Lara Bracamonte Davila

Doing What Is Right For You

What does a disorderly conduct charge mean to a minor?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2024 | Criminal Defense

If you are a minor in Texas facing a disorderly conduct charge, or the parent of one, it is crucial to understand the implications and potential consequences. Disorderly conduct encompasses a range of behaviors that can disrupt public peace or offend others in public spaces.

Defining disorderly conduct

Per Section 42.01 of the Texas Penal Code, disorderly conduct involves intentional or knowing engagement in acts such as using abusive language inciting an immediate breach of peace in a public place. It can also include making offensive gestures inciting an immediate breach of peace in a public place, or creating noxious odors by chemical means in a public place. The list of possible precipitating actions is almost infinite. Public places include schools and school grounds where the public or a substantial group has access.

Potential consequences

Typically charged as a Class C misdemeanor, disorderly conduct incurs fines up to $500. If a firearm is involved, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor, which increases the fines up to $2,000 and potential jail time. For juveniles, Justice of the Peace or municipal courts handle their cases.

Beyond fines and potential jail time, a disorderly conduct conviction can adversely impact job applications, housing opportunities and education. A criminal record can harm your reputation and cause embarrassment.

Available defenses

When charged with disorderly conduct, minors have the right to defend themselves. Possible defenses include a lack of intentional or knowing action, not acting in a public place or near a private residence or no disturbance or offense caused to others. Other defenses can include a significant provocation for your conduct, reasonable fear of bodily injury by a dangerous wild animal and the constitutional defenses of exercising the right to free speech, expression or assembly. Depending on the case, negotiation with the prosecutor for plea bargains, diversion programs, deferred adjudication or dismissal might be possible.


While disorderly conduct may seem minor, its consequences are serious. Parents and their charged minors facing this charge in Texas should take these charges seriously to build a robust defense, challenge evidence and protect the minor’s interests in court. Do not let a disorderly conduct charge negatively impact your future.