Georgia Disorderly Conduct Laws

Overview of Georgia's Disorderly Conduct Laws

Laws against disorderly conduct, such as disturbing the peace, exist to prevent people from disturbing the peace of others while they are tending to their daily business and personal affairs. Some of the most common acts include inciting a riot, disturbing the peace, loitering in certain areas fighting / physical altercations, obstructing traffic use of extremely obscene or abusive language loud or unreasonable noise. Virtually any socially offensive or disruptive conduct may be prosecuted as disorderly conduct.

Drunk In Public Offense

Although closely related, public intoxication (public drunkenness) is a separate offense under Georgia criminal law. Public drunkenness can happen when you are intoxicated in any public place or private home, which is not your own, and act in a way that is boisterous and disruptive, using language considered to be vulgar, profane, and loud or appearing in an indecent condition (such as nude or partially nude) or performing an indecent act (such as public urination). Your behavior and demeanor will be a key component of the charges.

This crime is misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and 1 year in prison.

The following table highlights the main provisions of the Georgia's disorderly conduct laws. See Disturbing the Peace and Public Safety Violations for more information.

Code Section(s)

Georgia Code Section 16-11-39

What is Prohibited

A person who commits disorderly conduct either:

  • acts in a violent manner toward another person causing that person in reasonable fear of safety;
  • acts in a violent manner toward another person and puts that person's property in danger of being damaged or destroyed;
  • without provocation uses abusive or inciting words to another person intended to provoke violence or escalate a situation (also called "fighting words"); or
  • without provocation uses obscene or vulgar language to a child under 14 years of age.
Penalties

Violation of Georgia's disorderly conduct statute is a misdemeanor, which can result in up to one year in jail, a maximum fine of $1000, possible probation, community service, and/or an alcohol awareness class.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Georgia Disorderly Conduct Laws: Related Resources

If you'd like more information about laws related to this topic, you can click on the links below:

Talk to a Lawyer about Your Disorderly Conduct Case

While disorderly conduct is not one of the more serious charges you could ever face, it shouldn't be taken lightly. You could face time in jail, fines, and a blemish on your criminal record. If you're applying for a job or want to enroll in college, they may not want to accept you if you have a criminal conviction on your record. So, if you've been charged under Georgia's disorderly conduct laws, your best option is to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Georgia to craft a solid defense.

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