Anytime two or more people gather together, there is a chance that someone else may consider it a nuisance or disturbance. If the police respond to a call regarding loud noise or some other kind of raucous, you could find yourself facing arrest.

Police often use a charge such as disorderly conduct when they can’t pinpoint a specific offense against the public peace and order. Officers may make arrests, not really understanding what went on or knowing who was responsible, and call it disorderly conduct.

How does Colorado law actually define disorderly conduct?

Under Colorado law, you could face charges for disorderly conduct if police accuse you of recklessly, intentionally or knowingly doing the following:

  • Fighting with someone in a public place
  • Making unreasonable or loud noise near someone’s house or in a public place in which you don’t have a right to be
  • Making an obviously offensive and coarse gesture, display or statement designed to cause an immediate raucous
  • Displaying a deadly weapon or another object fashioned or used to make someone else believe it’s a deadly weapon, but you aren’t a police officer
  • Representing to someone else that you carried a deadly weapon
  • Discharging a firearm in public, but you aren’t a police officer

In some cases, there may be justification for these actions. For instance, the prohibition against brandishing a weapon in public may not apply if you are hunting, are involved in a veteran’s funeral or are engaged in target practice legally. Depending on the circumstances, the charge could be a misdemeanor or a petty offense. If the court convicts you, the penalties could range from $500 to $1,000 in fines and up to six to 12 months in jail.

Don’t just dismiss the importance of the charges

Many people mistakenly believe that such a charge isn’t really that important, but they could end up finding out the hard way that isn’t true. Days or months in jail and hundreds of dollars in fines would definitely disrupt your personal and professional lives. Instead of brushing off a charge of disorderly conduct, it may be worthwhile to look into it and to consult with a legal advocate.

Since this represents a “catchall” charge for many police officers, it may be possible that you aren’t guilty of anything, and a judge may dismiss or reduce the charges.