The recent events that took place in Charlottesville have caused Americans all over the country to take to the streets and join rallies and protests. People are protesting for and against Confederate statues, racism, Anti-Semitism, white nationalism, and our current president’s response to the heartbreaking tragedy.While these protests are uniting many citizens, they are also leading to a number of arrests for disorderly conduct.
Rallies and Protests around the Country and the Arrests That Have Resulted
- In Durham, North Carolina, eight people are facing misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges for causing a Confederate statue to be knocked down. While all of those arrested are out on bail, City Councilman Charlie Reece has asked the sheriff to not bring felony charges, and over 10,000 people have signed an online petition to have all current and future charges dropped.
- Four people were arrested in Nashville during a protest to show solidarity with Charlottesville and the victims of the violence. According to police, Justin Jones – one of the Nashville activists – allegedly “jumped in front of a moving patrol car, tried to take something from another person who was under arrest, and ‘refused officer's orders to step back.’”
- In New York City, two people were arrested outside of Trump Tower for disorderly conduct amidst thousands of anti-Trump protestors and a small group of Trump supporters. The different groups were separated by police barricades and yelled for each other to go home.
- Three people were arrested during a Confederate statue protest in Bradenton, hoping to take advantage of the momentum that started in Charlottesville to finally have the statue removed. Despite the arrests and yelling on both sides, there wasn’t any violence and no one was injured.
Those are just a few of the cities holding protests and rallies across the country. More are sure to follow as this matter only gains more national attention.If you plan to participate in a Florida protest, it’s important to know what a disorderly conduct charge means and how you can fight back if you find yourself facing one.
Understanding Disorderly Conduct in Florida
Chapter 877.03 of the Florida statutes discusses disorderly conduct or breach of the peace. The law explicitly states that:“Whoever commits such acts as are of a nature to corrupt the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them, or engages in brawling or fighting, or engages in such conduct as to constitute a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.”A second degree misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fines.Sometimes, a disorderly conduct charge can be elevated depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. If it involves a public fight, you could potentially face a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. If it involves a riot, you might face a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
Fight Back against Your Florida Disorderly Conduct Charge
While a disorderly conduct charge might not seem serious, it could potentially have serious consequences. That’s why you should contact an experienced Florida disorderly conduct criminal defense attorney if you’re facing charges. Reach out to a skilled attorney today to fight for your rights and beat your charges.About the Author:Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he's done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.