Disturbing the Peace Charge: Next Step?
What does ‘Disturbing the Peace’ Mean?
Disturbing the peace is a crime that is generally defined as the disruption of proper order, through one’s actions, in a public environment or space. Any action which disrupts the common rights of a community or public space can be considered disturbing the peace.
As a result of this somewhat broad definition, there are a number of actions that can be regarded as disturbing the peace. For instance, creating loud noises, fighting, challenging people to fight, disturbing others by making loud and unreasonable noises (this includes play music loudly), or using foul language with the intent to solicit violence are all acts that can be construed as disturbing the peace.
In the majority of states and based on the majority of circumstances, disturbing the peace is typically considered a misdemeanor or a minor infraction. This classification, however, is subject to change based on the jurisdiction in which the act was committed and the level of severity in which it was delivered.
That being said, all disturbing the peace convictions are punishable by either a fine or a brief jail sentence. In the simplest or harmless of forms, a disturbing the peace conviction is attached with an ordinance. The majority of individuals who are convicted of disturbing the peace or who are held in a breach of the peace will not possess a criminal record against their name.
Disturbing the peace charges leave significant room for debating or appealing the charge. Because of this ambiguity or general haziness, what truly constitutes a disturbing the peace violation will generally be decided by the arresting officer. Additionally, disturbing the peace charges vary widely based on State and the localities within the state. As a result, the statutes and codes attached to a disturbing the peace violation will vary based on the location in which the act was committed.
With regard to noise levels, if there are no active or persistent requests to the perpetrator to reduce the noise to a more reasonable level, a disturbing the peace charge cannot be delivered.
What to do if you are charged with Disturbing the Peace?
If you or someone you know is charged with disturbing the peace it is essential, even though the infraction is viewed as minor, to hire a civil attorney. The inclusion of a legal professional is highly recommended because of the charge’s room for interpretation.
There are many circumstances and intricacies in a given disturbing the peace case which, if revealed by the defending party, can result in the termination of the charge or at least the lessening of the attached punishments.
As stated before, the violation is widely left up to interpretation by not only the jurisdiction in which the act was committed, but also by the arresting officer. These characteristics offer the defense significant leverage to state their case and fight the charges
NEXT: Types of Racism to be Aware of