Movies have often made a college education and disorderly conduct look like two names for the same thing. Fictional college students usually somehow come out on top, but criminal convictions for disorderly conduct can have serious consequences for a real college student’s future job and education prospects.
What is disorderly conductin Ohio?
The crime of disorderly conduct can be hard to exactly define, and it’s designed that way. It offers a way to make an arrest when someone disturbs the general peacefulness that most people expect from their community.
Ohio’s laws against disorderly conduct are written to focus on people doing things considered obnoxious (rude, offensive or extremely unpleasant) or unruly (disruptive, harmful to general order). You might say the law prohibits being too much of a jerk, to put it politely.
Activities banned by the disorderly conduct law
Ohio’s law lists prohibited activities. They’re only prohibited as disorderly conduct if they cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to someone else and they’re done “recklessly” (with little thought or care about the consequences).
They include things like fighting or threatening people, very abusive language or gestures, insults or taunts likely start a fight, blocking car or foot traffic or access to property for no good reason, or generally putting people unreasonably at risk.
Interestingly, the law says doing certain kinds of annoying things while drunk that you’re not likely to do while sober is specifically illegal. And if you violate any vehicle laws while drunk, you can be charged with disorderly conduct.
Punishments for disorderly conduct
Prosecutors and judges can make a lot of individual judgments that can affect what punishments you’d face. An experienced defense attorney will know why this discretion could go your way in one situation and against you in another, and can help frame your situation in the best way possible.
The statute explicitly says disorderly conduct is a minor misdemeanor. But exceptions can make it a fourth-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to $250 and 30 days in jail. They include committing disorderly conduct near a school, in the presence of any kind of first responder, in an emergency room, after receiving a warning and/or having three earlier marks on your record for disorderly conduct.