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Guru_Guy, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Attorney trained in criminal law matters, and many years of advising on such matters..
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I was chargerd with Disorderly conduct for calling a ...

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I was chargerd with Disorderly conduct for calling a police officer an idiot. I had gone into the precinct to try to file a complaint about another issure and this officer gave me the "brush off" so upon leaving the precinct after i was outside before the doors had closed i called him an idiot. Should I plead guilty to the charge and pay the fine or should i try to fight this matter??

A lot of the answer here depends on the context. If you used a normal speaking voice and said something like "he is an idiot" that would not be a violation.

Alabama's "disorderly conduct" stature reads as follows:

Section 13A-11-7
Disorderly conduct.
(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:

(1) Engages in fighting or in violent tumultuous or threatening behavior; or

(2) Makes unreasonable noise; or

(3) In a public place uses abusive or obscene language or makes an obscene gesture; or

(4) Without lawful authority, disturbs any lawful assembly or meeting of persons; or

(5) Obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic, or a transportation facility; or

(6) Congregates with other person in a public place and refuses to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse.

(b) Disorderly conduct is a Class C misdemeanor.

It sounds like possibly number 2 or 3 could apply to your situation (depending on how loud you were). But based on your description, your arrest could also be seen as an abuse of police authority. As applied, the arrest could possibly be considered a violation of your First Amendment rights (although this is far from clear).

My suggestion would be to contact the Alabama ACLU and see if they are interested in the case, or can find an interested attorney in the area that might be willing to take the case pro bono (i.e. free to you). Depending on the circumstances, many attorney might be interested in litigating the free speech and police abuse aspects of the case.

I hope this helps!


Please keep in mind that information in this forum is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and does not constitute creation of an attorney client relationship. Before acting on any such information, you are always advised to consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction who can take the time to review all the facts and laws relevant to your situation.
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