Written by attorney Christopher Wesley Keyser

An Overview of Disorderly Conduct Laws in Minnesota

In Minnesota, a “disorderly conduct" is a misdemeanor offense carrying a maximum punishment of 90 days in jail or a $1,000.00 fine, or both. This guide explains what disorderly conduct is, how and why people are charged with disorderly conduct and common resolutions in court.

The Definition of “Disorderly Conduct" in Minnesota

Several actions are considered disorderly conduct in Minnesota, such as:

  • Brawling or fighting
  • Disturbing an assembly or meeting in some unlawful manner
  • Engaging in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous or noisy conduct
  • Engaging in offensive, obscene or abusive language


  • Disorderly conduct caused by epileptic seizures are NOT considered disorderly conduct

Other Disorderly Conduct Requirements:

  • The action must reasonably arouse alarm, anger or resentment in others
  • The person doing the action must know, or at least have reasonable grounds to know, that the action would alarm, anger, disturb others or provoke an assault or breach of peace
  • The action must be done in a public or private place, which includes school buses

Stronger Penalties for “Caregivers"

Any caregiver who commits disorderly conduct on a vulnerable adult can be convicted of a gross misdemeanor, which carries a maximum punishment of 1 year in jail or a $3,000.00 fine, or both.

A “caregiver" is an individual or facility who has responsibility for the care of a vulnerable adult as a result of a family relationship or who has assumed responsibility for all or a portion of the care of a vulnerable adult voluntarily, by contract or by agreement.

A “vulnerable adult" is any person 18 years of age or older who:

  • Is a resident inpatient of a facility,
  • Receives services at or from a facility required to be licensed to serve adults except that a person receiving outpatient services for treatment of chemical dependency or mental illness, or one who is committed as a sexual psychopathic personality or as a sexually dangerous person is not considered a vulnerable adult,
  • Receives services from a home care provider required to be licensed or from a person or organization that exclusively offers, provides, or arranges for personal care assistance services under the medical assistance program, or
  • Regardless of residence or whether any type of service is received, possesses a physical or mental infirmity or other physical, mental, or emotional dysfunction: (1) that impairs the individual's ability to provide adequately for the individual's own care without assistance, including the provision of food, shelter, clothing, health care, or supervision; and (2) because of the dysfunction or infirmity and the need for assistance, the individual has an impaired ability to protect the individual from maltreatment.

Disorderly Conduct is a Common Charge

The most common disorderly conduct scenarios are assaults, domestic assaults, bar fights, brawls and altercations involving alcohol such as heated arguments. With these types of cases, disorderly conduct charges are often added as leverage by the prosecution. Because the definition of disorderly conduct is so broad, simple acts can constitute disorderly conduct – such as arguing loudly in the street or being too noisy at a house party. With this broad statutory language, disorderly conduct charges can sometimes be difficult to defend at trial. Defenses often depend on witness recollection and testimony that is contrary to the prosecution’s version of events.

Prosecutors often charge persons with both disorderly conduct and a more serious offense, such as domestic assault or some type of gross misdemeanor, and then offer to dismiss the more serious charge in exchange for the person pleading guilty to the disorderly conduct.

Another common scenario is when a person is charged with assault only but agrees to plead guilty to either an “added" charge or “amended" charge of disorderly conduct. Because many charges are often “plead down" in this way, disorderly conduct is a common charge in Minnesota.

Common Punishment for Disorderly Conduct

For persons with no criminal history who are convicted of disorderly conduct, receiving jail time is highly unlikely. Typically the person is ordered to pay a monetary fine in the range of $200.00 to $500.00 and to also complete community service. Nearly every disorderly conduct conviction comes with probation, typically for 1 to 2 years, and conditions that the person remain law abiding and commit no “same or similar" offenses.

If drugs or alcohol were involved with the case, the court may order the person to submit to random urinalysis tests or impose a “no use of alcohol or drugs" condition as well. If the person violates any condition ordered by the court while on probation, any jail time that was “stayed" or “suspended" could then be executed. In other words, the person is placed on probation instead of being sent to jail. The amount of jail time the court could have ordered the person to serve is “suspended" on the order that the person abide by the court’s conditions.

Minnesota Disorderly Conduct & Criminal Defense Attorney

If you face disorderly conduct or other criminal charges in Minnesota, it is always advantageous to contact a criminal defense attorney. Having experienced counsel review the facts and circumstances of your case improves your ability to properly defend your case and potentially dismiss or reduce charges altogether. For more information on disorderly conduct and criminal defenses in Minnesota, contact defense attorney Christopher Keyser at (612) 338-5007 for a free, confidential and pressure-free consultation.

Free Q&A with lawyers in your area

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer