Nashville Attorney Explains Disorderly Conduct in Tennessee: What It Is… and Isn’t

Recently, Metro Nashville Police Officers underwent a refresher course on the law of “Disorderly Conduct.”It stands to reason that if police officers could use a refresher course on the law, then citizens would benefit from a brief lesson as well.  Nashville has several spots where large groups of people can enjoy live music, good food and drink, and where police officers are needed so the revelry of one person won’t spoil the fun of another.  To help promote the safety of others and maintain order, the Tennessee Legislature permits police officers to arrest individuals for the offense of Disorderly Conduct.

Disorderly conduct is defined under Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-305 as follows:

(a)    A person commits an offense who, in a public place and with intent to cause public annoyance or alarm

  1. Engages in fighting or in violent or threatening behavior;
  2. Refuses to obey an official order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, hazard or other emergency; or
  3. Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act that serves no legitimate purpose.

(b)   A person also violates this section who makes unreasonable noise that prevents others from carrying on lawful activities

Now here is what Disorderly Conduct is Not: (Please note this is NOT advisable behavior, albeit non-criminal)

1)      Using profanity or insults when addressing a police officer

2)      Getting angry or argumentative with a police officer

3)      Laughing at a police officer

4)      Smarting off/Running your mouth to a police officer

5)      Generally being Rude to a police officer

From my experience serving in the District Attorney’s Office in Nashville, I can attest that the Police Officers in Nashville have very thick skin.  In fact, most people who get cuffed for disorderly conduct in Nashville really had to try hard to get arrested.  In almost all of those cases, an arrest could have been avoided simply by following the officer’s command, and treating the officer as you would expect to be treated.  Nevertheless, arrests are sometimes made for actions that are not prohibited by law.

If you have been arrested for Disorderly Conduct or any other Criminal Offense in Nashville, you should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney in Nashville. The officer who arrested you will be subpoenaed to Court, and he will be represented by an experienced Prosecuting Attorney.  Don’t make the mistake of walking into that courtroom on your own, without an experienced criminal defense attorney who regularly practices in Nashville and Davidson County.

Our Nashville Criminal Defense Attorneys regularly handle the defense of all misdemeanor and felony criminal cases. Call us today to discuss your case at (615) 829 – 8259.

Provided by:

Joel W. Crim

Shipman & Crim, PLC

Attorneys at Law

332 White Bridge Pike

Nashville, Tennessee 37209

(615) 829 – 8259

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