Giustiniani wrote:This has been discussed in general, however I can find no Delaware-specific cases. Disorderly conduct requires intent. Not just intent to do something that may cause alarm, but intent to cause alarm by doing something. In Washington State on the other side of the country, courts have repeatedly held that OC, by and of itself, is no reasonable cause for alarm and therefore the simple act of OC cannot constitute disorderly conduct even if someone ends up being alarmed.Hey guys, I know I've been away for a while, but I've basically been lurking. I had something come up recently that I thought you should know about, and I need some legal advice.
My CCDW instructor at Shooters Choice in Dover said something that was kind of unsettling to me. While the instructor is knowledgeable in the area of firearms and law enforcement, he is not a lawyer. I'm glad I am taking the course because of the professionalism and experience this gentleman has, but some of his opines are a bit troublesome.
He said in class on monday, after I brought up DE being an OC state that OC while not illegal, was not wise.
"Open carry in the state of Delaware, while legal, is not wise. You have the potential for someone to become scared of you because you have a weapon, and you can be arrested under the disorderly conduct code for causing undo alarm."
I didn't think he was right, but I didn't want to argue with him. I went online and found the disorderly conduct code of Delaware, and there are two mentions (and it has a stipulation on it) about undo alarm.
Delaware Code 1301. Disorderly Conduct
Section 1: The person intentionally causes public inconvenience, annoyance or alamr to any other person, or creats a risk thereof by: (sections 1, paraa - g).
Section 2: The person engages with at least 1 other person in a course of disorderly conduct as defined in paragraph 1 of this section which is likely to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, and refuses or knowlingly fails to obey an order to disperse made by a peace officer to the participants.
So, if a person has a freak attack about me carrying a gun, and the cops show up, am I causing undo alarm or is that person? If I am completely within the letter of the law, minding my own business, who is at fault?
I need to know what the legal decisions on this have been. Or someone could give me an address for the AG office and I will just write them.
IANAL, and neither is the next LEO you will meet. There may be a case law I missed, and the officer's job is not to know every law, but to look out for possible crimes and investigate to either confirm or refute suspicion. Either way if you take my word or the LEO's as if it were God's own you will probably be missing something. If you are confronted by an LEO, the first 10 seconds set the tone for the rest of the encounter; you will know his intentions and he will know your level of cooperation. Reactions run the spectrum; if you are approached by a polite courteous officer, the conversation has a very good chance to end well as long as you reciprocate. If you are ordered to the ground with your hands behind your head in the middle of a mall, there's not much can be done to improve the situation for you in the short term, but avoid degrading it by playing lawyer.
General rules: Respond politely and courteously to any officer's questions or requests, HOWEVER,get afeel for the situation (is the officer simply verifying you can legally own that weapon, or is hefishing for any reason to get this paranoid gun-hugger out of his mall?) and do not voluntarily give up information, your sidearm or any other personal possession unless it is required by law (such asrequired by a Stop And ID statute)or it cannot possibly be incriminatory (such as your name). If you are searched or property taken, do not resist,butlet him know you are not consenting to the search or to any seizure of your personal effects.
If the officer is trying to infer that you cannot leave his presence until he's exhausted his options, ask politely if you are being detained, and on suspicion of what crime. If you are being detained, there'snot much you can do except obey the officer until he decides to turn you loose or arrest you (either way, an official complaint is due to his supervisor). If he says you are not being detained, tell him that you would like to leave, wish him a good day, and walk away. If he stops you, then you are being detained, and if he cannot tell you what crime he suspects you of committing, it's illegal and Mr. Nice Guy should defer to Mr. "I want to talk to your supervisor immediately please".