Definition of Disorderly Conduct - Texas Penal Code

§ 42.01. DISORDERLY CONDUCT.

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly:

(1) uses abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace;

(2) makes an offensive gesture or display in a public place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace;

(3) creates, by chemical means, a noxious and unreasonable odor in a public place;

(4) abuses or threatens a person in a public place in an obviously offensive manner;

(5) makes unreasonable noise in a public place other than a sport shooting range, as defined by Section 250.001, Local Government Code, or in or near a private residence that he has no right to occupy;

(6) fights with another in a public place;                                  

(7) discharges a firearm in a public place other than a public road or a sport shooting range, as defined by Section 250.001, Local Government Code;

(8) displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm;

(9) discharges a firearm on or across a public road;                        

(10) exposes his anus or genitals in a public place and is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act; or

(11) for a lewd or unlawful purpose:                                        

   (A) enters on the property of another and looks into a dwelling on the property through any window or other opening in the dwelling;

   (B) while on the premises of a hotel or comparable establishment, looks into a guest room not the person's own through a window or other opening in the room; or

   (C) while on the premises of a public place, looks into an area such as a restroom or shower stall or changing or dressing room that is designed to provide privacy to a person using the area.

(b) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(4) that the actor had significant provocation for his abusive or threatening conduct.

(c) For purposes of this section:                                            

(1) an act is deemed to occur in a public place or near a private residence if it produces its offensive or proscribed consequences in the public place or near a private residence; and

(2) a noise is presumed to be unreasonable if the noise exceeds a decibel level of 85 after the person making the noise receives notice from a magistrate or peace officer that the noise is a public nuisance.

(d) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor unless committed under Subsection (a)(7) or (a)(8), in which event it is a Class B misdemeanor.

(e) It is a defense to prosecution for an offense under Subsection (a)(7) or (9) that the person who discharged the firearm had a reasonable fear of bodily injury to the person or to another by a dangerous wild animal as defined by Section 822.101, Health and Safety Code.

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Comments (27) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
cw - January 5, 2007 2:56 PM

Please clarify this statement: "...a noise is presumed to be unreasonable if the noise exceeds a decibel level of 85 after the person making the noise receives notice from a magistrate or peace officer that the noise is a public nuisance." What procedure is utilized to confirm that the noise level exceeded 85, specifically as it relates to a vehicle's radio? Is this presumption made pre or post rendering of a citation?

Charles - September 28, 2007 7:03 PM

Could you clarify what constitutes breach of peace? Does it mean causing a loud ruccuss, that draws attention? If the profanity isn't loud, but directed at a peace officer due to them inciting a situation, in order to find reason to arrest, is this disorderly conduct? The verbal confrontation isn't drawing attention from the public.

Jimmy - November 21, 2007 5:53 PM

I have a 16 yr old that got a disorderly conduct at school. I need to know if an officer has to witness the offense or can it be given just through witness testimony?

John - December 14, 2007 10:46 AM

Would a person that lives in an apartment complex be in violation of 42.01 if he stands outside of his residence in a common area and usese vulgar language that can be heard by other tennants in their apartments.

jarcory - December 19, 2007 8:56 PM

is it disorderly conduct if a person is told to leave the area and as he or she is walking away tells another person this is the public. i was arrested and up on my arrest the police officers pretended i was trying to resist them, actually i never turned my to face them or put up any struggle. they continued to choke and kick me, choking me until i passed out. Do this violate any of my rights.

morgan - January 7, 2008 7:42 PM

a car on the road saw me flash my friends in our own vehicle and called the police upon which i was arrested and issued a ticket for disorderly conduct while my car was illegally searched? i was arrested because someone else gave a witness testimony though there is no proof of the incident at all....how do i get out of this?

Paul Turton - April 30, 2008 10:03 AM

Incident: (a) Cusomer in Resturant speaking to clerk.(a) Manager does not like the conversation.(b) Slyly calls away clerk.(c) Customer tells clerk ," now you see why you need to go to college to avoid having her as your boss!"
(d) manager comes to customer and refuses service. Customer ask why ? Manager said ,"you said bad thing about me !" Customer asks manager to explain what is bad about telling clerk to get a college education so that she does not have to be working here with you as her boss?
She could not say but ask customer to leave.Customer says this is America and we do have rights here ...Manager says," well I am a Mexican and I am the boss here!"
Customer says then Mexican ," why are you in America if you do not like our rights ? Go back to mexico then!"
She tells customer to leave.Customer leaves she calls police and police says ," referring to the Mexican manager as a " Mexican" is offensive to her therefore it is disorderly conduct.
What is the defence here?

Paul Turton - April 30, 2008 10:04 AM

Incident: (a) Customer in Resturant speaking to clerk.(a) Manager does not like the conversation.(b) Slyly calls away clerk.(c) Customer tells clerk ," now you see why you need to go to college to avoid having her as your boss!"
(d) manager comes to customer and refuses service. Customer ask why ? Manager said ,"you said bad thing about me !" Customer asks manager to explain what is bad about telling clerk to get a college education so that she does not have to be working here with you as her boss?
She could not say but ask customer to leave.Customer says this is America and we do have rights here ...Manager says," well I am a Mexican and I am the boss here!"
Customer says then Mexican ," why are you in America if you do not like our rights ? Go back to mexico then!"
She tells customer to leave.Customer leaves she calls police and police says ," referring to the Mexican manager as a " Mexican" is offensive to her therefore it is disorderly conduct.
What is the defence here?

Wallace Freeman - December 5, 2008 2:41 PM

"3) creates, by chemical means, a noxious and unreasonable odor in a public place;"

Has this successfully been applied to smoking?

