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.
Colorado categorizes disorderly conduct into three offenses (although other charges, such as for public intoxication, may also apply).
To learn more about public intoxication and drunk in public crimes, see Public Intoxication Laws and Penalties.
In Colorado, disorderly conduct includes making a coarse or offensive utterance in public, or unreasonable noise near private residences. Disorderly conduct of these types is a class 1 petty offense, and penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, or both. Increased penalties may apply to second and subsequent convictions. Penalties increase if the conduct disrupted a funeral.
Fighting in public is also illegal. This type of disorderly conduct is a class 3 misdemeanor, and penalties include up to $50, up to six months in jail, or both.
And discharging (or threatening to discharge)a weapon in public is a class 2 misdemeanor. Penalties include a fine at least $250 (and up to $1,000), at least six (and up to 12) months in jail, or both.
(Co. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-9-106.)
A class 2 public nuisance includes several behaviors. Any conduct that tends to disturb the peace in a place where people congregate or near a residential area may be charged under this offense. Behavior that promotes professional illegal gambling, drug dealing, serving liquor to underage persons, and soliciting prostitution or the sale of stolen items are also behaviors included in this offense.
Penalties vary according to the conduct and resulting damages, but may include a fine, time in jail, or both.
(Co. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 16-13-304.)
In Colorado, it is a crime to touch, taunt, speak to (or communicate with by other means, such as by telephone or computer) in an obscene way, repeatedly call someone on the telephone and hang up, or follow someone.
Harassment is a class 3 misdemeanor. Penalties include a fine of up to $50, up to six months in jail, or both. This offense is a class 1 misdemeanor if the harassment occurred because the offender was motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin; and penalties include a fine at least $500 (and up to $5,000), at least six months in jail (and up to 18 months in prison), or both.
(Co. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-9-111.)
Even though misdemeanor offences often seem like they aren’t serious, you face significant potential penalties in Colorado if you are convicted of any crime, even a misdemeanor. You should always consult an experienced Colorado 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.