Hello, I am 23 and I was charged with Disorderly Conduct ( A.R.S. 13-2904.A) in Mesa, AZ next to the Salt River recreation area.
I was handcuffed but never read my Miranda Rights, so I am unsure whether or not an arrest was truly made. I would normally assume that the act of restraining an individual (i.e. handcuffs) so they cannot leave the situation without the permission of police officers would constitute an arrest. (But again I am not a lawyer.)
My ticket has no further information besides my name, etc, etc, and the officer's info. There is no description of my actions nor is there any indication of what paragraph of A.R.S. 13-2904.A I was in-violation of.
I was with a group of 10 people at the time I was handcuffed and given my ticket. But I must stress ALL of us had been drinking, myself included. We were all over the legal drinking age and spent the afternoon on the 5 hour river float drinking and skipped lunch, the temperature was over 105 degrees this afternoon as well.
Upon returning to the recreation area a group of people began to heckle our crowd as we stood in line to return the innertubes we rented. The group taunted and provoked many members of our group before boarding a bus and leaving. After the group left myself and some other members of our group were discussing the "rudeness" of the strangers. My girlfriend in particular was very upset and I became animated and loud in my discussion of the situation. I wanted to let someone know about the situation (which would have done nothing, but at the time I was drunk). My friends put their hands on me in a manner which would appear like I was being held back. In fact, 3 friends were surrounding me and talking to me about how big a waste of time it would be to make a complaint.
In this moment, I was pushed to the ground and placed in handcuffs. I was never read my Miranda Rights. I provided only the personal information needed to fill the ticket, avoided speaking at all to avoid any self-incriminating statements, and then was released.
Do I stand a chance of getting this dismissed? If not, how good are my chances of knocking it down from a misdemeanor so I can avoid having a criminal record (this would be my first misdemeanor).
One of the misconceptions about criminal cases is that being read Miranda rights automatically will get your case dismissed. Miranda is only required if there is a custodial interrogation. Violataion of Miranda will result in any statements made being inadmissible. Sometimes that results in the entire case being dismissed, but it doesn't mean that it automatically will be dismissed.
It's hard to give you an assessment of fighting the case without sitting down and getting your full side of the story and seeing what a police reports says about the incident. Once an attorney has done that, he or she will be able to give you a better assessment of your situation.
Also, disorderly conduct is a class 1 misdemeanor. It carries with it a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail, up to 3 years of probation, and a fine of $2500 plus surcharges. A class 1 misdemeanor is considered the most serious level misdemeanor that you can be charged with in the state of Arizona. I highly recommend that you speak with an attorney about representing you in your matter.
Miranda Rights only need to be read if the police are attempting to get a confession from you or are going to use your statements against you in court. Miranda must be read once you are under arrest and the police want to ask you incriminating questions. If your Miranda rights were violated it does not result in the dismissal of your case. It results in your statements not being used in court.
Can you get this reduced? It depends on the evidence and it depends on what the prosecution is willing to do based on our arguments. You need to retain a lawyer and begin the defense process. It sounds like there was a lot going on all at the same time. Was this an act of trying to defend yourself from taunting? Were you provoked? Will the witnesses show in court?
These are all issues that need to be flushed out.
Aaron M. Black
Criminal & DUI Defense Attorney
Martindale AV® Preeminent™ Lawyer
2012 Southwest SuperLawyer Rising Star
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Law Office of Aaron M. Black, PLLC
3219 East Camelback Road #573
Phoenix, AZ 85018
Office #: 480-729-1683
I Agree with my colleague's very good answer. You need to directly consult a lawyer for him or her to full assess the circumstances. There are many different approaches to challenging and resisting such charges, but which one may ultimately succeed will depend on the particular circumstances. Contact and meet with an attorney.
The prosecutor will have to prove that you had the INTENT to disturb the peace. Keep in mind that "proof" can come in the form of a random drunken witness willing to respond to the subpoena.
Here is the statute you were charged under:
13-2904. Disorderly conduct; classification
A. A person commits disorderly conduct if, with intent to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family or person, or with knowledge of doing so, such person:
1. Engages in fighting, violent or seriously disruptive behavior; or
2. Makes unreasonable noise; or
3. Uses abusive or offensive language or gestures to any person present in a manner likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation by such person; or
4. Makes any protracted commotion, utterance or display with the intent to prevent the transaction of the business of a lawful meeting, gathering or procession; or
5. Refuses to obey a lawful order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, a hazard or any other emergency; or
6. Recklessly handles, displays or discharges a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
B. Disorderly conduct under subsection A, paragraph 6 is a class 6 felony. Disorderly conduct under subsection A, paragraph 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 is a class 1 misdemeanor.
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