Disturbing the Peace Lawyers | Anniston Office | Serving Jacksonville, AL
1207 Noble Street, Anniston, AL 36201
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Disturbing the peace occurs when a person or group causes excessive continued noise that disturbs or endangers the peace and safety of others. The noise can be caused by almost anything. It is most often a minor criminal offense and can result in a criminal record.
Disturbing the peace is a misdemeanor offense, largely prosecuted at the local or the state level, in which an offender breached or disturbs the public peace.
This disturbance can come by way of fighting or brawling in public, obstinately interfering with business operations, screaming or shouting relentlessly in a public area, becoming overly raucous or rambunctious to the point of disturbance or any other variety of factors. Given that disturbance of the peace is a broad charge with many different names and behaviors associated with it (breach of the peace, for example), it is difficult to strictly categorize.
While both acts are generally committed in public, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace are generally similar, both being considered misdemeanors as a result of unlawful and unwanted public behaviors.
While disturbing the peace is a broad charge, disorderly conduct is even broader. Squatting unlawfully in a tenement or apartment, prostitution or solicitation of prostitution (in certain jurisdictions) and begging or panhandling can be considered disorderly conduct. While disturbing the peace charges hinge more commonly around the idea of actually causing a public excitement or scene as a result of the offender’s actions, disorderly conduct does not always have this element.
Given that disturbing the peace is a misdemeanor rather than a felony in almost all instances, the typical penalty for those found guilty could be a jail term of 30 days to six months, and fines ranging from $200 to $1,000 or damages caused as a result of the offense. A probationary period, community service, addictions counseling or other considerations may be added to the sentence at the discretion of the court.
Some states classify disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace as similar enough to fall under the same umbrella of a second-degree misdemeanor. Those found guilty of these sorts of offenses could face up to six months behind bars in addition to a potential $500 fine.
By contrast, some states consider disturbing the peace to fall under the broader category of disorderly conduct as well. Disorderly conduct is considered a violation, rather than a criminal act (misdemeanor or no), and the maximum penalty is 15 days in jail as well as a small fine.
In most jurisdictions, you can be sentenced to a jail term of between 14 days to six months in response to a conviction for disturbance of the peace or disorderly conduct.
If you are facing charges related to any disturbance of the peace or disorderly conduct offenses, it is highly recommended that you retain legal counsel at your earliest opportunity.
A skilled criminal defense attorney familiar with such charges can consult with you to determine the best path forward, perhaps negotiating with prosecutors to avoid trial entirely.
Despite the fact that some jurisdictions do not consider disturbance of the peace or disorderly conduct to be criminal matters — therefore excluding the possibility of a criminal record if you are found guilty — many jurisdictions do. Even in states where the matter is considered a violation rather than a misdemeanor, you could still be facing a short period in jail as well as punitive fines if you are found guilty. An experienced attorney can make sure that all options are presented to you with professionalism and care, improving your odds of making an informed and well-founded decision as to how best to proceed with your case.
If you are charged with this offense, do not hesitate to contact a disturbing the peace lawyer. This applicable law varies between jurisdictions and prosecutors and judges may be tough or lenient. The lawyer will know how authorities handle these cases in your area, evaluate the circumstances and develop your defense.
Specialized legal help is available for most legal issues. Each case is unique; seeking legal help is a smart first step toward understanding your legal situation and seeking the best path toward resolution for your case. An experienced lawyer understands the local laws surrounding your case and what your best legal options might be. More importantly, there are certain situations and circumstances – such as being charged with a crime – where you should always seek experienced legal help.
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
The more experienced a lawyer is in legal practice, the more likely he/she will be able to bring about a successful resolution to your issue. Since experience matters, lawyers who’ve been practicing law for many years (with a successful track record) tend to be in high demand. You should look for information about a lawyer’s experience and ask questions during the initial meeting. It’s a very good idea to ask the lawyer how many years he/she has been practicing law and the expected outcome of your case.
Personal jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority over a person, in order to bind that person to the judgment of the court, based on minimum contacts. International Shoe Co v. Washington is a landmark Supreme Court case outlining the scope of a state court’s reach in personal jurisdiction.