Disorderly conduct laws differ significantly among states and municipalities, and the type of conduct covered by these laws and ordinances is quite broad. States typically categorize disorderly conduct (sometimes also called “disturbing the peace,” or “breach of the peace”) as any behavior that is likely to cause other people alarm, anger, annoyance, or an increased likelihood to engage in unlawful activity.
To learn more about disorderly conduct in general, see Disorderly Conduct Laws and Penalties.
Arizona categorizes disorderly conduct into two statutes (although other charges, such as for public intoxication, may also apply).
To learn more about public intoxication and drunk in public crimes in each state, see Public Intoxication Laws and Penalties, and click the link to your state in the section entitled, “Public Intoxication Laws by State.”
In Arizona, disorderly conduct includes engaging in fighting, violent, or threatening behavior; making an unreasonable noise, using abusive or obscene language, or making an obscene gesture in a public place that is likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation. The offense also includes unlawfully disturbing a lawful business, public assembly, procession, or meeting; refusing to comply with a lawful police order to disperse; or recklessly handling, displaying, or discharging a deadly weapon or instrument.
Disorderly conduct is a class 1 misdemoeanr, and penalties include a fine of up to $2,500, up to six months in jail, or both. However, recklessly handling, displaying, or discharging a deadly weapon or instrument is a class 6 felony, which incurs at least one (and up to two) years in prison.
(Az. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-2904.)
It is illegal to disturb the public peace by gathering in a group of three or more people to recklessly use force or violence (or threaten to do so).
Engaging in a riot is a class 5 felony. Penalties include at least two (and up to two and a half) years in prison.
(Az. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-2903.)
Even though misdemeanor offences often seem like they aren’t serious, you face significant potential penalties in Arizona if you are convicted of any crime, even a misdemeanor. You should always consult an experienced Arizona criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged with a crime, have been approached by the police as a target of an investigation, or need legal advice. Only a local attorney who has dealt with local law enforcement and prosecutors can give you advice about your case.