Disturbing the peace occurs when an individual does something such as drinking, fighting, or threatening to fight in a public place. These things are considered disorderly conduct. The purpose of the law is to avoid people doing chaotic or criminal acts in public. California has its version of disturbing the peace.

How is Disturbing the Peace Defined in California?

California outlines disturbing the peace as doing one, some, or all of the following:

  • Use offensive words in public;
  • Unlawfully fighting or challenging someone to fight in a public place; and
  • Willfully and maliciously disturb someone by making unreasonable and loud noises 

What Is Disturbing the Peace of School Grounds?

California has two different laws pertaining to disturbing the peace. The second law involves breaching the peace on school grounds. School grounds include any school, university, state university, or community college. An individual who is not an employee or student at the school can be charged with disturbing the peace when using offensive language, unlawful fighting, or making loud noise. 

What’s the Punishment for a Conviction of Beaching the Peace? 

The exact criminal punishment depends on the defendant’s past criminal history and circumstances of the case. The crime is can be charged as a misdemeanor or an infraction. An infraction may be punishable with a fine of up to $250. But a misdemeanor can be punishable by probation, a fine of up to $400, and/or up to 90 days in jail.

Is The Punishment the Same If the Crime Happened on School Grounds?

No. It’s punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine and a fine up to $400. If the defendant has a prior conviction of disturbing the peace on school grounds, it’s at least 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. 

Should I Talk to a Criminal Lawyer About My Disturbing the Peace Charge?

Yes, contact a criminal lawyer about the defenses that can be used to fight this charge.