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Disturbing the Peace

Disturbing the peace is a rather broad and subjective law designed to allow people to go about their lives peaceably. Acts covered by disturbing the peace law in most states range from to playing the stereo too loud or a machine making an unreasonable noise to loud cursing or fighting in public.

If you are arrested for disturbing the peace it could result in you being jailed, fined or both, and the arrest or conviction will follow you when you apply for jobs.

Should I Hire a Disturbing the Peace Attorney?

Although disturbing the peace is a low grade misdemeanor, meaning the seriousness of the charge is minor, it remains in your best interest to have the benefit of legal counsel experienced in this area of law when you enter the judicial system.

You probably will not need an attorney if the person who called police reporting a disturbance of the peace fails to file a complaint. In that case, the state does not have a victim or a case and you are free to go.

What Can a Disturbing the Peace Attorney Do?

A lot depends on the circumstances of the event resulting to your arrest. Your attorney will take every advantage available. For example, your attorney can make these challenges to find you technically innocent of violating the law:

  • The volume of the music did not rise to the level of the law.
  • The disturbance was not offensive to most people.
  • The loud noise from a machine was not unreasonable.
  • If a fight occurred, you did not strike the first blow so you acted in self-defense.
  • If bad language was used, it was protected by First Amendment freedom of speech.

Generally, two defenses are available:

  1. You didn’t do it.
  2. You did do it but it was necessary to do it.

Should you be in violation of disturbing the peace, your attorney has another option. Disturbing the peace as a low grade misdemeanor is one of very few crimes that can be reduced to an infraction, like a traffic ticket. An infraction is not a crime so going to jail is not possible and it will not prevent you from getting a job.

Persons who are charged with a more serious crimes, such as battery, domestic violence, or prostitution, may be reduced to a disturbing the peace charge.

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