Recently, law enforcement officers stopped celebrity couple Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth in their vehicle, and charged Mr. Toth with violating DWI laws. The New York Daily News reports that while Mr. Toth was booked for DWI, Ms. Witherspoon herself also had a run in with the law. Law enforcement officers stopped Mr. Toth after they spotted him swerving on the road. When police questioned Mr. Toth, and gave him a field sobriety test, Ms. Witherspoon allegedly began yelling out the window and got out of the vehicle. After police officers ordered Ms. Witherspoon to return to her vehicle, she argued with them and invoked her celebrity status by asking them if they knew who she was. Ms. Witherspoon was then arrested for disorderly conduct.

Disorderly conduct charges often go hand and hand with DWI charges, and therefore warrant some discussion. According to, disorderly conduct laws originally stem from British common law. At the end of the age of feudalism, such laws were put into place to prevent serfs from finding better work in other parts of the county. Today, in New York, disorderly conduct is a “catch all” charge. Under New York Penal Code Section 240.20, the following conduct may be considered disorderly conduct if a person intends to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm or recklessly creates a risk of such:

  • engaging in fighting or violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior;
  • making unreasonable noise;
  • using obscene or abusive language in a public place or making obscene gestures;
  • disturbing a lawfully assembly or meeting without authority to do so;
  • obstructing traffic;
  • gathering with other people in a public place and refusing to move when ordered by police to do so;
  • Creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition by acts that serve no legitimate purpose.

In addition to this conduct, some individual public spaces in New York have their own set of rules for disorderly conduct.

The attorneys at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys have significant experience with disorderly conduct charges. In a recent case, People v. N.H., an Nave DWI Defense Attorneys client was charged with DWAI drugs. The client had been driving down a one way street in the opposite direction. Nave DWI Defense Attorneys was able to prove to the ADA that the client did not have a history of drug abuse, and that she was not habitual offender. Ultimately, Nave DWI Defense Attorneys was able to obtain a plea bargain outside of the alcohol and drug category. The ADA allowed the client to plead guilty to disorderly conduct, which would not go on her record as a criminal charge, and a parking ticket. This lesser charges were a significant victory for the client.

Similarly, in the case of People v. L.C., an Nave DWI Defense Attorneys client was charged with two misdemeanor DWI counts. The New York State police had pulled the client over while she was driving to an event with friends. The client took a breathalyzer test, which registered her BAC at above the legal limit. However, Nave DWI Defense Attorneys attorneys were able to show the prosecutor that there were numerous procedural problems with the stop and arrest of the client. To that end, Nave DWI Defense Attorneys was able to secure a plea bargain for disorderly conduct, which is a noncriminal offense and not related to alcohol consumption.

If you have been charged with violating DWI laws in New York, an experienced attorney may be able to help you. Call the experienced attorneys at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys for a confidential consultation at 1-866-792-7800.

Disclaimer: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.