Florida Disorderly Conduct Laws
Overview of Florida Disorderly Conduct Laws
Florida uses the offense of disorderly conduct, also known as a "breach of the peace," to regulate conduct in public places. State laws prohibit public acts that corrupt public morals or violate standards of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of other people. Common scenarios leading to disorderly conduct charges include public arguments, public intoxication, and non-violent encounters with police.
Florida disorderly conduct laws also allow the prosecution of individuals who take part in public fights or brawls. The state refers to a public fight or brawl as an "affray." While the state generally treats disorderly conduct as a second degree misdemeanor, an affray can result in a first degree misdemeanor prosecution. In addition, a public fight or brawl qualifying as a "riot" according to state laws can result in a felony prosecution, which is a more serious proceeding than a misdemeanor charge.
Defenses to Disorderly Conduct Charges
- First Amendment right to freedom of speech
- Act did not occur in a public place
Penalties and Sentences
In general, Florida prosecutes a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct as a second degree misdemeanor. Under Florida law, the defendant may receive a sentence for a term of imprisonment lasting up to sixty days. The state may also impose a fine in an amount up to $500.
A public fight charged as a first degree misdemeanor or a riot charged as a third degree felony will likely result in a more severe penalty. A first degree misdemeanor can result in a term of imprisonment for up to one year.
Florida Disorderly Conduct Statute
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact a Florida cirminal attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.