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.
Disturbing the Peace in Georgia
Georgia includes several unlawful behaviors within its disorderly conduct 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 Georgia, disorderly conduct includes acting in a violent manner in a public place, or behaving in a way that reasonably makes other persons fear for their or their property’s safety. It also includes using profane or abusive language—sometimes called “fighting words”— that is likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.
(Ga. Ann. Code § 16-11-39.)
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct
In Georgia, disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor, and penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
Getting Legal Advice
Although a misdemeanor conviction may not seem very serious, you may nonetheless face serious fines and jail time. You should always consult an experienced Georgia 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.