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3.    To satisfy the disorderly conduct statute, “the proscribed conduct must be "of public rather than individual dimension," which can be assessed by considering "the nature and number of those attracted, taking into account the surrounding circumstances, including, of course, the time and the place of the episode under scrutiny." People v. M.R., 2006 NY Slip Op 26154 (N.Y. Misc. 2006) citing (People v Munafo, 50 NY2d 326, 331, 406 NE2d 780, 428 NYS2d 924 [1980].) In People v. Szepansky, 25 Misc. 2d 239, 241 (N.Y. County Ct. 1960) the court said that the “prime purpose” of the disorderly conduct section was to preserve “public order and peace” and that the offensive conduct to "others must be public in nature and must cause alarm or disturbance to a substantial part of the public.”


4.    The allegations in the instant matter state that that Defendant’s actions of running into the street may have caused inconvenience to just “two cars.” Defendant respectfully submits that “two car” is not a substantial segment of the public. There are no facts from which one can infer that there were more than two cars implicated, or even on the road at the time of the alleged incident.


5.    Clearly, the facts do not allege that a “substantial segment of the public” was inconvenienced, offended, or annoyed. That is a longstanding requirement for disorderly conduct charges. For example, In People v. Balnis, 14 Misc. 2d 928, 929 (N.Y. County Ct. 1958) six individuals were charged with disorderly conduct for spilling beer and spitting in and on the car of a police officer. The court dismissed the petitions holding that the substantial segment of the public requirement had not been met, stating:


The informations here under consideration, at most, allege the mere conclusion that there was intent to provoke a breach of the peace, "or whereby a breach of the peace may have been occasioned." There are no factual allegations that there were even any other persons present, except the defendants, when the acts were committed. If there were no other persons present, how can it be said that any substantial portion of the public was alarmed or disturbed, or even that there was any danger of such a breach of the peace. An information, like an indictment, must set forth sufficient facts to show that the crime charged has been committed and it is not sufficient to allege mere conclusions. ( People v. Grogan, 260 N. Y. 138; People ex rel. Livingston v. Wyatt, 186 N. Y. 383; People v. Zambounis, 251 N. Y. 94; People v. Schultz, 301 N. Y. 495.)


People v. Balnis, 14 Misc. 2d 928, 929 (N.Y. County Ct. 1958)


6.    The Balnis case is illustrative of the need for a “substantial portion of the public to be alarmed or disturbed. In the instant matter, there simply is no allegation to that effect. The instant matter is similar to M.R. where the Court dismissed the information holding that “although the information alleges that defendant acted in Riverside Park, a concededly public place, there are no allegations that anyone was present, other than defendant, his companions and the arresting officer. Therefore, there is no allegation that defendant annoyed, disturbed or interfered with any member of the public. For this reason alone, the information must fail.”


7.    Concededly, there is a slight variation in the instant matter from the facts of M.R. with regards to the persons present since, in the instant matter there is the additional allegation of “two cars.” But Defendant respectfully alleges that these “two cars” do not comprise a substantial segment of the public and they cannot rescue the instant complaint from being legally insufficient.


8.    More on point is People v. Bubbs, 49 Misc. 2d 757 (N.Y. County Ct. 1966). In Bubbs a 17 year old was charged with disorderly conduct for intentionally tapping the back of a teacher’s car at a stoplight with his car. The teacher got out of her car and words were exchanged. The court held that this was not disorderly conduct because:


"It is well-settled law that the prime purpose of this section of the Penal Law is to preserve public order and peace and that in order to substantiate a conviction under the statute the offensive conduct to "others" must be public in nature and must cause alarm or disturbance to a substantial segment of the public, or be of such character and nature that it would appear  [*759]  beyond a reasonable doubt that a breach of the public peace was imminent. ( People v. Chesnick, 302 N. Y. 58; People v. Szepansky, 25 Misc 2d 239; People v. Balnis, 14 Misc 2d 928.)


Nothing herein contained should be construed as an approval of the acts of this defendant. If the allegations are true, the defendant may have violated certain other provisions of the Penal Law and/or the Vehicle and Traffic Law. If true, there can be no justification for the acts of the defendant. Nevertheless and matter not how much we may dislike and condemn certain conduct, the statute must not be warped to fit the facts and no conviction can be had unless the facts fit the statute upon which the defendant was charged.


[***5]  Upon the present record there is no evidence from which a finding could be made that the acts of the appellant could be held to have been done "with intent to provoke a breach of the peace, or whereby a breach of the peace [might] be occasioned" under circumstances constituting the offense of disorderly conduct. (See People v. Vest, 11 A D 2d 1080.)”


People v. Bubbs, 49 Misc. 2d 757, 758-759 (N.Y. County Ct. 1966)


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Sample Text from Dismissal of Disorderly Conduct Charge under New York Penal LAw 240.20 on grounds that Complaint failed to allege that a substantial segment of the public was annoyed or inconvenienced: 

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  1. The allegations with regard to the disorderly conduct are insufficient because they fail to allege factually that Defendant intentionally obstructed a “substantial segment” of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The complaint merely alleges that


"deponent observed defendant run into the street at the above location and cause at least two cars to come within five feet and abruptly swerve to the sides of Defendant”

Dismissing a 240.20