Disorderly Conduct – C.R.S. 18-9-106

Disorderly Conduct is a very common charge in Colorado but the name “Disorderly Conduct” is a broad term and, as such, requires a bit of explanation.

The Disorderly Conduct statute prohibits many different types of actions and behaviors.

Under C.R.S. 18-9-106(1)(a), a person will be charged with Disorderly Conduct if they “make a coarse and obviously offensive utterance, gesture, or display in a public place and the utterance, gesture, or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace”

Under section (1)(c) of the statute, a person is prohibited from making “unreasonable noise in a public place or near a private residence that he has no right to occupy.”

According to section (1)(d), a person may not “fight with another in a public place except in an amateur or professional contest of athletic skill.”

Section (1)(e) prohibits someone, who is not a peace officer, from “discharging a firearm in a public place except when engaged in lawful target practice or hunting or the ritual discharge of blank ammunition cartridges as an attendee at a funeral for a deceased person who was a veteran of the armed forces of the United States.

The final section addressing the specific conduct, section 1(f), prohibits someone, who is not a peace officer, from “displaying a deadly weapon, displaying any article used or fashioned in a manner to cause a person to reasonably believe that the article is a deadly weapon, or representing verbally or otherwise that he or she is armed with a deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.” There is quite a bit to digest in this section as this section actually prohibits three types of actions – displaying a weapon, displaying something that looks like a weapon, or holding yourself out as someone who has a weapon while in public and in an effort to cause alarm. To imagine how a person could be charged under this section, think of the classic movie scene, where an unarmed bank robber holds his hand in his pocket to act as if he has a gun.

Not only does the statute touch on the types of prohibited behavior, but important to the defense of such a case is the fact that the statute also talks about the mindset or “mens rea” that a person needed to have at the time they allegedly committed the offense. That’s to say, in order to be convicted of this offense at trial, a prosecutor would need to prove that you committed one of the above acts, or exhibited one of the above prohibited behaviors, and did so “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly.” ‘Intentionally’ and ‘knowingly’ are relatively similar in that the results were either the person’s desired outcome or that his actions were practically certain to cause the results. ‘Recklessly’ is when a person perceives a substantial risk and ignores it, and in doing so, causes harm of some sort.

Depending on the type of conduct and the section with which you are charged, Disorderly Conduct can be charged anywhere of in range of a petty offense all the way up to a Class 2 misdemeanor. That means that your charge may contemplate some jail time.

Typically, Disorderly Conduct is charged in county court but this charge, or a similar charge, can also arise in the municipal court setting. The attorneys at the Law Office of Jacob E. Martinez practice in Municipal Courts along the front-range and throughout the state.

When facing a Disorderly Conduct charge, it is imperative that you speak to and work with an experienced Colorado attorney who understands the way that these cases are handled and the different defenses that may be applicable. As can be determined from the information above, there are many subtleties and complex issues involved when defending against this type of charge. Contact the attorneys at the Law Office of Jacob E. Martinez via our website or at (720)-246-6700 in order to set up a free consultation for your case.