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Adam G. Burke is a top Columbus criminal defense attorney.

Ohio Disorderly conduct is listed among  “offenses against the public peace” under Ohio law. Disorderly conduct is not usually considered a serious crime, but in some cases it can carry jail time and a significant fine.

The other offenses against public peace, like inciting to violence, rioting, aggravated riot, failure to disperse, misconduct at emergency, telecommunications harassment, etc. are generally more serious crimes and carry harsher sentences than disorderly conduct. 1

Still, if you are facing charges for disorderly conduct in Ohio, it’s no laughing matter. Even if you feel you’re wrongly accused, it takes a good lawyer to prove that to the judge. And remember, a criminal record, however petty, can stain your reputation and make it difficult for you to find future employment.

Definition: Ohio Disorderly Conduct

By Ohio law, a person is guilty of disorderly conduct if he or she recklessly causes an annoyance, inconvenience or alarm to another person by:

  • Fighting, threatening to harm a person or a person’s property, or engaging in violent behavior.
  • Making unreasonable amounts of noise, or uttering a coarse and offensive word, or making an offensive gesture, or using abusive language with someone
  • Insulting someone, taunting or issuing challenges with view to provoke a violent response
  • Hindering the free movement of people on a public road or property
  • Endangering a person or a person’s property by creating a situation that serves no reasonable cause

Ohio law also has a separate section for those who indulge in heavy drinking. A person can be accused of disorderly conduct if he, while intoxicated:

  • Engages in behavior that is likely to cause offense, inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to a person
  • Engages in behavior that could cause harm to a person, or the person’s property

Ohio Disorderly Conduct Penalties

Disorderly conduct is a minor misdemeanor in most circumstances. For a minor misdemeanor you have to pay $150 in fines, with absolutely no jail time.

However, in cases where the disorderly conduct was carried out despite a reasonable warning to desist, or near a school, or around an emergency facility person or a law enforcement officer when engaged in duty, it is a misdemeanor of the 4th degree. A 4th degree misdemeanor carries a jail sentence of up to 30 days, and fines of up to $250. 2