Although they are widely considered minor criminal offenses, a charge of disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct can inconvenience your life in many ways — from having to pay fines to making court appearances. Further, a conviction on such charges can leave an ugly black mark on your record. Because most people do not view these criminal offenses as serious ones, they fail to secure a proper defense in the face of such charges. They may just accept the fine or other penalty.
All states have statutes addressing public safety and peace. These statutes govern any behavior that is offensive or disruptive. In Alabama, the following public behaviors could result in charges of disturbing the peace.
- Making an unreasonable amount of noise
- Fighting and violent or threatening behaviors
- Using obscene or abusive or language
- Making obscene gestures
- Disturbing or disrupting lawful assemblies or meetings
- Obstructing or disrupting transportation facilities
- Obstructing pedestrian or vehicle traffic
- Congregating in public places
- Refusing to comply with law enforcement orders to disperse
What many people charged with disturbing the peace do not know is that intent matters in most of these cases. For example, if someone calls the police because you shouted across the yard for your kids to come home, a charge of disturbing the peace will not likely be prosecutable. This is because you did not intend to disturb anyone.
Rather than simply accepting a possible conviction for disturbing the peace, why not fight to defend yourself instead? An experienced attorney can work to present your case and help protect your good name.