Penalties for a NYS Disorderly Conduct Conviction under NY Penal Law § 240.20

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Have you been arrested or given a summons for disorderly conduct in violation of New York Penal Law § 240.20? Disorderly conduct constitutes a penal infraction, which is different than a motor vehicle infraction such as speeding. Because it is a penal infraction, it is much more serious. Our NY criminal court lawyers and attorneys are the best at defending against disorderly conduct, and have dedicated a career to defending ordinary people just like you from being convicted of disorderly conduct, NY Penal L § 240.20, or “discon” as it is referred to.

If you are convicted of disorderly conduct the sentences are as follows:

  • Up to 15 days in jail, and / or
  • Up to a $250.00 fine, and
  • If you damaged property, restitution, and possibly
  • Community Service
  • However, the biggest sentence is that it will it will create for you a lifelong, permanent blemish on your penal history. Anytime someone does a criminal background check upon you it will appear, even though it is not a crime.

Never Plead Guilty to Disorderly Conduct without
speaking to Disorderly Conduct Defense Lawyer

When charged with disorderly conduct, it is often very tempting for a person to simply plead guilty as charged at the first court appearance to “get it over with.” They can pay a fine and be done with it. While seemingly painless, this route may come back to haunt you for years to come. Just because it is a violation and not a crime does not mean that the conviction will be sealed. A sealing order does not seal the Court file, just the arrest records. Since the court file is still available to the public is available to background checkers and the general public. In order to get the file (court and arrest records) totally sealed the case must be dismissed.

Often, clients without records who are offered the Penal Law 240.20 in the NYC Criminal Courts and want to keep their records clean try to get a further reduction to an ACD, which results in a complete sealing under CPL 160.50. The sealing under 160.50 seals not only the arrest but also the court file.

Nonetheless, there are times when it is wise to accept the 240.20 Disorderly Conduct offer. One such time is when the conduct rose to the level of other misdemeanor charges which have yet to be filed. This happened recently with one of our clients in which he assaulted a gas station clerk and was charged by the police with discon because the police did not realize how badly injured the clerk was. Subsequently the prosecutor got the medical records and disclosed them to our office. We could see that his injuries rose to the level of a Class “A” misdemeanor assault. Rather than push our luck, we advised our client to plead guilty as charged to the discon at the next court date. This protected him forever more from a permanent criminal record, which means that he will not have to answer "yes" on a job application to a question asking whether they have ever been convicted of a crime.

However, in cases where there is no misdemeanor charged or could be charged, the top charge is just NY Penal Law § 240,20, and the prosecutor refuses to dismiss, it is often the best choice to take the case to trial. In such a scenario you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Often times a lawyer will make a written motion to dismiss when the written allegations do not rise to the level of a violation.

If you have been charged with disorderly conduct we know that you are likely concerned about the charges and probably have more questions and concerns. If this is the case please pick up the phone right now and give us a call. We talk to people like you every day. We’d love to chat with you and answer any remaining questions you may have.