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No matter where in Carteret County you are, if you have been found to be behaving in a manner that disturbs the peace, you could be facing criminal charges of disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct charges are considered a criminal offense, and they may result in severe consequences for the accused. If you are facing a disorderly conduct charge, it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney to defend your rights and to defend against unfair prosecution or unjust sentencing. Feel free to contact us if you’re curious what we can do for you — take note, we provide free initial consultations, so it doesn’t hurt to reach out.

You can also find further information about North Carolina’s disorderly conduct violations and how to best defend yourself below.

According to §14-288.4 of the North Carolina Code, the following behaviors are considered to fall under the umbrella term of disorderly conduct:

Engaging or threatening to engage in violent conduct: This verbiage surrounds instances where an individual fights another individual or group of individuals, and it may pertain to an individual who simply threatens to engage in violence.

Refusing to vacate an educational facility building: The North Carolina Code continues, noting that an individual is acting unlawfully if they do not obediently vacate an educational facility under the following circumstances:

“A. An order of the chief administrative officer of the institution, or the officer's representative, who shall include for colleges and universities the vice chancellor for student affairs or the vice-chancellor's equivalent for the institution, the dean of students or the dean's equivalent for the institution, the director of the law enforcement or security department for the institution, and the chief of the law enforcement or security department for the institution.

B. An order given by any fireman or public health officer acting within the scope of the fireman's or officer's authority.

C. If an emergency is occurring or is imminent within the institution, an order given by any law-enforcement officer acting within the scope of the officer's authority.“

Taking possession of an educational facility building without authorization: It is illegal to “take possession” of an educational facility without receiving specific authority from a chief administrative officer of an educational facility or a representative under the chief administrative officer of the facility.

Making or using language or gestures for the purpose of provoking retaliation: This verbiage refers to any aggressive act (including language, gestures, displays, and even “utterances”) which may provoke an individual or party to become violent. In this instance, the offender does not need to be violent, he or she is simply provoking and may inspire violence.

Obstructing building entrances or facility utilization of an educational institution: If a chief administrative officer of an educational institution (or his/her representative) forbids an individual from obstructing a building entrance or the utilization of a facility, they may be charged with disorderly conduct. In addition, groups of individuals cannot “congregate, assemble, or form groups or formations (whether organized or not), block, or in any manner otherwise interfere with the operation or functioning of any building or facility of the institution so as to interfere with the customary or normal use of the building or facility,” under §14-288.4 of the North Carolina Code.

Disrupting teaching at an educational institution: An individual cannot legally disrupt, disturb, or interfere with teaching in an educational institution, public or private.

Disruptive behavior on a school bus: An individual cannot legally be disruptive by disturbing the peace, discipline, or order on a school bus.

Disrupting a religious service or assembly: It is illegal to disrupt, disturb, or interfere with religious ceremonies, services, and assemblies.

Disrupting a funeral service: It is illegal to disrupt any funeral service (military or otherwise) in any of the following manners under §14-288.4 of the North Carolina Code.

“A. Displaying, within 500 feet of the ceremonial site, location being used for the funeral or memorial, or the family's processional route to the funeral or memorial service, any visual image that conveys fighting words or actual or imminent threats of harm directed to any person or property associated with the funeral, memorial service, or processional route.

B. Uttering, within 500 feet of the ceremonial site, location being used for the funeral or memorial service, or the family's processional route to the funeral or memorial service, loud, threatening, or abusive language or singing, chanting, whistling, or yelling with or without noise amplification in a manner that would tend to impede, disrupt, disturb, or interfere with a funeral, memorial service, or processional route.

C. Attempting to block or blocking pedestrian or vehicular access to the ceremonial site or location being used for a funeral or memorial.”

In general, most disorderly conduct violations are charged as misdemeanors. Most disorderly conduct convictions are considered Class II misdemeanors, although you may face more severe consequences for additional offenses. Class II misdemeanor convictions carry a penalty of up to 60 days of jail time, as well as up to a $1,000 fine.

Defendants may be issued a felony if they have been convicted of multiple disorderly infraction charges. For instance, if a defendant is convicted of disrupting a funeral procession on multiple occassions, they may be issued a Class I felony (for a second conviction), or even a Class H felony (for three or more convictions).

Due to the nature of this type of criminal charge, it can also be charged concurrently with other types of crimes. For example, public intoxication and resisting arrest could also be charged for the type of behavior that falls under disorderly conduct. At Cummings & Kennedy, we recognize those that are criminally charged with this type of crime are not always deserving of the charges that are determined, and that there are charges that are less harsh available. Our criminal lawyers are prepared to fight tooth and nail to help our clients obtain the optimum outcome that they fully deserve.

While we may be able to have your charge reduced, we may also be able to have a disorderly conduct charge dropped altogether, depending on the circumstances. We may also help you to avoid more severe sentencing, through our defense in the courtroom. We’ll work with you to best understand your specific situation and formulate a plan of action that can result in a positive end to the charges held against you.

If you’re considering representing yourself as you approach your upcoming court date, we’re here to urge you to reconsider. Attorney representation can be hugely beneficial for disorderly conduct defendants. We work with your best interests in mind, striving to earn a positive outcome for your trial. Beyond that, we offer our clients a variety of benefits, including all of the following:

Knowledge of local law: When it comes to local laws here in Carteret County, North Carolina, we’re very well-read. We understand the ins and outs of our local laws, providing us with an edge in the courtroom. Knowledge can truly prove powerful, and our knowledge may be your saving grace as we defend you against a disorderly conduct charge.

An understanding of court proceedings: Trial proceedings are rather complex. On top of court dates, you’ll have to file paperwork on time. We help you to understand the proceedings that are ahead of you, so that you can rest assured your case will go smoothly.

We protect your rights: As we mentioned, it’s our goal to protect your rights. We’ll do our utmost to help you as you face prosecution for your charge.

We know local legal professionals: As members of the local law community, we know professionals throughout the legal scene, including judges, prosecutors, officers, and the like. We know how best to work with individuals, and we can use that knowledge to navigate court proceedings more fluently.

If you have recently been criminally charged with disorderly conduct, you do not have the luxury of wasting your time. At a time such as this, it is highly encouraged that you get the legal assistance of a knowledgeable Carteret County criminal defense lawyer that you can fully trust. With over two decades of aggregate attorney experience, you can feel confident knowing that you will have a lawyer on your side that understands the law and is prepared to put their experience to work for you.

For high-quality and trustworthy representation in your case, contact a Carteret County disorderly conduct attorney from our firm as soon as possible.