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12.4: End-of-Chapter Material

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    Public order crimes generally prohibit offensive, disruptive, or otherwise undesirable behavior. The government is interested in protecting its citizens’ quality of life, and therefore prohibits several crimes that harm the general public (and not a particular person). Public order crimes are sometimes referred to as “victimless crimes”.

    Disorderly Conduct criminalizes making a loud and unreasonable noise, fighting or challenging another person to fight, or creating a hazardous condition in public, with the specific intent or purposely or reckless intent to cause public inconvenience and alarm or a risk thereof. Disorderly conduct statutes frequently target speech, so they are subject to constitutional challenges under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Disorderly Conduct is a Class B misdemeanor, the lowest possible crime.

    Disruptive group conduct tends to enhance the potential for force and violence. Riot criminalizes collective, group acts of violence if done with the intent to engage in tumultuous and violent behavior. Riot requires the group to consist of five or more people. It is a class C felony. Like Disorderly Conduct, Riot is narrowly interpreted to ensure that it does not violate a person’s First Amendments rights of free speech and free assembly.

    Harassment criminalizes relatively trivial conduct that interferes with a person’s personal autonomy. Harassment punishes actions like spitting, taunting, prank phone calls, and cyberbullying, among others.

    Weapon offenses criminalize the use or possession of prohibited weapons. Weapon offenses are not “victim crimes”, although the offenses can frequently involve a victim. Weapon offenses do not penalize the resulting harm, injury, or damage, but instead, penalize the danger created by the weapon. Weapon offenses cover a wide array of conduct from drive-by shootings to possession of concealed weapons.

    This page titled 12.4: End-of-Chapter Material is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Rob Henderson via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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