Eight Things That Can Get You Charged With “Disorderly Conduct” in Los Angeles

Posted by Neil Shouse | Sep 29, 2015 | 0 Comments


You can find yourself charged with disorderly conduct in Los Angeles for a wide range of acts and activities. Police officers often use disorderly conduct charges as an excuse to arrest people who have annoyed or angered them, such as individuals who may have been rude or yelled at them (which are not crimes).

California Penal Code Section 647 is the state's disorderly conduct law and lists specific acts that constitute violations of the statute. Under Section 647, ten things that can get you charged with disorderly conduct in Los Angeles are:

  • Engaging in “lewd or dissolute conduct” in a public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view.
  • Soliciting, agreeing to engage, or engaging in prostitution who agrees to engage in or who engages in any act of prostitution.  
  • Aggressive panhandling, or “accosting other persons in any public place or in any place open to the public for the purpose of begging or soliciting alms.”
  • Loitering in or around a public restroom for the purpose of engaging in or soliciting any lewd or lascivious or any unlawful act.
  • Staying, sleeping, or squatting in any building, structure, vehicle, or place without the permission of the owner or person in charge of the property.
  • Public intoxication. Being drunk or high in public in and of itself shouldn't get you arrested, but if you are so intoxicated that you are “unable to exercise care for [your] own safety or the safety of others,” or if you “interfere with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way,” that can rise to the level of disorderly conduct.
  • Loitering, which means “to delay or linger without a lawful purpose” on someone else's property and “for the purpose of committing a crime as opportunity may be discovered.”
  • Voyeurism or “peeping tom” offenses. Specifically,
    • Peeking in the door or window of a building or structure without visible or lawful business with the owner or occupant.
    • Looking through a hole or opening into, or otherwise viewing through a device (such as a periscope, telescope, binoculars, camera, video camera, or phone) the interior of a bedroom, bathroom, changing room, fitting room, dressing room, or tanning booth, or the interior of any other area in which the occupant has a reasonable expectation of privacy, with the intent to invade the privacy of the person inside.  
    • Taking “upskirt” picture or videos.

Disorderly conduct offenses are prosecuted as California misdemeanors and upon conviction can result in up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Second and subsequent offenses can result in greater penalties.

Even though a disorderly conduct conviction may not seem like a big deal, it could land you and jail and will leave you with a criminal record that can have a negative impact on your future. An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can help you avoid these consequences. Give us a call today if you have been charged with disorderly conduct in Los Angeles. 



About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).


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