Alteration of the Public Order

Alteration of the Public Order


The alteration of the public order is a criminal offense that occurs when a person engages in some type of outrageous conduct, such as fighting or threats of fighting in public, loud noises excessively high, shouting, loud music or even allow a dog to bark for long periods of time. When the words or conduct of a person and endanger the right of others to enjoy peace and tranquility, they can accuse her of disturbing public order.

The laws of alteration of the public order (“disturbing the peace” in English) were covered in ordinances state or local government. Although the alteration of the public order is not considered a criminal offence grave, is a crime punishable with prison sentences, fines, economic or both.

What constitutes a disturbance of public order?

The laws of public nuisance vary from state to state. Generally, the alteration of the public order refers to words or behaviors that compromise the safety, health, morals, or the peace and tranquility of the general of the other.

Charges for alteration of the public order to encompass a diversity of behaviors and usually they belong to a general category more wide of disorderly conduct.

Some examples of behaviors that outrageous include:

  • fighting or challenging someone to fight in a public place;
  • using offensive words in a public place that are likely to incite violence;
  • scream in a public place with the intent to incite violence or to illegal activities;
  • assaulting a student at the school, or close to it;
  • hit abruptly the doors of the hotel rooms when the guests are sleeping with the intention of fatiguing them;
  • organize a public assembly unlawful;
  • screaming obscenities from the window of a car outside the home of a person for a long time;
  • allow the bark excessive of a dog in a residential area;
  • listen to music at a volume intentionally high during the night and continue even after a fair warning.

In most states, a person’s conduct must have been intentional (voluntary) or with bad intent (malicious). It is not enough that a person has engaged in conduct that merely annoyed, attacked or shamed by another person. If there was a fight, must have been unlawful and not in self-defense or to protect someone.

To determine fault, the court will consider the particular circumstances of each case. Some of the factors which judges may take into account include the place, the time, the words, the actions and the person you spoke to or touched (for example, a police officer, a teacher, a student, a relative or a passer-by).

The frequent actions that do not constitute a public nuisance may include:

  • participate in games of hands;
  • just to embarrass anybody;
  • just to annoy someone;
  • crash accidentally with someone;
  • make a gesture to someone, such as showing the middle finger (sometimes even a police officer).

However, if the non-violent actions of a person are likely to incite violence or disruption of public order, there may be criminal liability.

Purpose of the law

The alteration of the public order is a law against disorder and chaos in public. The laws against disorderly conduct, such as alteration of public order, exist to prevent people from tampering with the peace and quiet of the other while they deal with their everyday tasks and personal issues.

The alteration of the public order can penarse as part of the crime broadest of disorderly conduct, which includes many other types of public nuisances, or can penarse separately in function of the above-mentioned factors and of the laws of the state in particular.

Sanctions and punishments

The alteration of the public order is a criminal offence minor. A person accused of disturbing public order can face prison sentences of up to 90 days, fines of up to $400 or both. In many cases, the alteration of the public order is the first criminal offence of a person, so that you can avoid the lengthy prison sentences if convicted.

Your rights as a victim

If you or someone you know believe they may have been victims of behaviors that outrageous or noises or disturbances annoying and excessive, it is important to know what you can do to minimize or stop the damage.

What can you do?

Ask them to stop the behavior
If the culprit is a neighbor who you know and not feel physically threatened or afraid of a possible damage, you might explain that their conduct is problematic and ask him to stop. In case of aggravation of the situation, must be immediately removed.

Call the police
If the damage continues, or if there is an imminent danger (such as a fight), you can call the police and explain the situation. A person who disrupts the public order generally receives a fair warning of the police. In most cases, the involvement of the police can curb the behavior annoying.

Communicate with a lawyer
Finally, if none of the above actions help your situation, it may be necessary to communicate with a lawyer. In addition to violating criminal laws against disturbing public order, the annoying behavior may violate any laws misdemeanors, in which case file a claim against the guilty could put an end to such conduct.

Defenses for breach of public order:

If you or a known face or may face charges for disturbing public order, it is important to know your legal rights and defenses to minimize or avoid the penalties or criminal charges.

The alteration of the public order is a subjective matter. This means that the police have margin to raise the fee for many types of disruptive behaviors. Generally, defenses to criminal charges is made up of two categories: (1) “I was not,” or (2) “I Was, but I had to do it” (as self-defense or reasonable defense of a third party). There is also the possibility that their actions conform to the protection of the right to freedom of expression of the first amendment. Finally, their actions in question may be at the limit of the type of alteration of the public order, proscribed by law.

Consult a lawyer in your area to find out if you can apply a defense to your particular situation.

Additional issues:

Related crimes
The crimes related to the alteration of the public order, which include drunkenness in public, disorderly conduct, indecent exposure , and discomfort in public. These charges can occur as charges for disturbance of public order or in conjunction with them. Also, the conduct prohibited by the laws of alteration of public order may expose the offender to civil liability to claims for discomfort on the part of an injured person, such as a neighbor the one who have been bothered continuously.

Criminal charges more important
Due to the broad nature of the charge by the alteration of the public order, this is typically included between the most serious crimes, such as prostitution, assault, domestic violence or other crime threats. Usually, when a person is arrested for one of these offences, more important, also is accused of the crime more mild alteration of the public order.

Alteration of the public order as a tool to negotiate his statement
The defense attorneys used the alteration of the public order as a tool to negotiate the declaration to face charges more serious faced by their clients. Because the punishment for disturbing public order usually involves imprisonment, mild, or no prison sentence, sought the lesser charge of disrupting public order to negotiate how you plan to plead guilty. If you have been accused of a criminal offense more important, you can ask your attorney if a statement by the alteration of the public order may benefit you.

Alteration of the public order and criminal records permanent
In certain cases, minor offences such as disturbing public order, are excluded from the criminal history, verifications of employment history and other verification routine on criminal activity. This is more frequent when the sentence for breach of public order is the first crime of a person. Even in that case, there are some states and organizations may require you to disclose this type of information, such as in schools, the government, or in applications for security positions. You should check your state laws local to know when and how you might have to disclose charges and convictions for disturbing public order.


The alteration of the public order is a crime against the disorder and chaos in public. The laws of alteration of public order, encompassing a wide range of behaviors and vary from state to state. Generally, the conduct must be intentional and with malicious intent to constitute a public nuisance. The actions taken in reasonable defence of oneself or of third parties do not qualify, as well as the actions that constitute protected free speech.

Contact a local attorney to learn more about the laws of alteration of the public order specific to your state, and what defenses might apply to a specific situation.

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