The After Party of Spring Break – Disorderly Conduct

By: Hugo Sanchez *

Welcome back Bearkats! We hope that your spring break went wonderfully and smoothly. To those that traveled out of town, we are glad to have you back in Huntsville. Spring break is the time of year when many students travel to milder climates to enjoy their freedom from school, but sometimes it’s much more than parties and beaches. Mistakes will sometimes be made and students may come back home with a ticket looming over their heads. We are going to go over a few legal issues students may have faced during their spring break. Our blog series begins with disorderly conduct.

Texas Penal Code Sec. 42.01 defines Disorderly conduct as:

    • A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly:
      • (1) uses abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace;
      • (2) makes an offensive gesture or display in a public place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace;
      • (3) creates, by chemical means, a noxious and unreasonable odor in a public place;
      • (4) abuses or threatens a person in a public place in an obviously offensive manner;
      • (5) makes unreasonable noise in a public place other than a sport shooting range, as defined by Section 250.001, Local Government Code, or in or near a private residence that he has no right to occupy;
      • (6) fights with another in a public place;
      • (7) discharges a firearm in a public place other than a public road or a sport shooting range, as defined by Section 250.001, Local Government Code;
      • (8) displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm;
      • (9) discharges a firearm on or across a public road;
      • (10) exposes his anus or genitals in a public place and is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act;         or
      • (11) for a lewd or unlawful purpose:
        • (A) enters on the property of another and looks into a dwelling on the property through any window or other opening in the dwelling;
        • (B) while on the premises of a hotel or comparable establishment, looks into a guest room not the person’s own through a window or other opening in the room; or
        • (C) while on the premises of a public place, looks into an area such as a restroom or shower stall or changing or dressing room that is designed to provide privacy to a person using the area.

An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor except for sections (7) and (8), which are class B misdemeanors.

Defense to Prosecution

  • It is a defense to prosecution under section (4) that the actor had significant provocation for his abusive or threatening conduct.
  • It is a defense to prosecution for an offense under sections (7) or (9) that the person who discharged the firearm had a reasonable fear of bodily injury to the person or to another by a dangerous wild animal.

Class C Misdemeanor

  • Class C misdemeanors in Texas are punishable by a fine of up to $500.
  • (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12.23.)

Class B Misdemeanor

  • Class B misdemeanors in Texas are punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.
  • (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12.22.)

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment feel free to call us at 936-294-1717 or email us at slms@shsu.edu.

 

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