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What Is Considered Disorderly Conduct in Nashville?


What Is Considered Disorderly Conduct in Nashville?

On behalf of Patrick T. McNally, Attorney at Law | 
April 13, 2024

Nashville, Tennessee, has a rich history, vibrant culture, and active nightlife. Known as the Music City, it is a popular travel destination that attracts tourists from around the world. In order to maintain public safety and uphold the unique qualities that make it an attractive city to visit or live in, Nashville has laws against disorderly conduct. But what is considered disorderly conduct in Nashville? Learn about Nashville’s disorderly conduct laws and how they could impact you.

what is considered disorderly conduct in Nashville?

Understanding Disorderly Conduct Laws in Nashville

Tennessee code 39-17-305 defines disorderly conduct as a person in a public place committing the following types of offenses:

  • Engaging in a fight or physical altercation.
  • Displaying violent or threatening behavior.
  • Creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition with no legitimate purpose.
  • Refusing to follow an official order to disperse from an area in proximity to an emergency situation.

These disorderly conduct offenses are also defined as being done with intent to cause public annoyance or alarm. Additionally, making an unreasonable amount of noise that prevents others from doing lawful activities is also considered disorderly conduct in Nashville.

Examples of Disorderly Conduct in Nashville

There are many actions that could lead to being charged with disorderly conduct in Nashville. Some reasons for receiving a citation for disorderly conduct include:

  • Punching or shoving someone in a public place such as a bar or nightclub.
  • Screaming and making threats to a worker or workers in a business.
  • Playing loud music in public disrupts businesses or individuals in the area.

While some might assume that public intoxication is an example of disorderly conduct, public intoxication is defined as a separate offense under Tennessee code 39-17-310. Regardless of it being a separate offense from disorderly conduct, public intoxication is still illegal in Nashville.

Punishment for Disorderly Conduct in Nashville

In Nashville, disorderly conduct is considered a Class C misdemeanor, which is the least severe class of misdemeanor. While not the worst charge in terms of severity, you can go to jail for disorderly conduct in the state of Tennessee. As a Class C misdemeanor, disorderly conduct is punishable by a fine and a jail sentence.

On top of fines and jail time, having a disorderly conduct conviction is an offense that can go on your criminal record. This could make it harder to pass background checks and secure employment or housing, and potentially limit your options for applying for financial loans. For these reasons, it’s important to take a disorderly conduct charge seriously and consider hiring a criminal defense attorney who can help lead to a positive outcome for your case.

What to Do if Charged With Disorderly Conduct

If you have been cited for disorderly conduct in Nashville, it is important to be proactive in developing a defense against the charge. Steps to take after being cited for disorderly conduct can include:

  • Collect names and contact information of people you know who can provide a positive testimony of your character or people who were witnesses to the incident.
  • If your disorderly conduct charge was related to an incidence of fighting or violence, enroll in an anger management class.
  • Avoid posting on social media about the incident that led to your disorderly conduct charge. Even if you post about it privately, this information could be used against you if your case goes to court.
  • Talk to an attorney who has experience representing people charged with disorderly conduct. A knowledgeable attorney can provide legal guidance and help you develop a defense against your disorderly conduct charge.


Q: Is It Illegal to Cuss in Tennessee?

A: It can be illegal to cuss in Tennessee in certain circumstances. Specifically, using profanity in a court of record is illegal and is considered a Class C misdemeanor as defined by Tennessee code 29-9-107. Swearing in other public settings might be illegal if it is done in an attempt to threaten someone or to incite violence. This behavior could qualify as disorderly conduct, which is also a Class C misdemeanor in Tennessee.

Q: What Is Considered Disturbing the Peace in Tennessee?

A: According to multiple municipal codes in Tennessee, disturbing the peace is defined as bothering or disrupting the peace of other individuals with behavior that is violent, tumultuous, offensive, or obstreperous. Additionally, participating in the actions of someone who is behaving in this manner or knowingly allowing them to behave in a disruptive way is also considered disturbing the peace. The penalties for disturbing the peace may vary from one municipality to another.

Q: What Is the Tennessee Code 39-17-305?

A: Tennessee Code 39-17-305 is the code against disorderly conduct. In Tennessee, disorderly conduct refers to engaging in a physical altercation, behaving in a violent or threatening manner, creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition for no justifiable reason, or disobeying official orders to leave an area in an emergency situation. Tennessee Code 39-17-305 defines disorderly conduct as a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine and jail time.

Q: How Serious Is a Public Intoxication Charge in Tennessee?

A: A public intoxication charge in Tennessee is considered a Class C misdemeanor, which is a less serious type of misdemeanor than a Class B or Class A. However, if you are found guilty of public intoxication, you could be sentenced to days in jail or be ordered to pay a fine, or both. Public intoxication is a crime, so you should not take this charge lightly. Seek guidance from an attorney if you’ve been charged with public intoxication in Tennessee.

Defense for Your Disorderly Conduct Case

Patrick McNally of McNally Law has over 35 years of experience as an attorney with a background in criminal defense. If you’ve been charged with disorderly conduct in Nashville, the legal team at McNally Law can help develop a defense for your case. Having a misdemeanor disorderly conduct conviction on your record can be a major disruptor for your life now and for the future. Put McNally Law to work for you.

Contact us today to explore your options for a legal defense against your disorderly conduct charge in Nashville.

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