When someone causes a commotion that disturbs a peaceful setting, the person can be charged with a crime. It’s often a misdemeanor, which usually doesn’t involve hefty fines or lengthy stays in jail, but the specific charge will depend on what was done in the setting and how many times the person has been arrested in the past.
One doesn’t have to act in a manner that is loud or vulgar for the act to be considered disturbing the peace. The only thing that the person has to do is take part in an activity that is unlawful or unjustifiable. These acts include yelling, acting out while drinking or interfering with business operations. There are times when the person doesn’t intend to disturb the peace. The person might say something in a loud manner that is overheard and taken for something else that is not intended. In this situation, the prosecuting attorney would only need to show that the person was loud and disrupting the peaceful setting.
Each person has freedom of speech. There are times that what is said, especially in public, is considered disturbing the peace. The person might make threats against someone while in public. Making threats against business owners or politicians is another way that someone could disturb the peace. The threat has to be something specific in nature instead of a simple act of the person saying something will be done to another. Serious threats that involve disturbing the peace would include inflicting serious injury to one person or a group or making statements about destroying property in order to harm others. The threat must be announced while acting in a reckless manner for it to be considered disturbing the peace.
At times, disturbing the peace can be used as a lesser defense to crimes that are more serious in nature. An attorney can help get these charges lowered so that the person doesn’t spend as much time in jail or doesn’t go to jail at all. There will likely be some type of punishment, such as probation, community service or fines. Someone who hits another person in a public setting will likely be charged with battery. Since the act took place in a public setting, the person could make a plea so that the charge is lowered to disturbing the peace.
Another type of charge that involves disturbing the peace is a noise ordinance. This could be something that is done intentionally or without any forethought. An example would be a dog barking in the yard that disturbs neighbors. Other situations that would involve disturbing the peace with noise include using power tools, operating a car in a loud manner, loud music and fireworks.
Any charge of disturbing the peace can result in a mark on your criminal record. This is why it’s important to seek the help of an attorney to get the charges lowered or dismissed if at all possible. Take any notifications to the attorney as well as information about what was taking place at the time of the charge so that the attorney can better determine how to approach the case and make a plea with the prosecution.