Ohio law defines disorderly conduct as an “offense against the public peace.” FindLaw explains that, in general, disorderly conduct refers to any unruly or obnoxious public behaviors in which you engage that likely will lead to a disturbance or other non-peaceful event. Alternatively, disorderly conduct refers to fighting or any other noisy activity in which you engage that alarms, annoys or inconveniences someone else.
Specifically, Ohio’s disorderly conduct statute prevents the following:
- Recklessly taunting or insulting people, making offensively course gestures toward them or preventing them from moving on a public street
- Drunkenly acting in such a way as to present a risk of physical harm to yourself, someone else or their property
- Drunkenly acting offensively in a public place, defined as in the presence of two or more people
In addition to its disorderly conduct statute, Ohio has two additional statutes relating to prohibited public activities.
You can face charges of disturbing a lawful meeting if you allegedly say or do something intended to disrupt or prevent a lawful gathering, meeting or procession that “outrages the sensibilities” of its participants.
You can face charges of misconduct at an emergency if you allegedly do any of the following:
- Knowingly hinder a law enforcement officer, firefighter or other official at the scene of an emergency
- Knowingly disobey a lawful order given to you by one of these officials at the scene of an emergency
- Knowingly hinder the lawful activities of emergency personnel at an emergency facility
If convicted of disorderly conduct, you face having to pay a maximum $150 fine, but no jail time, for this “minor misdemeanor.”
If convicted of disturbing a lawful meeting or misconduct at an emergency, you face a 30-day jail sentence and a maximum $250 fine for this fourth-degree misdemeanor. However, if your emergency scene behavior placed people or property at risk of physical harm, this represents a first-degree misdemeanor for which you face a 6-month jail sentence and a maximum $1,000 fine.