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Disturbing the Peace Charges

Posted in Criminal Defense on August 28, 2020

“Disturbing the peace” is the term that most people have heard on a regular basis. However, understanding exactly what disturbing the peace means can be difficult. A person can face disturbing the peace charges for a variety of reasons, ranging from a simple verbal disagreement to an actual physical fight. There are also various legal ramifications of disturbing the peace charges. If you or somebody you care about is facing disturbing the peace charges, we want to present you with some important information.

What the law says about disturbing the peace

Under California law, it is illegal for a person to do any of the following:

  • Unlawfully fight in a public place or challenge somebody to fight in a public place.
  • Maliciously or willfully disturb somebody else in a loud and unreasonable manner.
  • Use offensive words in a public place that are likely to provoke an immediate and violent reaction.

The law under California Penal Code 415 is very broadly written, and it is easy to see how disturbing the peace charges could be the result of various types of behavior, including physically fighting in a bar, playing loud music in a neighborhood, or repeatedly using ethnic or racial slurs during a verbal confrontation.

Penalties for Disturbing the Peace

Like many offenses in California, the offense of disturbing the peace could result in various types of charges. In this case, disturbing the peace could be charged as an infraction or a misdemeanor.

  • If a person is charged with a disturbing the peace infraction, this is punishable by a fine of up to $250 and no jail time.
  • If a person is charged with a disturbing the peace misdemeanor, this is punishable by up to three months in county jail and a fine of up to $400. Additionally, a misdemeanor conviction for disturbing the peace will show up on a person’s criminal record.

Disturbing the Peace on School Grounds

When we turn to California Penal Code 415.5, we can see that a person can be charged with disturbing the peace on school grounds if they are not a student or employee and causing a disturbance. This will be charged as a misdemeanor, not an infraction, resulting in up to three months in county jail and a fine of up to $400. If a person has previously been convicted of disturbing the peace on school grounds, or any other crime on school grounds, they face up to three months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000 for a subsequent offense.

Contact the Law Offices of Graham Donath

If you or somebody you care about is facing disturbing the peace charges, you need to speak to an attorney with vast experience handling California criminal defense cases today. While the charge may seem relatively minor, the penalties can indeed be severe and have long-lasting consequences on a person’s life. At the Law Offices of Graham Donath, APC, our Riverside criminal attorney is going to investigate every aspect of your case in an effort to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. Call today to schedule your free consultation or fill out an online contact form.