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  • Frank Benvenuto, P.A.

Disorderly Conduct

In Maryland the crime of disorderly conduct is governed by Sect 10-201 of the criminal law of the Annotated Codes of Maryland. What you should be aware of is that in Maryland there are essentially six prongs by which you can be found guilty of the crime of Disorderly Conduct which carries the possibility of up to a 60 day jail term and a fine of $500 or both.

  • First prong: A person may not willfully and without lawful purpose obstruct or hinder the free passage of another in a public place on a public conveyance.

  • Second prong: A person may not willfully act in a disorderly manner that disturbs the public peace.

  • Third prong: A person my not willfully fail to obey a reasonable and lawful order that a law enforcement officer makes to prevent a disturbance of the public peace.

  • Fourth prong: A person who enters the land or premises of another, whether an owner or lessee, on a beach adjacent to the residential riparian property may not willfully:

    • Disturb the peace of persons on the land, premises, or beach by making an unreasonable loud noise; or

    • Act in a disorderly manner

  • Fifth prong: a person from any location may not, by making an unreasonably loud noise, willfully disturb the peace of another:

    • On the other’s land or premises

    • In a public place; or

    • On a public conveyance

  • Sixth Prong: (local to Worcester County) A person may not build a bonfire or allow a bonfire to burn on a beach on others property between 1 am and 5am.

The gist of the crime of disorderly conduct, as it was in the cases of common law predecessor crimes, is the doing or saying, or both, of that which offends, disturbs, incites, or tends to incite, a number of people gathered in the same area. In other words, it is conduct of such a nature as to affect the peace and quiet of a person actually present who may witness the conduct or hear the language and who may be disturbed or provoked to resentment thereby. Nevertheless, the statute, in either its “doing” or “saying” prescriptions, may not punish acts or spoken words, although vulgar and offensive, which are protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Implicit [from the words of the statute] is the prohibition against a person willfully acting in a disorderly manner by making loud and unseemly noises or by profanely cursing, swearing or using obscene language. (Citations omitted). Reese v. State, 17 Md App. 73, 80 (1973). Dziekonski v. State, 127 Md, App. 191, 200-201 (1999). Matter of Nawrocki, 15 Md App. 252,257-58 (1972).

Many young adults run afoul of the Disorderly Conduct Statute because it encompasses many forms of behavior. This is a criminal charge and it should be taken seriously. No one wants a criminal record especially an employer.

Call me today. I can help if you have been charged with disorderly conduct in the Ocean City, MD area. 24/7 Emergency Line ~ 443-783-2451 or Office: 410-641-2999

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