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What is disorderly conduct in New York?

Sometimes gatherings, events and protests can get out of hand. Whether you are simply hanging out with a few friends or attending a massive community event, the police may arrest you or someone you know for disorderly conduct. In order to commit disorderly conduct, you must intentionally annoy, disturb or inconvenience the public.

But it can be a little confusing to understand exactly what constitutes disorderly conduct in New York. Plus, the state has additional laws that cover similar behaviors. Here is a look at crimes against the public according to New York laws.

Disorderly conduct

Behaviors that may count as disorderly conduct include the following:

  • Fighting or engaging in other violent or threatening behavior
  • Using obscene or abusive language or gestures in a public area
  • Making loud, unreasonable and annoying noise
  • Blocking traffic, whether vehicular or pedestrian
  • Disrupting a lawful meeting or assembly
  • Refusing to leave a public place after a police officer orders you to do so

Disorderly conduct is punishable by a fine and up to 15 days of jail time.

Disturbing a religious or funeral service

The New York penal code also considers it a crime to disturb a religious, memorial, funeral or burial service. This includes picketing a funeral or making noise within 300 feet of the service. The maximum punishments for disrupting a service are a $1,000 fine and one year in jail.

Rioting or unlawfully assembling

If you engage in violent behavior with at least four people and it creates public concern, a police officer may arrest you for rioting. Similarly, if you meet up with at least five people with the intent to riot, this is unlawful assembly.

Loitering

According to New York, it is unlawful to hang around a public place for the following purposes:

  • Buy, sell or use drugs
  • Gamble
  • Engage in or promote prostitution

Depending on the details, loitering is either a misdemeanor or a violation.

It is wise to seek legal counsel if you have been charged with a crime. There are both direct and indirect consequences of a criminal conviction.

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James L. Riotto
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James L. Riotto is an accomplished criminal defense attorney serving clients in New York. With an extensive background in law enforcement and criminal prosecution, his approach to each case is unique and informed by years of experience with the New York criminal justice system. As a graduate from Albany Law School and before going on to start his own practice, James worked at the Albany County District Attorney's Office, where he helped prosecute many DWI offenses. His inside knowledge of the tactics used to gain convictions provides him with a particular advantage when defending against DUI and other criminal charges.

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Adam Staier
Of Counsel

About Attorney Adam Staier has spent the last seven years practicing criminal defense law throughout upstate New York and the Capital Region. He began his legal career through internships in civil law, indigent legal representation and federal energy law regulation. Finding a passion in criminal law, Mr. Staier held internships handling both prosecution and defense…

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