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    Disorderly Conduct Charges in Michigan

    A disorderly conduct charge may seem like a minor offense. However, this charge is a misdemeanor that puts you in contact with the criminal justice system and will result in a criminal record if you are convicted. Read on to learn more about disorderly conduct and what to expect if you are charged.
    Disorderly Conduct 
    In Michigan, a disorderly person is one who engages in or more of several activities such as:
    • Window Peeping
    • Prostitution
    • Neglecting to support one's family
    • Engaging in illegal business
    • Public intoxication and endangerment
    • Public Indecency
    • Vagrancy
    • Begging
    • Loitering
    Several defenses, penalties, and legal options exist if you are caught up in any of these.

    Defenses 

    For the court to convict you for disorderly conduct, the prosecutor must show that you intentionally frustrated public tranquility and caused alarm to others.

    Depending on your particular actions, several defenses to the charge are available.

    Self-Defense
    If you were involved in a brawl, you may explain to the court that you were defending yourself against another's aggression. Witness statements can help your case.

    Duress
    You may argue duress if a third party coerced you into committing any of the acts listed as constituting disorderly conduct.

    Mental Incapacity
    Your attorney may argue that your actions were involuntary and were caused by forces beyond your control. For example, if you have a medical condition.

    Freedom of Speech 
    If you were charged for offending the public with noisy behavior, you could cite your right to freedom of speech as provided for by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

    Penalties

    The precise punishment for a disorderly conduct conviction will vary depending on the specificities of your case. Generally, misdemeanors attract a prison sentence of up to 93 days, a fine, or both as determined by the court.

    At the judge's discretion, you may be required to serve community service or probation, instead of or in addition to serving your jail term. You may have your driver's license confiscated and points added to your driving record if you are charged with a traffic offense. 

    Legal Options 

    Typically, defendants charged with disorderly conduct are required to appear in court for an arraignment where the judge sets bail and you enter a guilty or not guilty plea.

    Never plead guilty during the arraignment or at any time during your case unless at the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

    Depending on the nuances of your case, your attorney may negotiate with the prosecutor to have the charge of disorderly conduct dismissed or request a delayed sentence in exchange for probation. This way, your case will not have to proceed to trial.

    Dismissal
    In Michigan, by the age of 17, a person may be charged, tried, and convicted as an adult. Fortunately, under the Michigan Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HAYT), a youthful offender aged between 17 and 23 years can avoid a criminal conviction and have the court dismiss certain criminal charges and seal the record.

    Instead of proceeding to trial, your attorney may ask the prosecutor or judge to assign you HAYT status. You will be placed under probation for up to 1 year at the end of which your case will be dismissed and may be sealed indefinitely as long as you comply with the terms of probation.

    Delayed Sentencing 
    If you are not eligible under HAYT, your attorney may negotiate with the prosecutor or judge to have the court delay sentencing for up to 1 year to prove your eligibility for probation.

    You must comply with the terms of probation to avoid resentencing and potentially going to jail for your initial charge.
    Much of the time, young adults are the ones charged with disorderly conduct, which can hamper their efforts when applying for college or looking for work. To avoid permanently tarnishing your record with a disorderly conduct conviction, speak with the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Brown Raduazo & Hilderley PLLC.