Disorderly Conduct

If you were cited for disorderly conduct under New York’s Penal Law § 240.20 in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, or Stanton Island, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Office. Ms. Berliner can talk with you about the facts of the case and provide you with a free initial consultation.

A violation of the disorderly conduct statute often occurs when the law enforcement officer had no basis for an arrest for anything else. It is essentially a “catch all” provision.

Officially, the statute for “disorderly conduct” was designed to “proscribe only that type of conduct which has a real tendency to provoke public disorder.” Staff Notes of the Commission on Revision of the Penal Law. Proposed New York Penal Law. McKinney's Spec. Pamph. (1964), p. 388.

The proscribed conduct must be accompanied by the stated culpable mental state of “intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof” [Penal Law § 240.20].

In certain cases a felony charge may be reduced to a violation of disorderly conduct as a compromise between the defense attorney and the prosecutor to avoid a trial.

The Statutory Language for Disorderly Conduct

Under New York’s Penal Law § 240.20 disorderly conduct is a violation. The disorderly conduct statute provides that a person is guilty of disorderly conduct when, “with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof:

  1. He engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior; or
  2. He makes unreasonable noise; or
  3. In a public place, he uses abusive or obscene language, or makes an obscene gesture; or
  4. Without lawful authority, he disturbs any lawful assembly or meeting of persons; or
  5. He obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic; or
  6. He congregates with other persons in a public place and refuses to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse; or
  7. He creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose.”

Constitutional Challenges to New York’s Disorderly Conduct Statute

Because the statute works as a “catch all” and has vague language several constitutional challenges have been brought both on its face and as applied. The facial challenges have been largely unsuccessful. See People v. Bakolas, 59 N.Y.2d 51, 53, 462 N.Y.S.2d 844, 449 N.E.2d 738 (1983) and People v. Tichenor, 89 N.Y.2d 769, 658 N.Y.S.2d 233, 680 N.E.2d 606 (1997) (abusive or obscene language in a public place).

However, it may be possible to file a motion to dismiss the charges if the evidence is insufficient. If the police engaged in any unlawful activity then it might be appropriate to file a motion to dismiss the charge.

If you hire Ms. Berliner then she will performs a complete investigation into the facts of your case and help you determine the best course of action to aggressively fight the charges.

Finding an Attorney for Disorderly Conduct in Queens, N.Y.

If you were charged with disorderly conduct in Queens, N.Y., then you will want experienced legal counsel to represent you against these assault charges. Talk with a Queens criminal defense lawyer about possible defenses, motions that can be filed, and the best way to resolve the case.

Call the Law Office at or submit an online form today to discuss your case during a free and confidential consultation.