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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Drunk and Disorderly Conduct in Georgia

Fall offers many reasons to celebrate: the kickoff of football season, Oktoberfest and Halloween just to name a few.  However, a behavior that one person views as a celebratory may be interpreted as unacceptable by another.  Georgia courts have the final opinion on what defines disorderly conduct and penalties that may result from it.  

The legal definition of “disorderly conduct” varies by state, and you should immediately consult with a local criminal law attorney if you are arrested and charged.  Disorderly conduct is only a misdemeanor in Georgia, however penalties can include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.  The sentencing judge also has the authority to sentence a probation period, community service or an alcohol awareness class instead of jail time.  Additional charges may apply if the defendant causes personal or property damage while under the influence.

What is disorderly conduct in Georgia?

In general, drunk and disorderly conduct, also commonly known as “disturbing the peace,” is defined as behavior that is likely to cause other people fear, anger or displaying an overall likelihood to engage in unlawful activity.  In Georgia, disorderly conduct includes acting violently in a public place, or behaving in a way that causes other people to fear for their or their personal or property’s safety. It also includes using excessive profane or abusive language directed specifically at someone in a confrontational way (also known as “fighting words”).

What is public intoxication Georgia?

In Georgia, public intoxication (also referred to as “public drunkenness”) means appearing intoxicated in a public place or on private property without permission.  Appearing intoxicated may include being loud, vulgar, nude (or partially nude) or performing an indecent act such as public urination.

When fighting a public intoxication charge in Georgia, the definition of “private property” may come into play.  Private property includes the area surrounding a private dwelling. This means someone who accidently wanders into someone else’s yard while drunk may be arrested for public drunkenness, even though the person was not technically out in public.

Do I need an attorney to fight disorderly conduct charges?

Absolutely.  At first glance a misdemeanor charge may not seem very serious, however if convicted you may face a large fine and jail time.  These penalties can seriously disrupt your personal and professional life, and have negative consequences that stretch beyond the legal punishment.  And experienced criminal law attorney who is adept at navigating through the Georgia legal system will leverage their expertise for the best outcome possible.     

If you have been arrested for disorderly conduct in Georgia, contact criminal law attorney Christopher Chapman at cchapman@smithwelchlaw.com or call 770-389-4864.  Prior to his admission to the bar, Christopher spent six years in law enforcement and has experience of being a former prosecutor in Henry County State Court.  Smith, Welch, Webb and White is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the state of Georgia.  Our team of experts routinely handles a wide range of legal matters, and will provide outstanding service for you, your family or your business.

 

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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