Disorderly Conduct

At Mashni Law Criminal Defense, we address the sensitive and often misjudged charge of Disorderly Conduct in Kentucky. This charge encompasses a range of behaviors deemed to disrupt peace and order, such as causing public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, and engaging in fighting or in noisy conduct in public places. While it may seem minor compared to other charges, the repercussions of a disorderly conduct conviction can tarnish one's record, affecting future employment, educational opportunities, and personal freedoms. Our legal team understands the nuances of these charges and leverages our knowledge and resources to develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your circumstances. If you're facing disorderly conduct charges, don't let a misunderstanding compromise your future. Call our office or schedule a free case evaluation today, and take the first step towards restoring peace and order to your life with Mashni Law Criminal Defense by your side.

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Disorderly Conduct is defined in Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 525.055.

Disorderly Conduct occurs when a person intends to cause a public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm in a public place. It can also occur when a person creates a risk of any of these things by: engaging in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior; making unreasonable noise; refusing to obey an official order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, hazard, or other emergency; or creating a hazard or physically offensive condition by any act that serves no legitimate purpose.
Second degree disorderly conduct is the default charge, which may be enhanced to first degree disorderly conduct if the prohibited actions occurred within an hour and/or within 300 feet of a cemetery during a funeral or burial, funeral home during the viewing of a dead person, funeral procession, funeral or memorial service, or building in which a funeral or memorial service is being conducted. The accused must have known that he was within 300 feet of one of these listed occasions.


A conviction for disorderly conduct requires that the Commonwealth prove a number of elements. The accused must have acted with the requisite mental state: intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm; or he must have wantonly created a risk of it. The action must be one of the three types of behaviors listed in the statute. Finally, there must be a causal link between the accused’s conduct and the public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm. Additionally, if the charge is for first degree disorderly conduct, there must also be proof that the prohibited conduct occurred in a prohibited location during the prohibited time frame and that the accused had knowledge of the location.


Disorderly conduct in the second degree is a Class B misdemeanor and is therefore punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines of up to $250.
Disorderly conduct in the first degree is a Class A misdemeanor and is therefore punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to $500 in fines.


Definitions for Chapter 525 are listed in Kentucky Revised States Section 525.010.

Public means affecting or likely to affect a substantial-sized group of people.

Public place means a place to which the public or a substantial group of people has access.



Caselaw has illustrated some examples of what is considered a public place. Thus, the space around a police cruiser located near the defendant’s mother’s house on a residential road was deemed a public place in Perdue v. Com., 411 S.W.3d 786 (Ky. 2013). Factors that are considered in determining whether a location qualifies as a public place include: whether the conduct created offensive consequences in a public space, whether there was a substantial chance that the conduct would cause public alarm or annoyance, and whether a crowd had gathered to observe the goings-on. U.S. v. Edmundson, 405 Fed. Appx. 964 (C.A.6 (Ky.) 2010). Woosley v. City of Paris, 591 F.Supp.2d 913 (E.D.Ky. 2008).
Breach of the peace cases can be divided into several categories, including unreasonable noise, refusal to disperse, and hazardous or offensive condition. An unreasonable noise might include yelling at greater than normal speaking voice even after having been asked to leave the area and calm down. Com. v. Jones, 880 S.W.2d 544 (Ky. 1994). On the other hand, arguments and noise that disturb only police officers, such as by criticizing an officer’s enforcement of zoning law to city workers and calling the officer a “fat slob,” are not criminalized under the disorderly conduct statute. Kennedy v. City of Villa Hills, Ky. 635 F.3d 210 (C.A.6 (Ky.) 2011).
A person may be charged with disorderly conduct if he refuses to clear the scene at an officer’s instruction, because a police officer has authority to order bystanders to leave the scene of a car accident under the disorderly conduct statute. Brown v. Fournier, 2017 WL 2391709 (Ky.App. 2017). Finally, a hazardous or offensive condition such that a person might be accused of disorderly conduct might occur where a parade goer refused to move from a safety zone and swore at a police officer with no legitimate purpose. Com. v. Jones, 880 S.W.2d 544 (Ky. 1994).


The most common defenses to disorder conduct are:
The defendant’s actions were involuntary, and the involuntary nature of these actions was attributable to some legitimate reason, such as a medical condition
The defendant was exercising his right to freedom of speech
The defendant was acting in self defense in case there was a physical altercation
That there was a legitimate purpose to the defendant’s actions, such as alerting the public to a danger that existed in that moment

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