"Disturbing the peace" is an offense that is defined under California Penal Code Section 415. It is basically a disorderly conduct law, which is designed to protect against unruly behavior or any type of behavior that would pose a threat to the peace, safety and well-being of the public. Disturbing the peace could be charged as a misdemeanor or an infraction, which is a lesser offense. It could include a variety of acts from engaging in a physical fight in public, being drunk in public, making noise or even using offensive or obscene language in public.
Police officers often have a lot of latitude when it comes to making an arrest for disturbing the peace. Often, officers who are simply annoyed or upset at someone's speech or behavior may arrest the individual on suspicion of disturbing the peace. If you are facing such allegations, it would be in your best interests to get an experienced Oxnard criminal defense attorney on your side as soon as possible to help fight the charges.
Under California Penal Code Section 415, the following acts could end up in a disturbing the peace charge:
- 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.
If convicted individuals facing disturbing the peace charges face up to 90 days in county jail and/or up to $400 in fines. A disorderly conduct conviction on your record could also have other consequences. For example, an employer who performs a background check and finds a conviction on your record may not even give you an opportunity to explain it. He or she may simply not offer you the job in the first place.
It is important to remember that the responsibility to prove a disturbing the peace charge always falls on the prosecution. Proving these charges can be challenging. For example, if you were charged with causing a disturbance by playing loud music, then, the prosecution must prove that you did so "maliciously" and "willfully" with the intent of causing such disturbance. This can be tough to prove. This is also precisely why anyone who is facing disturbing the peace charges would be well advised to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has handled similar case.
Santa Clarita criminal defense lawyer Daniel E. Kann has significant experience representing clients who face a variety of criminal charges. We will ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the process and that you get a fair trial. Call our offices today to schedule your free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.