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Disorderly Conduct in Wisconsin

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Not all criminal charges are “big” offenses like murder and assault. Many less intense offenses, such as public intoxication, shoplifting, and obscenity are also criminal offenses that can result in fines and jail time for convicted individuals. If you are facing a criminal charge, no matter how seemingly benign or severe, it is important to your future liberty that you work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight the charge. A successful defense strategy can have your charge downgraded or even dismissed completely, allowing you to continue with your life without a conviction on your record.

Criminal disorderly conduct is a criminal charge that can easily have its severity overlooked. It encompasses a variety of actions conducted in public or private spaces that are boisterous, profane, abusive, violent, indecent, unreasonably loud, abusive, or otherwise disturb the peace.

Examples of Disorderly Conduct in Wisconsin

The definition of disorderly conduct in Wisconsin’s law is fairly broad. Behaviors that may be charged as criminal disorderly conduct include:

  • Consuming alcohol on common carriers, such as buses and trains;
  • Shouting obscene words and language in public;
  • Screaming and otherwise behaving in a violent or threatening manner;
  • Using or displaying a firearm in a threatening way;
  • Hitting, kicking, punching, or otherwise physically harming another individual;
  • Defying a police officer’s order to move from where he or she currently stands;
  • Going into public nude or taking off one’s clothing in a public space in an effort to incite a disturbance;
  • Loitering;
  • Bomb scares;
  • Vagrancy, which can include soliciting prostitutes, begging, working as an unlicensed fortune teller on the street, or offering prostitution services in public;
  • Giving alcohol to others in an effort to incite a disturbance;
  • Unlawful assembly, which includes any gathering of three or more people engage in violent or disruptive behavior. This can include a fight, a protest involving vulgar and abusive language and signage, and assemblies where language is unnecessary loud or abusive; and
  • Disrupting funeral or memorial services.

Disorderly Conduct Charges in Wisconsin

Under most circumstances, criminal disorderly conduct is a Class B misdemeanor in Wisconsin. When an individual is charged with this or another criminal charge, he or she must appear in court as specified on the original citation for the alleged offense written by a police officer. In Appleton, individuals charged with criminal disorderly conduct have their cases handled at the Outagamie County Circuit Court.

An individual found guilty of a Class B disorderly conduct charge faces the following penalties:

  • Up to 90 days in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $1,000.

Disorderly conduct can also be charged as a Class A or Class C misdemeanor, depending on the alleged acts. Damaging the United States flag in an effort to incite violence or dissent is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to nine months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Vagrancy and alcohol-related public disturbances, such as consuming alcohol in a common carrier or giving others alcohol as encouragement to disturb the peace, are charged as Class C misdemeanors. These are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Disorderly Conduct and Domestic Violence

When disorderly conduct occurs in the home, the alleged offender may be charged with domestic violence. Domestic violence is defined as any act of violence committed against an individual who resides in the offender’s household or an individual with whom the offender has a child or a dating relationship.

When an incident of domestic violence is reported, the alleged abuser is generally taken to jail and put under a 72-hour no contact order with the other party. The defendant may post bail the same day he or she is arrested. Domestic violence can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. How an offense is charged determines the penalties a defendant faces, which could be up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $50,000 if the offense is charged as a Class E felony.

Work with an Experienced Appleton Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with criminal disorderly conduct, defend your case by working with an experienced Appleton personal injury lawyer and criminal defense lawyer. Contact our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office, during which we can answer the questions you have and work with you to start developing your legal defense strategy. Do not wait to get started – give us a call today.

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