Missouri Disorderly Conduct Laws

Missouri has an entire section for a variety of offenses that constitute disorderly conduct. This chapter - called "Offenses Against Public Order" - covers Missouri public safety violations including the typical disturbing the peace and drinking in public laws as well as more specific laws on other public safety issues such as rioting, refusing to disperse after an unlawful assembly or riot, and making terrorist threats.

The most serious offense under this chapter is causing catastrophe, which is defined as knowingly causing a catastrophe by explosion, fire, collapse of a building, or release of a dangerous and difficult to confine substance. For purposes of the statute, catastrophe is defined as causing death or serious physical injury to ten or more people, or causing substantial damage to five or more buildings or to a vital public facility. Causing a catastrophe is a class A felony, which is punishable by imprisonment for ten to 30 years, and in some cases life in prison.

Missouri Disorderly Conduct Laws at a Glance

Statutory language is rarely simple and straightforward, which is why reading a summary of the law can provide a quick answer and can aid you in better understanding the law. The follow table provides an overview of disorderly conduct laws in Missouri as well as links to applicable statutes.

Statute(s)

Missouri Revised Statutes, Title XXXVIII. Chapter 574. Section 574.005, et seq. (Offenses Against Public Order)

Defining the Offense(s)

Section 574.010 (Peace Disturbance): Unreasonably and knowingly disturbing or alarming another person by making loud noises, creating noxious odors, using offensive language, threatening to commit a felony, or fighting. It's also a violation to purposefully cause an inconvenience to another person by unreasonably and physically obstructing car or pedestrian traffic, or free movement to a public or private place.

Section 574.020 (Private Peace Disturbance): Creating a peace disturbance on private property by threatening to commit a crime against someone or by fighting.

Section 574.035 (House of Worship Protection Act): Interrupting worship by intentionally rude or indecent behavior; or intentionally injuring or intimidating people from exercising their freedom of religion inside or outside a place of worship.

Section 574.040 (Unlawful Assembly): Knowingly assembling with 6 or more people and agreeing to violate any Missouri or federal criminal laws with force or violence.

Section 574.050 (Rioting): Knowingly assembling with 6 or more people and agreeing to violate any Missouri or federal criminal laws with force or violence and, while still together, violating those laws.

Section 574.070 (Promoting Civil Disorder in the First Degree): Teaching another person to use firearms or explosives, knowing or intending that the firearm or explosive is to be used in furtherance of a civil disorder.

Section 574.075 (Drunkenness or Drinking in Certain Places Prohibited): Drinking alcohol in or entering a school, place of worship, or courthouse in a drunken or disorderly condition.

Section 574.085 (Institutional Vandalism): Vandalizing or defacing a place of worship, cemetery, military monument, school, hospital, or community center or school bus.

Charges

The charges for most violations will depend on whether it's a first or subsequent offense. First offenses are charged as follows:

Class D Felony:

  • Promoting Civil Disorder in the First Degree

Class A Misdemeanor:

  • Rioting
  • Institutional Vandalism

Class B Misdemeanor:

  • Peace Disturbance
  • House of Worship Protection Act
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Drunkenness or Drinking in Certain Places Prohibited

Class C Misdemeanor: Private Peace Disturbance

Penalties

The following terms of imprisonment and fines are authorized by Missouri's criminal laws:

  • Class D Felony: imprisonment for up to 7 years and/or fines of up to $10,000.
  • Class A Misdemeanor: imprisonment for up to 1 year and/or fines of up to $2,000.
  • Class B Misdemeanor: imprisonment for up to 6 months and/or fines of up to $1,000.
  • Class C Misdemeanor: imprisonment for up to 15 days and/or fines of up to $750.
Related Statute(s)

Missouri Revised Statutes, Title XXXVIII. Chapter 574:

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.

Missouri Disorderly Conduct Laws: Related Resources

Charged with Disorderly Conduct in Missouri? Get Legal Help

Whether it's a serious offense, like causing catastrophe, or a minor one, like private peace disturbance, violating Missouri disorderly conduct laws can result in a criminal record and possibly imprisonment. If you've been charged with any crime, including disorderly conduct, it's a good idea to consult with a criminal defense attorney to increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

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