Stamford Disorderly Conduct Lawyer
Receiving a misdemeanor summons for disorderly conduct in Stamford under CGS 53a-182 is actually considered an “arrest”. This can result in an online news report of your arrest in the Stamford Advocate and Stamford Patch which can haunt you for the rest of your professional life if it’s not handled properly by a talented defense attorney and taken offline.
If you were arrested for disorderly conduct, contact a Stamford domestic violence lawyer to help you get your charge dismissed quickly and cost-effectively.
What is a Disorderly Conduct Arrest?
Disorderly conduct is a Class C misdemeanor in Stamford, Connecticut, punishable by up to three months in jail, probation, and up to $500 in fines. Under Connecticut criminal law, you can be arrested for disorderly conduct if, with the intent of causing alarm, inconvenience, or annoyance, you fight, threaten, or make unreasonable noise. The statute is even broader than this and does not always require intent if you are acting recklessly. The ambiguity and over-breadth of the statute is the reason why it is the most frequently charged Stamford domestic violence crime.
Will There Be a Protective Order?
Yes. Though the statute is permissive when it comes to issuing protective orders after a domestic violence arrest, Connecticut courts err on the side of caution and often issue them in every single case. This criminal protective order restricts your contact or visitation with the family member who was the victim of the arrest. Not only are these Connecticut domestic violence restraining / protective orders convoluted, but they can go on for months, or even years, in a Connecticut domestic violence case, causing you embarrassment and problems in employment background checks and at airport security checkpoints. To learn more about Connecticut Protective Orders, click here.
What Happens to First Time Offenders?
If you are a first-time offender, meaning your Disorderly Conduct arrest is the first time you have ever been arrested, then you should be wary of family relations officers who may try and encourage you to apply for the Family Violence Education Program (also called the “FVEP”). While the FVEP may very well be a fair and appropriate resolution of your disorderly conduct arrest, you should contact a Stamford disorderly conduct lawyer before jumping into the program.
The FVEP program automatically keeps your case alive for up to two years (and also keeps any pending protective restraining orders alive as well, exposing you to a Stamford felony arrest for violating a protective or restraining order). Exploring FVEP alternatives may be possible for first time offenders, so consider reading some of our articles that discuss why you should not rush into the Connecticut Family Violence Education Program. Click here for 5 reasons not to rush into this program without consulting an attorney.
Will DCF Investigate a Disorderly Conduct Arrest?
If your minor children are in the home or in the vicinity of a Stamford disorderly conduct arrest—even if they were upstairs or in another room in your home—then you can be certain that the Connecticut Department of Children and Family Investigators (“DCF”) will be showing up at your door within 24 hours. They are required by Connecticut law to conduct an assessment or investigation of you and your whole family and will want to interview your spouse, all of your children (without you in the room), as well as your children’s educators and health care professionals.
Most people do not want DCF meddling in their lives, especially over something so minor as a disorderly conduct arrest. A Stamford disorderly conduct lawyer can help you get your DCF case closed as quickly as possible.
Potential Consequences of Disorderly Conduct Arrests
The terms of the protective order that a court may issue immediately after an arrest or summons for disorderly conduct that is classified as domestic violence can vary significantly depending on the circumstances. In less serious situations, the court may issue what is known as a “partial” or “limited” order, which generally just requires someone to refrain from harassing the protected party or engaging in any additional disorderly conduct around them.
In more serious situations, or in cases where someone arrested for disorderly conduct is not a first-time offender, an ensuing court order may have a “residential stay-away” requirement that prohibits the defendant from being in the same residence or workplace as the protected party. Especially severe instances of domestic violence may result in full no-contact orders prohibiting all forms of communication between the defendant and the protected party, but these kinds of orders are generally rare in disorderly conduct cases.
Regardless of what terms a protective order has, any violation of those terms by the defendant is automatically a class D felony offense under C.G.S. §53a-223, potentially even if the violation was completely accidental. Furthermore, any protective order violation that involves harassment, assault, molestation, or restraining a protected party’s liberty in any way is a class C felony.
How Is Disorderly Conduct Different from Breach of the Peace?
While disorderly conduct and breach of the peace are very similar criminal offenses on the surface, the latter is a bit more objective in how it is defined. As per C.G.S. §53a-181, a person commits second-degree breach of the peace if, intending to cause “inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm” or creating a risk of such an outcome through their own recklessness, a person does any of the following:
- Engages in threatening or violent behavior in public
- Physically strikes another person
- Threatens to commit a criminal offense against another person and/or their property
- Publicly distributes or exhibits offensive or abusive material about another person
- Uses obscene language and/or gestures in public
- Creates a “hazardous or physically offensive condition” in public without being authorized to do so
In practice, breach of the peace is effectively just a more severe version of disorderly conduct, and its classification as a class B misdemeanor offense reflects that. A Stamford attorney could explain the distinctions between disorderly conduct and other related offenses in detail during a confidential consultation.
Contesting Disorderly Conduct Allegations in Stamford
Effectively fighting back against accusations of disorderly conduct often revolves around challenging the notion that the defendant’s action rose to the level of criminally actionable misconduct in a legal sense. Because these claims can be so subjective, defendants without skilled legal counsel on their side are often at the mercy of the court’s interpretation of a police officer’s testimony, which can be extremely difficult to overcome alone. A knowledgeable disorderly conduct lawyer in Stamford, on the other hand, could help build a comprehensive case that places doubt on the prosecution’s assertion that a defendant acted intentionally to disturb someone else, or that they acted recklessly enough to warrant legal action.
Call a Stamford Disorderly Conduct Attorney Today
While disorderly conduct is one of the least serious Stamford domestic violence crimes, a simple charge can escalate quickly for you and your family in Stamford Superior Court, including unnecessary alcohol and drug testing, an overly restrictive restraining order, and an intrusive Stamford DCF investigation. Make sure you are contacting a skilled lawyer who is ready to defend you and your future. The lawyers at Mark Sherman Law are highly reviewed on Avvo.com and ready to take your call today.