Maryland Disorderly Conduct Laws

States try to protect their residents from the unreasonable behavior of others by creating and enforcing disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace laws prohibiting things like excessively loud noise, fighting, or preventing others from traveling in public areas. These laws often go hand-in-hand with public intoxication laws. While Maryland has a disorderly conduct law, described below, it also prohibits being drunk in public and causing a disturbance or endangering others or property due to being intoxicated.

Disorderly Conduct Related Laws

In Maryland, it’s illegal to keep a disorderly house, meaning making loud noises or disruptive behavior. The same disorderly conduct behavior is also prohibited at sporting events. The interference with a commercial athletic event only applies to events that have an admission charge and keeps players and spectators safe by prohibiting throwing objects that could cause injury onto the field and stadium seats.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Maryland’s disorderly conduct law.

Code Sections

Maryland Criminal Law Code, Section 10-201: Disturbing the Public Peace and Disorderly Conduct

What Is Prohibited?

Maryland prohibits four types of disorderly conduct:

  • Willfully obstruct the free passage of people into a public place (building, parking lot, street, elevator, hotel, amusement park, theater, school, etc) or on a public bus, airplane, train, or school bus
    • Note that preventing others from entering or exiting a medical facility by detaining the person or obstructing his or her passage is also illegal under a separate statute, this would cover, for example, abortion protesters at a women’s health clinic.
  • Willfully acting in a manner that disturbs the peace of the public
  • Willfully failing to obey a reasonable order form a police officer to prevent a disturbance of the peace
  • Making an unreasonably loud noise to disturb the peace of another in a public place or mode of transportation or in his or her home or land
  • Entering another person’s premises to disturb the peace of people there by making an unreasonably loud noise or acting in a disorderly manner
  • In Worcester County, you can’t have a bonfire between 1 am and 5 am.

Penalties

Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor that can be punished by up to 60 days in jail and fined up to $500.

In comparison, interfering with access to a medical facility can be punished by up to 90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Interestingly, interfering with a sporting event, is punishable by three months in jail (which presumably could be longer than 90 days), but a smaller fine of up to only $250. Finally, a person convicted of public intoxication could get up to 90 days in jail, but only up to a $100 fine.

Note: State laws change all the time. It’s a good idea to confirm the currency of the laws you are looking up or speak with an experienced Maryland crimingal defense attorney.

Get a Free Legal Evaluation of Your Maryland Disorderly Conduct Charges

Disorderly conduct can be kind of a vague charge, often used as a "catch-all" for certain types of public disturbances. For instance, sometimes peaceful protestors are improperly arrested and charged with the disorderly conduct. Regardless of your situation, you may want to speak with an attorney about how best to defend against the charges. Have a Maryland attorney evaluate your charges at no cost.

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