In Texas, there are rules about how to behave in public. All Texans are expected to treat each other with a decent amount of respect, especially while we are in a public place, for example, while we are at work, out shopping, or dining in a restaurant, or watching a game at a local sports bar.
When people cross the line, and start shouting at one another, cursing, or otherwise “disturbing the peace,” then they can be arrested and charged with disorderly conduct under Section 42.01 of the Texas Penal Code.
Under Sec. 42.01, you can commit the offense of disorderly conduct whenever you are in a public place and you intentionally or knowingly:
- Use offensive gestures
- Yell at someone
- Threaten someone while in a public place
- Have a fight with someone while you are out in public
- Make unreasonable noise while in public
- Use foul language in a manner that is offensive
- Discharge a firearm while you are on a public road
- Expose your genitals in a reckless or offensive manner
An offense under Sec. 42.01 of the Texas Penal Code is typically a Class C misdemeanor, except when the offense has to do with a firearm, in which case it is a Class B misdemeanor. Under Section 12.23 of the Texas Penal Code, a Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 and no jail time.
Although a Class C misdemeanor does not involve jail time, it still results in a black mark on a person’s criminal record. Since a criminal conviction can affect many aspects of a person’s life, such as housing and employment, all defendants should fight their criminal charges, even for a seemingly minor offense like disorderly conduct.