In a recent case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his conviction for disorderly conduct. Originally, the defendant was charged after he pulled out a knife in the presence of police officers. Once he was found guilty, the defendant appealed, but the court determined that his arguments on appeal fell short. Thus the defendant’s guilty conviction was sustained.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, police officers pulled the defendant over one evening when he was driving a motorcycle with a suspended license plate. After discovering that the defendant was also carrying a revoked driver’s license, the officers called a tow truck to impound the motorcycle.
At that point, a tow truck driver arrived at the scene. He immediately observed the defendant pull out a knife and flip it open. The tow truck driver backed up, afraid that the defendant would use the knife against him. Once the officers realized what was happening, they drew their own weapons and told the defendant to drop the knife. Immediately, the defendant let the knife go.
A jury convicted the defendant of aggravated assault against a police officer and disorderly conduct.
On appeal, the defendant argued there was insufficient evidence to support a finding of disorderly conduct. According to the defendant, there was no substantial evidence to support the fact that he held the knife recklessly nor that he intended to actually use the knife in any way. He argued that he did not pose a substantial enough risk for the jury to then find him guilty of disorderly conduct.
The court considered the defendant’s argument but ultimately disagreed. At trial, the tow truck driver had testified that he felt scared when he saw the defendant pulling out his knife. Even though the defendant did not make any gestures as if he was going to use the knife against the tow truck driver, the mere fact that he pulled the knife out was sufficient to prove that he was acting recklessly. It also did not matter, said the court, that the defendant was not within striking distance of the tow truck driver. Given the nature of the interaction, it was disorderly for the defendant to pull out the knife in the first place.
The court thus concluded that the defendant’s actions were reckless. He posed a substantial risk to both the tow truck driver and the police officers, and the jury’s decision to find him guilty was reasonable as a result. Thus, the higher court affirmed the original guilty conviction.
Have You Been Charged with Disorderly Conduct in Arizona?
If you are facing charges for disorderly conduct in the state of Arizona, the Law Office of James E. Novak is here to help. There are many factors that go into the State’s decision as to whether or not to charge you with a crime, and we are well versed in these factors so that we can provide you with the best and most informed defense possible. For your free consultation, give us a call at 480-413-1499.