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Disturbing the Peace

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What Is Disturbing the Peace?

Disturbing the peace is a criminal offense that happens when a person does some sort of disorderly conduct in public such as causing excessive noise, disrupting funeral services, fighting, being drunk in public, or threatening to fight in public. Disturbing the peace basically happens when the person's conduct or word of conduct interferes with the public right to peace.

Disturbing the peace could also occur when a person is playing music at excessively loud volumes either in the public or within their home. This usually happens through the use of stereo equipment in a home or in an automobile. In addition, playing loud music may be an offense if the city enforces a specific noise ordinance.  
Every state and city has its own statutes governing the offense of disturbing the peace, so check with your local municipalities for the specifics of your jurisdiction.

What Is the Purpose of Disturbing the Peace Law?

The purpose of having a disturbing the peace law is to help and avoid public disorder and chaotic conduct by individuals out in public. These laws are set in place to prevent people from hurting, annoying, and interfering with the public's peace when the conduct is excessive and abnormal behavior.

What Are the Legal Consequences of Disturbing the Peace?

Disturbing the peace is a misdemeanor criminal offense. In many cases, the first time violation for disturbing the peace would not result in jail time. Depending on the jurisdiction, a disturbing the peace violation can result in the following:

  • Misdemeanor, minor infraction, or ordinance violation (ticket citation)
  • Fines ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars
  • Possible jail time for extreme or repeated violations

Can Disturbing the Peace Result in a Criminal Record?

Disturbing the peace is generally considered one of the most minor offenses and will not usually result in a criminal record for the offender. However, if combined with other offenses, such as a violent offense, or repeated offenses, it may result in a negative impact on one’s record.
Generally speaking, with regards to noise levels, simply playing loud music will not result in a charge unless there has been an active request by a neighbor or by the city that the person reduce the level of noise.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Disturbing the Peace Issues?

Whether you are being charged with disturbing the peace or you would like to bring such a claim against another person, it is in your best interests to retain the services of a criminal lawyer. You should make detailed reports of the incidences, including names, dates, and copies of any police reports or records. 

Photo of page author Ki Akhbari

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 04-18-2018 07:35 PM PDT

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