Florida Disorderly Conduct Law - Florida Disorderly Conduct Law, Defenses and Information Florida Statute 877.03

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Florida Disorderly Conduct Law

Disorderly Conduct Statute 877.03
Breach of the peace; disorderly conduct.

Whoever commits such acts as are of a nature to corrupt the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them,
or engages in brawling or fighting, or engages in such conduct as to constitute a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.


509.143 Disorderly conduct on the premises of an establishment; detention; arrest; immunity from liability.--
(1) An operator may take a person into custody and detain that person in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable time if the operator has probable cause to believe that the person was engaging in disorderly conduct in violation of s. 877.03 on the premises of the licensed establishment and that such conduct was creating a threat to the life or safety of the person or others. The operator shall call a law enforcement officer to the scene immediately after detaining a person under this subsection.
(2) A law enforcement officer may arrest, either on or off the premises of the licensed establishment and without a warrant, any person the officer has probable cause to believe violated s. 877.03 on the premises of a licensed establishment and, in the course of such violation, created a threat to the life or safety of the person or others.
(3)operator or a law enforcement officer who detains a person under subsection (1) or makes an arrest under subsection (2) is not civilly or criminally liable for false arrest, false imprisonment, or unlawful detention on the basis of any action taken in compliance with subsection (1) or subsection (2).
(4) A person who resists the reasonable efforts of an operator or a law enforcement officer to detain or arrest that person in accordance with this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, unless the person did not know or did not have reason to know that the person seeking to make such detention or arrest was the operator of the establishment or a law enforcement officer.

Legal information provided by Daytona Beach DUI attorney Kevin J. Pitts

The First amendment protects a significant amount of verbal challenge and criticism directed at police officers. “Speech is often provocative and challenging but it is never the less protected against censorship and punishment unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest. Terminiello v. Chicago 337 U.S. 1, 4, 69 S.Ct. 894, 895. In a concurring opinion Justice Powell in Lewis v. New Orleans suggested that even the fighting words exception might require a narrower application in words addressed at police officers because a properly trained officer may reasonably be expected to show a higher degree of restraint than the average citizen and thus be less likely to respond belligerently to fighting words. Lewis v. New Orleans, 415 U.S.130 at 135. In the face of verbal challenge to police action, officers and municipalities must respond with restraint. The First Amendment recognizes, wisely we think, that a certain amount of expressive disorder not only is inevitable in a society committed to individual freedom, but must itself be protected for that freedom to survive. City of Houston v. Hill, 107 S.Ct. 2502 at 471-472.

Evidence was insufficient to support conviction for disorderly conduct, even though defendant yelled obscenities at police officer, and motorists along roadway where incident occurred slowed or stopped while defendant was yelling; no evidence was presented that defendant's words were fighting words or words that would tend to incite immediate breach of peace, that defendant engaged in any physical conduct toward officer that affected officer's ability to do her job or breached peace or otherwise incited others to act, or that anyone in area was actually incited into engaging in immediate breach of peace. Barry v. State, 934 So. 2d 656 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2006).

A Child's use of loud and profane language, while frustrating and annoying to arresting officer, was not shown to be of such nature as to incite anyone in area to immediate breach of peace, thus, child's speech was protected by First Amendment and child was not guilty of breach of peace. B.R. v. State, 657 So. 2d 1184 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1995).

Evidence that the defendant was “cussing” and arguing in loud voice after law enforcement officer told him to calm down was insufficient to support his conviction for disorderly conduct, where events occurred in defendant's dwelling and there was no evidence that his conduct incited others to breach peace or posed imminent danger to others.

Miller v. State, 667 So. 2d 325 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1995). The mere fact that other people come outside or stop to watch what is going on is insufficient to support a conviction for disorderly conduct; instead, there must be some evidence that the crowd is actually responding to the defendant's words in some way that threatens to breach the peace. Fields v. State, 24 So. 3d 646 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2009).  Blake v. State, 433 So.2d 611(Fla. 1 DCA 1983).

A police dispatcher did not commit disorderly intoxication when he arrived at the station distraught over relationship with a female dispatcher. He crumbled and threw down sunglasses was escorted to a loading ramp, stiffened arms to prevent being handcuffed, put arresting officer in a headlock and ripped a officer’s shirt. The officer’s agreed that the defendant looked intoxicated. The Chief believed that the defendant was intoxicated enough to be arrested for DUI. The Court held under State v. Holden, 299 So.2d 8 (Fla. 1974) and Blake v. State that the conviction must be reversed. Jernigan v. State, 566 So. 2d 39, 40 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1990). In State v. Holden, 299 So. 2d 8, 9 (Fla. 1974), the Florida Supreme Court recognized that Fla. Stat. §856.011 is limited “to situations where the public safety is endangered.” See also Jernigan v. State, 566 So. 2d 39, 40 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990) (“To sustain a conviction for disorderly intoxication as described in section 856.011(1), Fla. Stat.(1997), the State must prove not only that a person is intoxicated but that the public safety is endangered.”) Florida courts have found that actions such as “talking loudly, using profanity, and causing ‘sort of a little disturbance' are insufficient to sustain a conviction for disorderly intoxication” See Blake v. State, 433 So. 2d 611, 612 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983). Appellant's conviction for disorderly intoxication must be reversed as the public safety was never in danger. Mallet, v. State, 11 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 617b. Most disorderly conduct cases result in arrest rather than a notice to appear.

If you are arrested for disorderly conduct you will either be released on own recognizance or allowed to bond out on a fairly low bond. For more information about the bonding out of jail go to  bail bonds.


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