place to protect those who venture out into the public, but also those who are intoxicated from doing anything to hurt themselves when under the influence.

What are typical punishments for disorderly conduct and public intoxication?
They are, for the most part, charged as misdemeanors. These are punishable by fines, alcohol education programs, community service, probation, and jail sentencing. These jail sentences are usually less than one year of incarceration, although they can almost always be avoided completely.

What are some defenses to these crimes?
It really depends on the circumstances. Maybe you were charged with public intoxication because you had a medical emergency and just appeared to be under the influence but can prove that you actually were not. If this is the case, then you will have a defense that no controlled substance was involved. Maybe you were charged with disorderly conduct at a funeral but were actually very far away from the funeral at the time of the incident where you were causing a ruckus. If this is the case, then you will have distance as a defense. There could be defenses to mostly any crime, but it is a discretion matter that comes into play.

If you have been charged with a disorderly conduct or public intoxication crime and you need an attorney on your side to protect your rights, you can call the Blair Law Firm today to get started. There may be relevant defenses in your case and, if that is so, you may want to know how you can use them in court. We can help you with our experience with these laws. Call today for more information!