Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor offense in Texas that includes noise complaints and altercations in public places. As long as it is a first offense, the penalties are typically minor and include fines and maybe probation.
Texas Disorderly conduct Offenses
According to the Texas Penal Code, you can be charged with disorderly conduct if you do any of these in a public place:
1. Use “abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language,” of the kind likely to provoke a physical altercation. These are known legally as “fighting words.”
2. Make an obscene gesture that is likely to start a physical altercation.
3. Use chemicals to make a “noxious and unreasonable odor.”
4. Verbally abuse or threaten another person “in an obviously offensive manner.”
5. Make an “unreasonable noise” in a public place or near a private residence that’s not your own. The law defines “unreasonable” as making a sound that is more than 85 decibel levels after being warned once by a police officer. Remember, this a state law, separate from any local noise ordinances.
6. Get into a fight with another person.
7. Fire a gun, or display a gun with the intention to scare other people.
8. Expose your genitals or anus in a “reckless” manner that disregards anyone else who might see you and be offended.
9. Peek into someone else’s home or motel room, or into a private restroom, shower stall, or dressing room for “lewd or unlawful purposes.”
Punishments for disorderly conduct in Texas
Most disorderly conduct offenses are Class C misdemeanors, punishable by a fine of up to $500, except for firing or displaying a gun in public. Those are Class B misdemeanors, with a sentence of up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
Typically, you will receive either a small fine, or in the gun cases, possibly probation for a disorderly conduct conviction.