If you’re an Auburn University Student, you probably recognize that these offenses are not uncommon for Auburn’s bar scene, and if you’ve ever been to Skybar, 17-16, Quixotes, or any of the other downtown venues, you’re sure to have seen at least one bar fight which ended with someone getting thrown out by a bouncer. Even once you’ve left the bar, it’s not unusual to witness people stumbling drunkenly down the sidewalk, yelling to their friends across the street, puking in a garbage can, or simply slouching on a bench in a drunken stupor.
Disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in Auburn, Alabama are two charges which, when considering the typical circumstances of their incident, tend to go hand in hand. Usually fueled by alcohol or drug consumption, what starts as innocent roughhousing can easily escalate into what could be criminal behavior.
Disorderly Conduct: Alabama Code § 13A-11-7
In §13A-11-7 of the Alabama Criminal Code, disorderly conduct is defined through a list of six specific offenses:
“(a) A person commits the crime of disorderly conduct if, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he or she does any of the following:
(1) Engages in fighting or in violent tumultuous or threatening behavior.
(2) Makes unreasonable noise.
(3) In a public place uses abusive or obscene language or makes an obscene gesture.
(4) Without lawful authority, disturbs any lawful assembly or meeting of persons.
(5) Obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic, or a transportation facility.
(6) Congregates with other person in a public place and refuses to comply with a lawful order of law enforcement to disperse.”
Resisting Arrest: Alabama Code §13A-10-41
Since individuals who engage in disorderly conduct are often under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it’s not uncommon for their judgement to be clouded enough that they choose to resist their arrest. As described in Alabama Code §13A-10-14, a person commits the crime of resisting arrest if, “he intentionally prevents or attempts to prevent a police officer from affecting a lawful arrest of himself or another person.” Behaviors that will land you with this charge include: pulling away, running away, yelling at police officers, threatening to get them fired, or a variety of other actions which are simply obstructive and uncalled for, and all of which will have a negative impact on your defense in court.
In Alabama, disorderly conduct is considered a class C misdemeanor, a charge which can land you with fines of up to $500, a jail sentence up to three months, or both. Worse than that, this isn’t even including the additional misdemeanor from resisting arrest or the many other charges which often accompany disorderly conduct such as: harassment (§13A-11-8), public intoxication (§13A-11-10), or, if you’re also under 21, minor in possession of alcohol (§28-1-5). Given the nature of these crimes and their typical relationship with alcohol, it can be shockingly easy to land yourself with a number of criminal charges, resulting in thousands of dollars in legal fees, fines, and even possible jail time. In the event that you’ve been stopped by a police officer for disorderly conduct, the best thing you can do is to cooperate fully and behave like a respectable young adult.
How to Avoid Multiple Charges
As it was said before, disorderly conduct charges are often accompanied by a variety of other charges determined during contact with the arresting officer. As obvious as it may seem, the most effective way to avoid this is to simply behave yourself once in police custody. You may be aware of the stereotype of entitled college students who, from the point of police contact, begin forcefully arguing their innocence, yelling and screaming, thrashing around the back of the squad car, insulting police officers personally, or a variety of other disruptive behaviors. This is the quickest way to make your attorney’s job very difficult. If you and your attorney have any hope of convincing a judge to drop your charges or lessen your sentence, you don’t want on record that you called your arresting officer a “pig,” that you spit in his face, or that you threatened to have Dad get him fired; this simply won’t fly. Your attorney’s goal is to convince the court that you’ve made mistakes and that you’re a good kid who deserves a second chance. This will be much more convincing if you just keep your cool. Besides, the obvious solution of avoiding disorderly conduct entirely, improving your chances of a light sentence or even a dismissal of charges is as simple as acting like a decent human being.
Disorderly conduct and resisting arrest are charges which will not look good on a permanent record. If you’ve been charged with any of the crimes listed above, it’s incredibly important that you find an attorney with extensive experience in collegiate criminal defense. Attorney Jeff Tickal of Gullage & Tickal has had years of experience defending Auburn students, and, as a former instructor in the school of building science, has a sincere connection with and understanding of Auburn students which carries over effectively into each case he defends.