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How Is Disorderly Conduct Defined Under Iowa Law?

Like most states, Iowa has a disorderly conduct law prohibiting specific acts that disturb the peace or are seriously bothersome to others. However, Iowa's disorderly conduct statute is not simply a "catch-all" that allows police to arrest anyone who is acting boisterously or causing a ruckus; but it does list specific conduct that must be proved in court.

Iowa's disorderly conduct statute prohibits fighting or engaging in other violent activity in a public place or where people are lawfully assembled. It prohibits making excessive noise near a home or public building so as to disturb the occupants. Abusive or threatening language can be charged as disorderly conduct but only if it is likely to cause another person to react violently.

A person can be found guilty of disorderly conduct if they knowingly make an untrue claim that there is a fire or other catastrophe. Finally, the disorderly conduct statute prohibits intentional and public conduct disrespectful to the American flag, while intending or reasonably expecting that the conduct will provoke another person to commit an assault or trespass.

Disorderly conduct is a simple misdemeanor in Iowa. The criminal penalties include a fine of $65 to $625. Instead of the fine, or in addition to it, the court can impose a jail sentence of up to 30 days.

Fortunately, there are a number of defenses to criminal charges of disorderly conduct. In a situation involving a fight, for example, a defendant can get the charges dropped by showing he or she was defending themselves or another person. In cases involving noise or disrespectful treatment of the flag, a defendant can argue that they were exercising their free speech rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Following any type of criminal charge, it is important that the accused is aware of their criminal defense options. This could help the defendant understand their situation, what consequences he or she might face and methods to reduce or even dismiss the charges against them.

Source: Findlaw, "Iowa Disorderly Conduct Laws," accessed Jan. 4, 2016

Categories
  • The Iowa State Bar Association
  • DUI Defense Law
  • NACDL
  • AAJ
  • Iowa Association of Justice

Keegan, Tindal, & Mason 

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  • J. Dean Keegan
  • Eric D. Tindal
  • Andrea D. Mason
  • J. Dean Keegan J. Dean Keegan

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    Decades of Award-Winning Legal Service J. Dean Keegan was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. After high school, Dean served ...
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  • Eric D. Tindal Eric D. Tindal

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    Highly Rated Criminal Defense in Iowa City Eric D. Tindal, attorney at Keegan, Tindal & Mason, graduated from the University ...
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  • Andrea D. Mason Andrea D. Mason

    Attorney

    Experienced Criminal Defense in the Iowa and Illinois Quad Cities Andrea D. Mason practices in the areas of white collar ...
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  • Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana and Methamphetamine Charges Dismissed

    Washington Count FECR5351. Attorney Tindal and Attorney Clemens Erdahl successfully argued that evidence of drug manufacture was obtained in violation of the Constitution. All charges were dismissed.

  • Possession with Intent to Distribute Charges Dismissed

    Iowa County FECR010358. Attorney Tindal was able to show the Court that his client was detained in violation of his Constitutional rights and that the K9 utilized in the search was unreliable. Following hearing all charges were dismissed.

  • Vehicular Homicide Charges Reduced

    Johnson County FECR68296. The Defendant was charged with Vehicular Homicide. Following a suppression hearing, Mr. Tindal and his co-counsel were able to show that the blood test result was taken in violation of implied consent procedures. The case was subsequently resolved for a misdemeanor.

  • Second Degree Sexual Abuse and Other Charges Acquittal at Trial

    Johnson County FECR089277. The Defendant was charged with Second Degree Sexual Abuse and other charges. Following a one-week trial by Mr. Tindal, the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.

  • Trafficking Stolen Weapons and Misdemeanor Theft Charge Dismissed

    Scott County FECR384046. The Defendant was charged with Trafficking Stolen Weapons and Misdemeanor Theft. The Court dismissed the felony following a Motion litigated by Mr. Tindal. The Defendant subsequently pled to the remaining misdemeanor.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Reduced to Public Intoxication

    Johnson County OWCR116811. The Defendant was charged with Operating While Intoxicated. Mr. Tindal was able to win the Iowa Dept of Transportation appeal and have the blood test result thrown out. The case was resolved for a public intoxication charge and no loss of license.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Second Offense Reduced to Public Intoxication

    Washington County OWIN010946. The Defendant was charged with Operating While Intoxicated Second Offense. Following long negotiations with the State the Defendant was able to plead to a Public Intoxication and have his driving privileges reinstated.

  • First Degree Murder and Child Endangerment Causing Death Acquitted of First Degree Murder at Trial

    Henry County FECR005634. Attorney Tindal’s client was charged with First Degree Murder and Child Endangerment Causing Death. Following a two week trial, the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.

  • Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree Conviction Reversed on Appeal

    Iowa Supreme Court No. 04-361. The Defendant was convicted of Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree. On appeal, Mr. Tindal successfully argued that the conviction was based on improperly admitted evidence. The conviction was reversed.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Record Expunged

    Johnson OWCR106890. Attorney Dean Keegan's client received an Operating While Intoxicated, a serious misdemeanor. After reviewing the videos, Mr. Keegan filed a Motion to Suppress arguing the officer denied his client's right to make a phone call. The State declined to present testimony at the hearing and the Motion to Suppress was granted, making the client eligible for a deferred judgment. Mr. Keegan's client will have her record expunged and be able to obtain a license after 90 days instead of 180.

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