As citizens of the United States, we typically enjoy a general freedom of speech and freedom to assemble. In many cases, we have the right to say what we feel in public and to stand or gather in common space. In some instances, the Supreme Court has even extended this protection to include profanity.
These freedoms, however, are not without restriction. Many local ordinances prohibit certain forms of disruptive behavior. In Marietta, this is called disorderly conduct. If you receive a disorderly conduct charge, you should retain the services of an established attorney. A Marietta disorderly conduct lawyer could fight for a dismissal.
Marietta Disorderly Conduct Ordinance
Part 10, Chapter 10-4, Section 10-4-010 of the Marietta Code of Ordinances lists the following behaviors as constituting disorderly conduct:
- Act in a violent or tumultuous manner toward another, whereby a reasonable person would be placed in fear of safety for life or limb
- Place the property of another in serious danger of being destroyed or damaged
- Use fighting words directed toward another, who becomes outraged and thus creates a turmoil
- Violently interfere with another’s pursuit of a lawful occupation
- Congregate with others to halt the flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic and refuse to clear the way when ordered by lawful authority to do so
A Marietta disorderly conduct lawyer may be able to provide more insight on disorderly conduct ordinance.
What are Fighting Words?
The term fighting words might sound quaint, but it is a term that is still used in law to refer to a certain brand of inflammatory language. In Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, the Supreme Court defined fighting words as those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.
It may be counterintuitive to imagine that someone could face charges because someone attacked them for the words they spoke. If those words are understood by the court to be fighting words, however, the speaker can face charges of disorderly conduct.
It can be difficult in practice to balance a generally recognized right to free speech, and the doctrine of fighting words, which the Supreme Court decision is not protected by the free speech clause of the first amendment of the Constitution.
Disorderly Conduct Law in Marietta
Acting in a violent or tumultuous manner is not the same as assault or battery which each contains clear elements that must be met to prove culpability. It is a vague standard which can apply to behavior that does not quite rise to the level of assault but is nonetheless considered disorderly.
Halting the flow of pedestrian traffic on a sidewalk is a thin line between protecting the right to peaceably assemble granted by the first amendment of the Constitution and arresting members of the citizenry for gathering on the sidewalk. Speak with a Marietta disorderly conduct lawyer to learn more.
Consult with a Marietta Disorderly Conduct Attorney Today
If you receive a charge of disorderly conduct in Marietta, a Marietta disorderly conduct attorney can work to show you were acting within your constitutional rights. It is better than fighting it on your own, because a Marietta disorderly conduct lawyer may be able to articulate exactly why the behavior in question is constitutionally protected or did not meet the criteria set forth in the disorderly conduct ordinance.
Because of the vagueness of the ordinance, a disorderly conduct charge may be worth fighting. Take the first step in fighting for your rights and contact a Marietta disorderly conduct attorney.