What You Need to Know About Georgia’s Disorderly Conduct Laws

Disorderly conduct is rather common, and could range from shouting offensive and provoking language to physical actions that could appear threatening to the other party. It is sometimes used by police officers when they are upset at the conduct of an individual.

What is disorderly conduct in Georgia?

The O.C.G.A. §16-11-39 cites a person had committed an offense of disorderly conduct if the person:

  • Acts in a violent or tumultuous manner toward another person whereby such person is placed in reasonable fear of the safety of such person’s life, limb, or health;
  • Acts in a violent or tumultuous manner toward another person whereby the property of such person is placed in danger of being damaged or destroyed;
  • Without provocation, uses to or of another person in such other person’s presence, opprobrious or abusive words which by their very utterance tend to incite to an immediate breach of the peace, that is to say, words which as a matter of common knowledge and under ordinary circumstances will, when used to or of another person in such other person’s presence, naturally tend to provoke violent resentment, that is, words commonly called “fighting words”; or
  • Without provocation, uses obscene and vulgar or profane language in the presence of or by telephone to a person under the age of 14 years which threatens an immediate breach of the peace.

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To be convicted of disorderly conduct, the plaintiff must prove they were in a position of reasonable fear for their or their property’s safety. In Georgia, disorderly conduct would result in a misdemeanor charge. Penalties could range from up to 1 year in jail or $1,000 in fines.

Defenses for Disordlery Conduct

There are some ways you could defend a charge for disorderly conduct. One of the ways of defending a charge for disorderly conduct is evidence you were provoked before committing disorderly conduct. Another way to combat a disorderly conduct charge is to prove the plaintiff’s fear for their or their property’s safety was unreasonable.

Related: What to Do If My Husband Sexually Assaulted Me

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