Tennessee law prohibits a variety of behaviors that annoy or disrupt other people in public. If you are facing criminal charges for disturbing the peace, you may be feeling uncertain about your options.
Thankfully, you may be able to defend against these charges with the assistance of a criminal law attorney. But first, you should understand what kind of behavior the law prohibits. Here is some information about Tennessee disorderly conduct laws and potential defenses against them.
What constitutes disorderly conduct
Violations of public peace and safety in Tennessee include:
- Public intoxication: Appearing under the influence of alcohol or drugs, causing unreasonable annoyance or endangerment
- Disorderly conduct: Threatening behavior, creating hazardous conditions, being unreasonably noisy or fighting
- Civil rights intimidation: Threatening or injuring someone to prevent him or her from exercising rights or privileges
- Obstructing a passageway: Obstructing a sidewalk, highway, hallway or elevator
Penalties for such charges may be misdemeanors or felonies.
Defenses against disorderly conduct charges
If you are dealing with charges of this nature, you may be able to claim you were simply partaking in horseplay. Being a little loud or rowdy with your friends does not necessarily mean you were doing something illegal. You may be able to claim you were simply having fun or tussling with your buddies and did not have an intent to cause harm.
Additionally, if the charges involve fighting or violence, you may be able to claim you were acting in self-defense. While the police may simply arrest everyone involved in a fight, you may be able to prove that you were simply defending yourself.
Do not assume prosecutors have an easy case against you. While you may not think the situation looks good, you may be able to effectively defend against the charge with help from a criminal defense lawyer. With a good defense, your charges may be dropped or reduced.