Ohio Disorderly Conduct Laws

Disorderly Conduct in Ohio

Under Ohio law, disorderly conduct is considered an "offense against the public peace" and can arise out of many different situations and circumstances. You could be arrested and charged with this offense if you recklessly cause inconvenience, alarm, or annoyance by:

  • Fighting, threatening, or engaging in violent or turbulent behavior,
  • Making unreasonable noise or communicating abusive language,
  • Insulting or taunting another where it is likely to cause a violent response,
  • Preventing or hindering movement of others, or
  • Creating a physically offensive condition that present the risk of physical harm

Or, while intoxicated you:

  • Engage in conduct or create a condition that presents the risk of harm, or
  • Engage in offensive of inconveniencing behavior.

In some situations, disorderly conduct can be elevated to a 4th degree misdemeanor offense.

The following table highlights the main provisions of the Ohio's Disorderly Conduct laws. See Disturbing the Peace, Public Intoxication, and Public Safety Violations for more information.

Code Sections

Disorderly Conduct: Ohio Revised Code Section 2917.11

Disturbing a Lawful Meeting: Ohio Revised Code Section 2917.12

Misconduct Involving Public Transportation: Ohio Revised Code Section 2917.41

What is Prohibited

Disorderly Conduct: (see above explanation)

Aggravated Disorderly Conduct:

  • The offender persists in disorderly conduct after reasonable warning or request to desist;
  • The offense is committed in the vicinity of a school or in a school safety zone;
  • The offense is committed in the presence of any law enforcement officer, fire fighter, rescuer, medical person, emergency medical services person, or other authorized person who is engaged in the person’s duties at the scene of a fire, accident, disaster, riot, or emergency of any kind;
  • The offense is committed in the presence of any emergency facility person who is engaged in the person’s duties in an emergency facility.

Disturbing a Lawful Meeting, Gathering or Procession by:

  • Obstructing or interfering with the meeting;

or

  • Making an utterance, gesture, or display which outrages the sensibilities of the group.

Misconduct Involving Public Transportation by:

  • Failing to Pay Your Fare
  • Altering a ticket or token to pay your fare
  • Eating, drinking, smoking, or spitting
  • Playing music or sounds
  • Writing graffiti
  • Resisting or failing to obey an order from a transit police officer
Penalties

Disorderly Conduct and Some Misconduct Offenses Involving Public Transportation: Minor misdemeanor punishable by a $150 fine

Aggravated Disorderly Conduct, Disturbing a Public Meeting, or Misconduct Involving Public Transportation: Fourth-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a $250 fine

Because Ohio's criminal laws can sometimes get complicated, particularly with respect to free speech under the First Amendment, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.

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