Wisconsin disorderly conduct
Overview of Wisconsin disorderly conduct law
Disorderly Conduct: criminalDisorderly conduct is a very broad charge which if court's followed the letter of the law, should be declared unconstitutional because of all it criminalizes. The application of disorderly conduct and related statutes often involves claims that the exercise of constitutional rights prevents such application or excuses what would otherwise be a criminal violation. For recent discussions, see the following: City of Oak Creek v. King, 148 Wis.2d 532, 436 N.W.2d 285 (1989) (disorderly conduct ordinance); State v. Migliorino, 150 Wis.2d 513, 442 N.W.2d 36 (1989) (criminal trespass to medical facility statute); Milwaukee v. K.F., 145 Wis.2d 24, 426 N.W.2d 329 (1988) (juvenile loitering ordinance); Milwaukee v. Nelson, 149 Wis.2d 434, 439 N.W.2d 562 (1989) (adult loitering ordinance); State v. Dronso, 90 Wis.2d 110, 279 N.W.2d 710 (Ct.App. 1979) ( 947.01). Also see Texas v. Johnson, 109 S.Ct. 2533 (1989), dealing with the federal flag desecration statute. However, Wisconsin's lawmakers have specifically exempted carrying a firearm from the definition of disorderly conduct, unless the person acts with a "criminal or malicious" intent. So, a person who openly carries an assault weapon cannot be arrested and charged with disorderly conduct unless that person is otherwise acting in a threatening way. "Disorderly conduct" may include physical acts or language or both. Simply put, disorderly conduct is any conduct which tends to provoke a disturbance, even if an actual disturbance does not occur. The statute encompasses conduct that tends to cause a disturbance or disruption that is personal or private in nature, as long as there exists the real possibility that this disturbance or disruption will spill over and disrupt the peace, order or safety of the surrounding community as well. Conduct is not punishable under the statute when it tends to cause only personal annoyance to a person. Only conduct that unreasonably offends the sense of decency or propriety of the community is included. It does not include conduct that is generally tolerated by the community at large but that might disturb an oversensitive person.
PenaltiesDisorderly conduct in Wisconsin is Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. While many disorderly conduct convictions involve no jail time, especially for first-time offenders, courts often suspend a jail sentence or order a person to "time served," meaning the jail sentence is satisfied by the time the person already spent in jail after the initial arrest. Probation is also a possibility in a criminal disorderly conduct case. There are also additional penalties for disorderly conduct related to domestic violence. A person is a repeat domestic abuser if he or she: o commits an act of domestic abuse within 72 hours of being arrested for a domestic abuse incident, or o has been previously convicted of two crimes for which the court could impose the special domestic violence fee (see below) within the 10 years (not including any time spent incarcerated). Repeat domestic abusers are subject to increased punishment. Any person who is convicted of any violent or threatening crime, including battery, sexual assault, abuse, intimidation, property damage, trespass, harassment, or violating a restraining order, against a spouse or former spouse, a person with whom the defendant lives or lived, or a person with whom the defendant has children, must pay a special fee of $100. Under federal law, a domestic violence conviction prohibits you from possessing a firearm for life.
Habitual CriminalityA "habitual criminal," is known as a "repeater" in Wisconsin. This is someone who was convicted on at least three separate occasions of a misdemeanor within the last five years or one felony conviction in the last five years. A conviction for criminal disorderly conduct counts as a misdemeanor conviction under the repeater statute in Wisconsin, so three separate convictions for criminal disorderly conduct within five years makes a person a repeater. The crime of disorderly conduct normally carries a maximum penalty of 90 days jail and $1,000.00 fine. If the person charged with the offense is a repeater under Wisconsin law the maximum penalty increases to two years prison.
OrdinanceMany Wisconsin counties and municipalities have an ordinance disorderly conduct statute on the books. An ordinance disorderly conduct charge is not criminal. It carries the possibility of a fine, but no jail sentence. It is also possible to negotiate a criminal disorderly conduct charge down to an ordinance violation. In order to do so, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.