Imagine you're shopping at your local grocery store in Arvada. You've had a rough day; work was overwhelming, your kids are hyper, and your husband's car is in the shop. You picked up the kids from You're grocery shopping and at the end of your rope. A stranger hears your frustration, and you are arrested. Is this justice?school, your husband from work, and have to get your shopping done before you can finally head home. You grab a loaf of bread from the shelf, and your husband grabs a frozen pizza and adds it to the cart – right on top of the bread. It's being smashed. You lose your temper and swear at him quietly, before composing yourself. A few minutes later, a police officer strides up to and says: “You're under arrest for Disorderly Conduct.” Unfortunately, this is a reality for a woman in South Carolina. Danielle Wolf was arrested for swearing in public. In Denver, Adams, and Jefferson County, this is called Disorderly Conduct. Let's take a closer look at this overly broad crime so that we can understand it better.
Arrested for Disorderly Conduct?Get Help Now!
What is Disorderly Conduct in Colorado?
If you have been arrested for Disorderly Conduct, we're not surprised. This crime is a favorite charge of police in Littleton, Aurora, and sheriff's deputies all throughout the Denver area. Our simplified definition of Disorderly Conduct is (If you want to read the full definition of Disorderly Conduct – C.R.S. 18-9-106, read our Simplified Law blog):“Aperson will be charged with Disorderly Conduct if they do any of the following in a public place: Make an unreasonable amount of noise, fight, display or discharge a weapon, or make offensive gestures or displays.”
As you can see, Disorderly Conduct charges encompass many different situations. An “offensive gesture,” includes swearing. In Colorado, there is an added element needed in order for police to arrest you for swearing in public. The swearing must have occurred with the intent to “incite an immediate breach of the peace.” Obviously, this is a vague definition. Police officers often twist it to fit any given situation in Douglas, Arapahoe, and El Paso County.
Disorderly Conduct Charges Often Unconstitutional
Disorderly Conduct charges are often unconstitutional. Let's take a look at the First Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
A law which makes using certain words illegal if law enforcement believes it to be a danger to the “peace” of a society is unjust. In the case of Danielle Wolf, a nearby shopper heard her swear in front of her children. It reminded her of her abusive past, so she alerted the store manager, who called the police. This is a shocking misuse of power. Arresting a woman in front of her family for using a faux-pas word (she used the F-word) is overkill. In fact, in Danielle Wolf's situation, the woman who turned her in made a public apology, stating that she didn't want her to be arrested. The police often get so caught up in the situation that they forget common sense.
Arrested for Disorderly Conduct? Call an Attorney
If you have been ticketed or arrested for Disorderly Conduct in Highlands Ranch, Broomfield, or Englewood, don't hesitate to contact an informed criminal defense lawyer who can stand by your side in court. Our lawyers are experienced in using many defenses to this charge. You need a confident attorney by your side who has a thorough understanding of how the criminal justice system works. We know Disorderly Conduct charges are often overcharged. Don't plead guilty to avoid jail time – work with a competent lawyer who has a passion for getting your case dismissed.
Get Help Now
If you or a loved one has been arrested for Disorderly Conduct, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the O'Malley Law Office for a free consultation at 303-830-0880. Together, we will protect your future.Request a Free Consultation