Disorderly Conduct Charges in Las Vegas
Disorderly conduct — also referred to as disturbing the peace or breach of peace — is a criminal offense that is used frequently by Las Vegas law enforcement. For tourists and visitors, the charges often arise from situations at nightclubs, strip clubs, pool parties, bars, and casinos, as well as outside in public spaces. For Nevada residents, disorderly conduct charges also can result from domestic disputes and often are included with other domestic violence charges like assault and battery.
While disorderly conduct charges can be relatively minor, a conviction does result in a criminal record. Often, with the benefit of an experienced attorney, a disorderly conduct charge can be plea bargained with the district attorney’s office to minimize the impact on your record and your life. Trusted Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten stands ready to assist if you are a visitor or resident facing a disorderly conduct charge.
Breach of Peace / Disorderly Conduct Laws in Nevada
State and local governments across the country have laws regulating disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. Generally, those laws are very broad and cover many different types of conduct that can be offensive in a public outdoor or indoor setting.
Nevada is no different. There are state laws governing breach of peace. Clark County also has an ordinance specifically outlawing disorderly conduct, which frequently is the basis of a citation for disturbing the peace.
The Clark County disorderly conduct ordinance makes it illegal to:
- “Participate in a fight”
- “Challenge another person to a fight”
- “Commit a breach of the peace”
- “Incite a disturbance”
- “Interfere with, annoy, accost or harass any other person which conduct by its nature would tend to incite a disturbance”
Nevada state laws for “Crimes Against the Public Peace” cover a range of similar conduct. Examples of possible offenses are:
- Breach of Peace occurs if a person "[M]aliciously and willfully disturb[s] the peace or quiet of any neighborhood or person or family by loud or unusual noises, or by tumultuous and offensive conduct, threatening, traducing, quarreling, challenging to fight, or fighting."
- Provoking Breach of Peace can be charged if one person intentionally provokes another person to breach the peace.
- Assembling to Disturb the Peace can be charged if two or more individuals assemble to breach the peace or commit an unlawful act and refuse to disburse when requested to do so.
- Unlawful Assembly can be charged when two or more individuals congregate to commit an unlawful act.
- Affray is an offense that can be charged when two or more people agree to fight in a public place.
- Offenses in Public Conveyances can be charged if a person in a public conveyance (like a bus or taxi) uses profane or offensive language, quarrels with another person, interferes with or annoys a passenger, or refuses to pay the proper fare.
The types of behavior that can result in charges under the Clark County and state laws include:
- Being drunk in public
- Engaging in a fight
- Threatening another person
- Using profane language
- Disturbing or harassing others
- Being loud and boisterous
- Participating in a protest that disturbs others
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct
Disorderly conduct and breaching the peace charges are misdemeanors, carrying a possible fine of up to a thousand dollars ($1,000) and up to six (6) months in jail. If you plead guilty, you will have a criminal conviction on your record, which can affect your life by impairing employment and housing opportunities.
Depending on the circumstances, and especially depending on whether violence was involved in the situation, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to secure dismissal of the charges or minimal penalties, such as community service and reduced fines. If it’s your first offense, the chances of your attorney negotiating lower penalties are better than if you have a record of prior similar convictions.
If You Have a Las Vegas Disorderly Conduct Conviction on Your Record
If you have a previous misdemeanor conviction for disorderly conduct on your record, you need to be aware that you may be able to have that record sealed. As of October 1, 2017, Nevada reduced the waiting period for sealing misdemeanor records (with a few exceptions, not including disorderly conduct) to one (1) year from the previous waiting period of two (2) years.
At The Gersten Law Firm, we assist clients with securing sealing of criminal records under the Nevada law.
Talk with an Experienced Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney About Your Disorderly Conduct Citation
If you are facing a disorderly conduct or breach of peace citation in Las Vegas, it is critical to seek advice from an attorney. Your initial consultation with respected criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten is free of charge.
Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten has extensive experience defending Las Vegas visitors and residents facing federal, state, and local criminal charges. If you’ve been arrested in Las Vegas or anywhere else in Clark County, contact Attorney Gersten to schedule a free consultation.