What are the Criminal Consequences of Disturbing the Peace?
If your neighbor is perfecting their trumpet skills or working on home improvement projects that are louder than your normal daily activities – when do those activities become a disturbance to the peace being enjoyed by you and your fellow neighbors? Every state has laws in place designed to protect society from chaos and to uphold the status quo. Violations of these laws are sometimes called disorderly conduct or disturbance of the peace, but what are they called in Florida?
What Are Florida’s Law Regarding Disturbing the Peace?
If a police officer in Florida is called to investigate a complaint about disturbing the peace, it’s up to that officer to decide whether that behavior establishes a legitimate threat before making an arrest. In Florida, the concept of disturbing the peace is represented under the breach of the peace statute (Fl. Statute Title XLVI 877.03) – a sort of “catch-all” category for various types of pubic disturbance.
Using offensive language, fighting, and playing loud music in public are all acts that can be considered a breach of the peace. Elements of this crime can include the following:
- Outrageous public indecency
- Noise that affects the peace and quiet of others
- Attempts to corrupt public morals
- Engaging in public brawling or fighting
The articles used to describe the corruption of public morals and decency are quite broadly defined. If you’re found guilty of any of these acts, you can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. The police officer who investigates the scene must determine if the actions fall under any of these categories.
Legal Consequences of Disturbing the Peace
There are plenty of scenarios that can be defined as disturbing the morals or decency of the public, which is why it’s essential to have an experienced attorney on your side to review the facts of your case and determine the best defense. If you’re charged with a second-degree misdemeanor for disturbing the peace in Florida, you can be punished with both jail time and fees. The maximum jail time is 60 days or six months of probation. Fines can reach up to $500. What’s worse is that you can have a permanent criminal record following the incident that can haunt you for years.
What are Some Legal Defenses for Disturbing the Peace?
A skilled criminal defense attorney can use different defenses if you’re charged with disturbing the peace. Your lawyer might point out that the incident failed to involve a significant number of other people, so it’s highly unlikely you could have disrupted the peace.
Your lawyer also might argue your right to free speech under the First Amendment. Other possible defenses that your lawyer might argue include:
- Entrapment – You were set up or tricked into committing the crime by someone else
- Outrageous police conduct – You were unfairly prosecuted for the crime
- Self-defense or defense of others – You were protecting yourself or someone else
- Private property defense – You have the right to conduct yourself in the manner that you so choose on your own property
An experienced attorney will gather information around the occurrence to determine the best route for defending your case.
Trust Our Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys in Orlando
Compared to other, more serious criminal offenses, a breach of the peace is not the worst charge you can face. However, it’s not worth carrying that criminal charge on your record for the rest of your life, which is why you should reach out to an attorney to defend you. There are numerous defense strategies that an attorney can use, so it’s crucial that the one you hire has the skills and ability to clear your name so you can avoid jail time or fees.
At The Umansky Law Firm, our attorneys have a reputation as being aggressive defenders of our clients. With experience as former state prosecutors, we understand how the state will likely approach your case. We do everything within our control to negotiate positive outcomes for our clients and approach each case as though it will go to trial. Our attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience defending the people throughout Central Florida.
If you’re being threatened with a criminal charge, don’t delay and call us immediately. To schedule your free consultation, book an appointment online, or call our office anytime, day or night.