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Disorderly Conduct in Ozaukee or Washington County

Not all disorderly conduct charges are criminal. There is also a non-criminal citation for disorderly conduct punishable only as a forfeiture violation. Whether your charge is a non-criminal citation, or a criminal offense is up to the police and a district attorney based on a review of the information provided to them.

What is disorderly conduct?

Disorderly conduct is defined as someone who has “engaged in violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct.”  Due to the wide-reaching definition of disorderly conduct, charges can be issued for practically any disagreement.  Absent a specific category, a district attorney will frequently charge disorderly conduct if police were called to the scene using the catchall “otherwise disorderly conduct” as their basis. There are two elements needed to prove disorderly conduct:

  1. proof beyond a reasonable doubt of conduct that meets the definition
  2. the conduct “tended to cause or provoke a disturbance”

It is further explained in the jury instructions that the conduct must cause or provoke a disturbance, to a reasonable person, not someone abnormally sensitive, based on the circumstances as they existed at the time of the event. It would not be enough to demonstrate that the conduct would create a disturbance at a church or restaurant, but instead under the circumstances that were present.

The number of situations where disorderly conduct could possibly be charged is seemingly innumerable.  Examples of disorderly conduct that are specifically defined include a loud argument, back and forth yelling, swearing, threatening someone and simply being too loud.  A list for what constitutes otherwise disorderly conduct is rather inexhaustible. 

Disorderly Conduct & Domestic Abuse

On the scale of criminal charges, disorderly conduct falls on the relatively low end. However, in Ozaukee and Washington counties disorderly conduct is often coupled with a domestic violence modifier. A domestic violence modifier can be charged when the people involved in the incident are currently or have been previously in a domestic relationship. Anyone you currently or have previously lived with or share children with constitutes a current or previous domestic relationship. The other person involved may not want to press charges against you, however, that is not their decision to make. All criminal charges are decided upon by a district attorney who is not representing a victim but instead the State of Wisconsin and the public as a whole.

The domestic violence modifier adds significant penalties to your case. If convicted, you will lose your Second Amendment gun rights and you will be labeled as someone convicted of domestic abuse; there is also a domestic abuse surcharge upon conviction enhancing your financial penalties.

Contact the disorderly conduct attorneys at Grieve Law in Ozaukee, Wisconsin for a free case consultation.

How long does a disorderly conduct conviction stay on my record?

If you are convicted of disorderly conduct in Ozaukee or Washington County, that conviction will remain on your record forever.  Your conviction may be eligible to be expunged, which seals the conviction from public view.  Even if your conviction is expunged, that does not mean that your gun rights are reinstated as the conviction still exists, it is just hidden. In Wisconsin, all criminal convictions are available for public view on Wisconsin’s Circuit Court Access Program (CCAP) and there is no passage of time that will remove a conviction from CCAP.  A conviction for disorderly conduct could impact your ability to obtain employment, housing or loans.

How to beat disorderly conduct in Wisconsin

The wide-ranging nature of the disorderly conduct definition typically means that the most successful way to challenge the charge in Ozaukee or Washington County is to argue an aspect of the second element; specifically, that you were not the cause of the disturbance.  Being involved in an incident, in and of itself, does not mean that you were responsible for, or likely to provoke a disturbance. Often the only evidence that exists in a disorderly conduct case is the testimony of the parties involved, by shifting focus away from what was said or done the right attorney can demonstrate that your actions were not responsible for any disturbance. Our experienced and knowledgeable Ozaukee and Washington County attorneys have the skills necessary to successfully challenge these cases. Let us put our expertise behind you to fight your case.

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Tom Grieve, the firm's managing attorney and founder, is a former state prosecutor and is not the only ex-prosecutor at the firm. We love hiring attorneys from both sides of the wall to bring as many perspectives to fight your case as aggressively as possible. The State of Wisconsin likes it when you choose the run-of-the-mill fee to plea™ lawyers who don't even know how to analyze and defend cases instead of experienced criminal attorneys:

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