The Criminal Defense Law Center of
West Michigan

Disorderly Person

The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan has represented people charged under Michigan’s “disorderly person” statue. This statute reads that a “person who is intoxicated in a public place and who is either endangering directly the safety of another person or property or is acting in a manner that causes a public disturbance.” There are also many city ordinances as well that deal with disorderly person charges. For example, one local city ordinance states that “No person shall be intoxicated in a public place and endanger directly the safety of another person.”

The Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court have found that “public disturbance” does not provide clear guidance as to what kind of conduct might be illegal. What one person finds disturbing, another person might not find disturbing at all.

Michigan Courts have solved this problem by focusing on the portion of the law that makes it a crime to directly endanger a person’s property or safety. A person can not get in trouble for just being drunk, a person must be drunk and engage in actions that directly endanger a person’s safety or property. Under this current law, it is not illegal to be a danger to yourself.

You can endanger your own safety and that is not illegal. If you pass out from being intoxicated on a sidewalk outside a restaurant, unless there are more facts, you are not guilty of disorderly person. If you hire The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan to represent you, we will raise this defense where it is appropriate.

One other important thing to note about disorderly person charges is that the conduct must take place in an area that open to the public. As a general rule of thumb, a public place is considered an area that is open for business or visitation by any member of society. A restaurant is a good example of a public place.

Disorderly Person Penalties

The maximum punishment for this charge is 90 days in jail and/or a $500.00 fine. Don’t face these charges alone. Call Shawn today at 616-438-6719. He will be happy to answer any questions you have and make sure your rights are protected.

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