No, it is not the crime of the century.
However, violations of PC §415 account for more arrests than you might imagine and it can have a devastating affect on your life. This “little” conviction stays on your criminal record. Fighting - Assault & Battery It will show up in background checks. It might prevent you from getting a good job, staying in school, being accepted into graduate school or adopting a child.
PC §415 “Disturbing the Peace”
Also known as "breach of the peace," disturbing the peace consists of unlawful public actions that threaten or destroy the safety, health, morals, and tranquility of others as they go about their daily business. Though the exact definition varies from state to state, the charge of disturbing the peace is generally based on specific words/deeds that jeopardize the rights of others to peace and quiet. The catch-all phrase for these peace-disturbing actions is "disorderly conduct."
Any of the following persons shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than 90 days, a fine of not more than four hundred dollars ($400), or both such imprisonment and fine:
- Any person who unlawfully fights in a public place or challenges another person in a public place to fight.
- Any person who maliciously and willfully disturbs another person by loud and unreasonable noise.
- Any person who uses offensive words in a public place which are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.
Examples of Disturbing the Peace (Disorderly Conduct)
In most states, it is not enough that an action occurred and was found annoying or embarrassing by another in order to constitute disturbance of the peace. It must also have been unlawful, willful, and malicious (done with ill intent). Some examples of actions typically counted as disorderly conduct, and thus disturbing the peace, include the following:
- Fighting or threatening/challenging to fight in a public place
- Making loud noises in public by shouting, blasting one's music, or letting one's dog bark incessantly in a residential area
- Shouting profane or offensive utterances, often from a car window while parked near someone else's home
- Verbally inciting violence or other illegal activities
- Illegally holding a public assembly
- Bullying a student, either on or near school property
- Purposefully annoying hotel guests by knocking loudly and repeatedly on their hotel-room doors
Winning a Disturbing the Peace Case
One of the keys to winning a disorderly conduct case is knowing what is not disorderly conduct. Horseplay, actions embarrassing to others, accidentally bumping into someone, and even making offensive gestures such as showing the middle finger do not normally constitute disorderly conduct nor disturbance of the peace.
Words or actions can be annoying in themselves and yet not count as disturbing the peace. Loud music played at night must have continued after due warning was given. Fighting in self defense or in defense of others is not disturbing the peace. The actions involved must be shown to be disorderly before a conviction can take place. However, even non-violent actions can be seen as disorderly if they are likely/intended to create public violence, disorder, or chaos.
We know how to win these types of cases because we have won them many times before. The location, timing, purpose, result, and details of the alleged peace disturbance must be taken into account. The person disturbed is also a factor: a passerby, relative, police officer, student, teacher, etc. In the end, we can fight for and obtain the best possible outcome, often gaining acquittal or reducing charges/sentences.
For individuals arrested or cited for “Disturbing the Peace,” David J. Givot, of the Law Office of David J. Givot is The Legal Guardian and we will do more than just help you through your case.
We will carefully and methodically examine the charges and the evidence against you. If law enforcement has not done everything necessary to convict you in front of a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, then we will attack the charges from every available angle to achieve the best possible result. Even more importantly, we will vigilantly consider how any resolution will affect your professional, educational, and/or personal future.
With You Every Step of the Way
As your attorney, I will work directly with you. I will give you an honest assessment of your case, inform you of your options, explain the legal process as it applies to you and aggressively fight for you at trial.
Rest assured, you are not alone. I will be at your side the entire time.
No crime is a small crime. They all have consequences. Therefore, you need a skilled attorney who will fight for you today, while keeping an eye on tomorrow.