Jamie - December 5, 2008 2:47 PM

Walter:

Smoking what? :)

But, um, no not that I know of...

Mark - December 29, 2008 9:58 AM

I have a 17yr old that got a disorderly conduct at school. I need to know if an officer has to witness the offense or can it be given just through witness testimony?

J. - February 17, 2009 12:43 PM

Last week my 15 yr old son and another kid were talking trash at school and the other kid punched him. My son swung back but missed, and then they were pulled apart. No school officials saw the incident, and my son said nothing bc he'd get in trouble too. My son's mouth was cut but it healed. This week (1 wk after incident) a student who'd recorded the incident on a cell phone emailed it to the Asst Principal. My son has now been given ISS and a disorderly conduct charge. Can this charge stick from a cell phone video??

Darla - May 21, 2009 1:15 PM

My sixteen-year-old son was given a ticket by a school resource officer for disorderly conduct on information from the teacher and prinicpal. I have been told by a couple of other officers that since the SRO didn't witness the incident, the teacher should have filed a complaint with the police station in order to be able to give my son a ticket. I have tried looking up information on the internet, but most of it isn't much help or I can't find what I need. What is the law on this and what can we do?

Philly B - July 13, 2009 12:41 AM

if there was a fightnight and it was organized boxing matches all with gloves, but in a public park; what would happen?

andrew - July 14, 2009 7:49 PM

If a 30yr old female tells my 10yr old son that she is going to kick his ass more than once and curses at us his parents every chance she gets, is that disorderly conduct and why doesn't to peace officer do anything. Confused by the law

Darrin - September 15, 2009 10:31 AM

My 15 year old son was given a ticket for supposedly saying a curse word teacher was not in room at the time all the students say no one in class said anything it came from another classroom.Already went to courut once plead not guilty now we need to self defend ourselves how can they prove he said it(no cameras,witnesses etc.)

Paul H. - November 22, 2009 1:20 PM

Discharging a weapon in the country and private considered disorderly conduct. There was a person driving up the private road and I was target shooting. The rounds were aimed at the ground and not the road. The road was 80 degrees to my right. The rounds went into the ground 40 to fifty feet away. The sheriff came into my house without being invited and did not have a search and seizure warrant. Can they arrest me for disorderly conduct. They were going to try deadly conduct and just cause.

kathleen c ruiz - June 18, 2010 11:36 AM

my 13 yr old grandson videos a school fight on his cell phone and puts it on utube. he was not involved in the fight. the school got upset and threatened him. the principal called and spoke with my daughter and said everything had been resolved. out of the blue he gets a summons to appear in court as he has been charged with disorderly conduct. nothing happens to the kids fighting. a police liason officer never questions him nor my daughter, but trumps up charges on the basis of what we do not know. when they go to court it is either pay a fine of $110.00 and charges will be off record in 45 days or take your chances and see the judge. of course she pays fine but still does not know what he did exactly to break the law. if this is breaking the law then just about everyone with a cell phone who takes pictures of fights is subject to this. what ever happened to the law.? Is is all about how much money can be brought in and meeting quotas? Shame on you Texas.

Deanna - October 15, 2010 4:42 PM

My 13-year-old yr old received a disorderly conduct at school as he used called another boy an ugly name. No adult was present. The child told a teacher and she reported to principal. He received a citation for disorderly conduct from the school police person. The school has a "rule" that any cursing gets a citation, although, all cases are not referred to the officier it is at the principal's "discretion". I need to know if an officer has to witness the offense or can it be given just through testimony of a couple of kids who were involved?

Jaid3n - June 6, 2011 6:20 PM

Honestly no offense to the LAW, but I know nothing about the LAW, nor anything about this code.

For many years I have said what the F* I want when and where I want, and never have I been told that it was illegal for any reason, nor have I ever seen this law before I have heard about it in some cases, but I feel that this law goes against the Freedom OF Speech which has been around longer than this law to begin with.

Maybe they should really Teach Law in all schools to its kids because I can swear that other than free speech many peopel violate many parts of this LAW, and how are we supposed to know when we have never seen it before.

As for the Schools - June 6, 2011 6:23 PM

I went to school for years, and I will say that some schools are just stupid the school that I went to kids could say anything they pleased, curse, nothing would ever occur no police nothing, just ISS/detention that is all in the most.

But you have the time when some kids lie to the principals with their friends just to get another student that they hate into trouble, when there is no adult around to prove this, no teacher, and even if there was in a court/law you have to have actual evidence from what I know hear say doesn't go, so in other words Video Recording/proof.

Jeff - October 31, 2011 10:00 AM

The public schools and county police stations are no longer opperating for the city. They are owned and trade stocks on foreign markets based on thier quotas and income. Its all a racket. We need to become soveriegn Human Beings again. We are just people now ie corporations owned by a corporation of US...Need a revolution. These laws are not for the peoples peace they are for revenue. Since when is it right to give a 15 year old a ticket for saying something bad? Tell the parent and its the parents job to punish. Does nothing for the parent to have to pay a fine for such a remark

Irate - March 5, 2012 6:23 PM

Fuck COProphiliacS - profanity my ass. Stupid sons of bitches - thieves with badges and guns - criminals!

Mark - April 24, 2012 7:02 PM

The biggest thieves are the police officers who often abuse innocent citizens just because they are on a power trip. They are a bunch of low lives who like to act like they own everyone.

daniel - June 8, 2012 4:23 PM

how long before the court on a discharge of a firearm arrest before the statue for "conviction" expires

Chris - October 21, 2012 9:31 AM

What is the statute of limitations on a disorderly conduct charge?

kass - February 20, 2013 5:09 PM

If someone made a report on an individual for disorderly conduct, or just a report period, and there were no charges pressed, would that come up on that individual's background check?

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