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Massachusetts Disorderly Conduct Lawyer

Charges for Disorderly Conduct can happen if you cause a public disturbance. For example, if you are involved in an argument with someone in a public area that escalates to a certain point, you can potentially be charged with Disorderly Conduct. Your behavior does not actually need to be violent, and no injuries need to occur for you to be charged. Words alone can potentially get you a Disorderly Conduct charge. 

Under Massachusetts law, a “disorderly person” is defined as one who engages in fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior, or creates a hazardous or offensive condition that serves no legitimate purpose.

If you are convicted of Disorderly Conduct, you may be fined, create a criminal record for yourself, and even incarcerated for subsequent offenses. Therefore, it is imperative to have a legal defense to such charges to avoid having a criminal conviction on your criminal record. 

If you are charged with Disorderly Conduct, contact Disorderly Conduct Attorney, David Ellison, today at (401) 230-5520 and allow him to use his expertise to fight for you. Attorney Ellison is an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney who has represented many people on charges of Disorderly Conduct


Potential punishments for Disorderly Conduct are provided by M.G.L. c. 272 section 53 which include:

  • Fine up to $150 (first offense)
  • Jail sentence for not more than 6 months and/or a fine of up to $200 (second offense)
  • Potential criminal conviction 


To prove you guilty of Disorderly Conduct, the prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That you involved yourself in at least one of the following actions: a) You either engaged in fighting or threatening, or engaged in violent or tumultuous behavior; or b) You created a hazardous or physically offensive condition by an act that served no legitimate purpose for you.
  2. That your actions were reasonably likely to affect the public; and
  1. That you either intended to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or recklessly created a risk of public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm.

What types of “actions” are prohibited in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts Disorderly Conduct law seeks to control intentional conduct that tends to alarm or provoke others, or to disturb the public tranquility. It prohibits four separate and distinct acts:

  • Conduct that involves the use of force or violence.
  • Making threats that involve the immediate use of force or violence.
  • Tumultuous and highly agitated behavior, which may not involve physical violence, but which causes riotous commotion and excessively unreasonable noise, and so constitutes a public nuisance.
  • Any conduct that creates a hazard to public safety or a physically offensive condition by an act that serves no legitimate purpose for you.

How is “the public” defined in Massachusetts?

“The public” is defined as persons in a place to which the public or a substantial group has access.

How is “recklessly” defined in Massachusetts?

You act recklessly when you consciously ignore, or you are indifferent to, the probable outcome of your actions. You were reckless if you knew, or must have known, that such actions would create a substantial and unjustifiable risk of public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, but you chose, nevertheless, to run the risk and go ahead.

If you are charged with Disorderly Conduct in Massachusetts, contact Disorderly Conduct Attorney, David Ellison, at (401) 230-5520 about your case. 

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