Posted on April 15, 2015

California PC 415 – Disturbing The Peace

In California, disturbing the peace can occur through offensive words, fighting, or playing loud music. Usually individuals are arrested or cited under this statute that is completely subjective on part of the police officer or the person who complained. It’s important to note that the activity of the defendant is measured objectively. Disturbing the peace is charged under penal code 415 pc making it a crime to willfully or maliciously disturb another with offensive words, disruptive activity, or altercation. Despite the statute vagueness, it as survived several constitutional challenges.

Elements of the Crime

In order to be found guilty of disturbing the peace, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. Defendant maliciously and willfully disturbed another

2. The other person was in a building or on the same grounds

3. Defendant was fighting, disrupted local activities, or used offensive words

Punishment for Disturbing the Peace

If convicted of disturbing the peace, one can face 90 days of incarceration in the county jail. Additionally, up to three years of court ordered probation along with court fines and fees. However, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to get the charges dismissed via informal diversion and one will not have to serve a day in jail or be placed on probation.

Defenses to Disturbing the Peace

There are a number of defenses available for persons arrested or cited under this statute. For instance, one must act willfully with the specific designed purpose of committing a violation. Furthermore, as explained above, the alleged disturbance was too subjective and not objective to the reasonable person.

Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation

For more information, or if you have been arrested or cited for disturbing the peace under PC 415, then contact an Orange County criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.

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