DC Disorderly Conduct Laws

The District of Columbia’s law on disorderly conduct (DC Code Section 22-1321) covers seven different potential scenarios.

Any individual violating any provision detailed below will be guilty of the misdemeanor of disorderly conduct, and faces up to $500 in fines, up to 90 days in jail, or both.

Even though disorderly conduct is a relatively minor charge compared to other criminal offenses, it can still lead to fines, jail time, and a permanent criminal record. A permanent criminal record can have a multi-faceted negative impact in your life, including your employability, security clearance, ability to obtain loans, and education opportunities.If you have been charged with this crime, please contact a DC disorderly conduct lawyer today.
The explanation of DC disorderly conduct laws below is not a substitute for the professional and qualified advice of an aggressive DC disorderly conduct lawyer who can explain the nuances of the law, how it is treated in DC court and by law enforcement, and how it may apply to your case.

Section 22-1321(a)

This provision for disorderly conduct only covers activity occurring in areas open to the public and/or communal areas of multi-unit housing. In these areas, disorderly conduct occurs when a person:

  1. Recklessly or deliberately acts in a way that causes another individual to have reasonable fear that someone or something someone possesses is likely to be taken or harmed, or;
  2. Incites/provokes violence in a situation where it is likely violence will occur, or;
  3. Uses offensive or abusive language/gestures specifically directed at an individual, and in a manner likely to provoke retaliation by that individual or another person.

Section 22-1321(b)

This provision for disorderly conduct covers situations where a person uses loud, abusive, or threatening language, or disruptive conduct, to disrupt a lawful public gathering, religious service or worship, funeral, or other similar gatherings.

Section 22-1321(c)

This provision for disorderly conduct covers situations where a person uses loud, abusive, or threatening language, or acts disruptively, in a manner that interferes with the lawful use of public transportation by one or more people.

Section 22-1321(d)

This provision for disorderly conduct covers situations where a person makes unreasonably loud noises likely to annoy or disturb people in their residences. It only applies between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Section 22-1321(e)

This provision for disorderly conduct states that it is unlawful for someone to urinate or defecate in public (this does not include urinals or toilets).

Section 22-1321(f)

This provision covers scenarios where an individual is stealthily peering through a window or opening of a dwelling, but only where the occupant would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This provision applies whether or not the dwelling is occupied when the individual is peering inside the opening.

Section 22-1321(g)

This provision states that it is unlawful to interfere with anyone in a public place by bumping against someone, unnecessarily crowding the person, or reaching toward someone’s purse, pocketbook, wallet, etc.

How a DC Disorderly Conduct Attorney Can Help

Call today if you have been charged with disorderly conduct in the District of Columbia. Do not let the offense become part of your criminal record.