Offenses Against Decency and Public Order

Under Pennsylvania law, certain crimes are classified as “Offenses Against Decency and Public Order.” These crimes vary in severity from summary offenses to third-degree felonies; although, in most cases, defendants will be facing penalties on the lower end of the scale.

That said, having a conviction on your record for indecency, loitering or prostitution can have impacts that extend far beyond your sentence at trial. Employers may be less willing to hire you; and, if you are in school (or thinking about going back to school), these types of convictions can prevent you from finishing your education. As a result, it is imperative that you defend yourself effectively, and this starts with hiring an experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney[JF1] .

Criminal Defense Attorney for Offenses Against Decency and Public Order

Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct is a summary offense (the lowest level of criminal offense under Pennsylvania law) in most cases. However, if committed with the intent to cause “substantial harm or serious convenience,” or if an individual persists with disorderly conduct after a “reasonable warning or request to desist,” then it can be charged as a third-degree misdemeanor. Examples of disorderly conduct include:

  • Fighting or threatening violence
  • Being unreasonably loud
  • Using obscene language or gestures
  • Creating a “hazardous or physically offensive” condition

Public Drunkenness and Similar Misconduct

Public drunkenness is a summary offense in Pennsylvania. The law also prohibits individuals from being under the influence of controlled substances in public, “to the degree that [the defendant] may endanger himself or other persons or property, or annoy persons in his vicinity.”


Loitering and Prowling at Night Time

Loitering and prowling around another person’s residence at night time is a third-degree misdemeanor offense. However, in order to be convicted, the prosecution must prove that you acted “maliciously,” which generally means it must prove that you acted deliberately and without any lawful purpose or provocation.

Prostitution and Related Offenses

Pennsylvania has established several prostitution-related criminal offenses. While these offenses are graded as misdemeanors in most cases, repeat offenders can face enhanced penalties, and certain prostitution-related crimes can be prosecuted as third-degree felonies. Prostitution-related crimes in Pennsylvania include:

  • Prostitution
  • Promoting prostitution
  • Promoting prostitution of a minor
  • Living off of prostitutes
  • Patronizing prostitutes

What Defenses Do You Have Available?

Regardless of the circumstances that led to your arrest, there is a strong chance that you have legal defenses available. Even if you are guilty of the crime alleged (which you should never assume), defense attorney Randall McKinney can use his experience to minimize the consequences of your arrest. At McKinney Law, every case starts with a free, no-obligation consultation, so contact us now to speak with Attorney McKinney about your situation in confidence.

Contact McKinney Law in Pittsburgh, PA

If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, public intoxication, loitering, prostitution or soliciting a prostitute, call (412) 520-3301 or send us your contact information online now to schedule your free initial consultation with Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Randall McKinney. Your future is too important to leave in the hands of the criminal justice system. Attorney McKinney can help, and he is available 24/7.