2021 Georgia Code
Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses
Chapter 11 - Offenses Against Public Order and Safety
Article 2 - Offenses Against Public Order
§ 16-11-39. Disorderly Conduct

Universal Citation: GA Code § 16-11-39 (2021)
  1. A person commits the offense of disorderly conduct when such person commits any of the following:
    1. Acts in a violent or tumultuous manner toward another person whereby such person is placed in reasonable fear of the safety of such person's life, limb, or health;
    2. Acts in a violent or tumultuous manner toward another person whereby the property of such person is placed in danger of being damaged or destroyed;
    3. Without provocation, uses to or of another person in such other person's presence, opprobrious or abusive words which by their very utterance tend to incite to an immediate breach of the peace, that is to say, words which as a matter of common knowledge and under ordinary circumstances will, when used to or of another person in such other person's presence, naturally tend to provoke violent resentment, that is, words commonly called "fighting words"; or
    4. Without provocation, uses obscene and vulgar or profane language in the presence of or by telephone to a person under the age of 14 years which threatens an immediate breach of the peace.
  2. Any person who commits the offense of disorderly conduct shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
  3. This Code section shall not be deemed or construed to affect or limit the powers of counties or municipal corporations to adopt ordinances or resolutions prohibiting disorderly conduct within their respective limits.

(Code 1863, § 4271; Ga. L. 1865-66, p. 233, § 2; Code 1868, § 4306; Ga. L. 1872, p. 9, § 1; Code 1873, § 4372; Ga. L. 1875, p. 25, § 1; Code 1882, § 4372; Ga. L. 1890-91, p. 83, § 1; Penal Code 1895, § 396; Penal Code 1910, § 387; Ga. L. 1919, p. 103, § 1; Code 1933, § 26-6303; Ga. L. 1963, p. 455, § 1; Code 1933, § 26-2610, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, § 1; Ga. L. 1974, p. 470, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 6, § 16; Ga. L. 1995, p. 574, § 3.)

Cross references.

- Constitutional guarantee of free speech and press, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. I, Para. V.

Further provisions regarding unlawful communications by telephone, § 46-5-21.

Use of telephone to transmit obscene or lewd communications for commercial purposes, § 46-5-22.

Law reviews.

- For article recommending more consistency in age requirements of laws pertaining to the welfare of minors, see 6 Ga. St. B.J. 189 (1969). For article, "Misdemeanor Sentencing in Georgia," see 7 Ga. St. B.J. 8 (2001). For note discussing First Amendment problems in application of this Code section with particular reference to Breaux v. State, 230 Ga. 506, 197 S.E.2d 695 (1973), see 25 Mercer L. Rev. 371 (1974). For comment discussing the constitutional standard for judging obscenity, in light of Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15, 93 S. Ct. 2607, 37 L. Ed. 2d 419 (1973), see 10 Ga. St. B.J. 327 (1973).



  • General Consideration
  • Constitutionality
  • Obscene, Vulgar, or Profane Language


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 12 Am. Jur. 2d, Breach of Peace and Disorderly Conduct, § 8. 16A Am. Jur. 2d, Constitutional Law, §§ 522, 523.


- 11 C.J.S., Breach of the Peace, § 2 et seq. 67 C.J.S., Obscenity, §§ 12, 13. 86 C.J.S., Telecommunications, § 173.


- Abusive language addressed to trespasser as breach of peace, 34 A.L.R. 575.

Abusive or insulting language addressed to group as breach of peace, 34 A.L.R. 580.

Participation of student in demonstration on or near campus as warranting imposition of criminal liability for breach of peace, disorderly conduct, trespass, unlawful assembly, or similar offense, 32 A.L.R.3d 551.

Validity, construction, and application of state criminal statute forbidding use of telephone to annoy or harass, 95 A.L.R.3d 411.

Gesture as punishable obscenity, 99 A.L.R.3d 762.

Validity and construction of statute or ordinance prohibiting use of "obscene" language in public, 2 A.L.R.4th 1331.

Validity and construction of statutes or ordinances prohibiting profanity or profane swearing or cursing, 5 A.L.R.4th 956.

Insulting words addressed directly to peace officer as breach of peace or disorderly conduct, 14 A.L.R.4th 1252.

Telephone calls as nuisance, 53 A.L.R.4th 1153.

Validity, construction, and application of state statutes and municipal ordinances proscribing failure or refusal to obey police officer's order to move on, or disperse, on street, as disorderly conduct, 52 A.L.R.6th 125.

Validity, construction, and operation of federal disorderly conduct regulation (36 C.F.R. § 2.34), 180 A.L.R. Fed. 637.

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Georgia may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.