First Coast News of Jacksonville reported a very strange article about a disorderly conduct case. It happened in St. Augustine FL. St. Augustine is in St. Johns County which is south of Duval County. Disorderly Conduct cases are not uncommon. They are popular among college students and young adults. As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I have seen most of my disorderly conduct cases at bars or after someone left a bar. Quite often they involve alcohol. I have also seen this charge associated with Florida underage drinking arrests. In my career as a Jacksonville criminal attorney, I thought that I had seen almost anything. The First Coast news story proved me wrong. St. Augustine “police arrested a man for spraying a substance that smelled of urine on doors and windows on St. George Street Tuesday.” The police officers spoke with the suspect. Radu Calin Chereches “claimed to be of Romanian decent and couldn’t speak English when police tried to interview him about his actions.” The fire department is attempting “to determine its origins, but have not come to a conclusion. The St. Augustine Fire Dept. and St. Augustine Public Works are in the process of cleaning and decontaminating the area.”
The article reported that “Chereches was charged with disorderly conduct.” This does not mean that he was intoxicated. That is a common assumption. Disorderly conduct and disorderly intoxication are charged under two different laws. Florida disorderly intoxication is in Florida Statute 856.011. Disorderly intoxication and disorderly conduct are both second degree misdemeanors. The disorderly intoxication law states:
“(1) No person in the state shall be intoxicated and endanger the safety of another person or property, and no person in the state shall be intoxicated or drink any alcoholic beverage in a public place or in or upon any public conveyance and cause a public disturbance.”
The law that governs disorderly conduct is Florida statute 877.03. This law states:
“Whoever commits such acts as are of a nature to corrupt the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them, or engages in brawling or fighting, or engages in such conduct as to constitute a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.”
The Florida disorderly conduct law does not require the offender to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and intoxicated. This means that Chereches may not have been intoxicated. He may have acted due to a mental illness. This could be used in his defense. It could also be used as mitigation. He needs to speak with a Jacksonville criminal attorney as soon as possible. He should not be speaking to police without his attorney present.