Disorderly conduct is a broad term. What does it actually mean? Tennessee laws prohibit a variety of behaviors that disrupt, threaten or offend members of the public.
Police may arrest you in public if you are exhibiting offensive or disruptive actions that interfere with the ability of other people to enjoy a public space. Here are the five main disorderly behaviors that are illegal according to Tennessee criminal statutes.
1. Disorderly conduct
According to state law, disorderly conduct may include:
- Threatening behavior
- Physical fighting
- Making unreasonable noises
- Creating hazardous situations without purpose
- Refusing to disperse during emergencies
As you can see, alcohol does not necessarily need to be a factor to warrant a disorderly conduct charge.
2. Public intoxication
Tennessee is one state in which public intoxication is a separate offense than disorderly conduct. If you appear in a public place while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and partake in annoying or dangerous behavior, the police may arrest you for public intoxication.
3. Funeral interference
Under Tennessee law, it is unlawful to protest, picket or make offensive displays within 500 feet of a funeral, service, burial, viewing or procession.
4. Obstructing a passageway
The public should have unobstructed access to:
If you block people from using these passageways, you may face criminal charges. This law also prohibits disobeying requests to move by authorities who are maintaining public safety during an emergency.
5. Civil rights intimidation
It is illegal to threaten or injure people in an attempt to stop them from exercising their rights or privileges. This includes damaging property in an intimidating manner. The law also says it is illegal to disguise yourself with a mask to break this law.
There are many other offenses that may be referred to under the umbrella of "disorderly conduct," such as rioting, stalking or harassment. Any of these charges may result in a misdemeanor or felony.
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, there are defenses. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney concerning your legal options.