California Penal Code Section 415: Disturbing the Peace can be treated as an infraction or a misdemeanor in California. This criminal charge can involve:
- Noise Violations
- The Use of Offensive Language
Individuals can be charged with disturbing the peace for engaging in any of these activities. The penalties for a conviction for PC 415 can be severe. The Simmrin Law Group can help you learn more about how the court system prosecutes violations of PC 415.
Legally Defining PC 415: Disturbing the Peace
There are three major types of disruptive activity restricted by PC 415. Individuals may face criminal charges for disturbing the peace by:
Individuals who challenge another person to a fight or actually fight can be charged with disturbing the peace. The fight or challenge must occur in a public place for a PC 415 violation to occur. Acting to defend yourself or another person does not constitute a PC 415 violation.
Making Loud and Unreasonable Noise
PC 415 forbids individuals from making unreasonable amounts of noise for malicious reasons. This noise must occur along with a clear risk of violence. Individuals could also be charged with disturbing the peace if they are making noise to disrupt the lawful activities of others.
Using Offensive Language
Individuals use offense language if they say something that will likely lead to a violent response. Anytime someone says something that will likely cause someone else to react violently while in public, a PC 415 charge can be used.
Note that, when discussing disturbing the peace, offensive language does not necessarily mean profanity. Anything that can spur another person to violent rage can be considered offensive language.
Disturbing the Peace: Examples
The following examples show individuals who are disturbing the peace:
Person A gets angry while out at a bar. He takes offense at the way Person B looks at him, and grows belligerent. He hits Person B, starting a fight in the public bar.
Person C gets bored and goes to sit at the local bus stop. While there, he yells at people passing on the road, trying to figure out what will make them angry. He eventually provokes Person D, who becomes violently enraged.
Penalties for a Conviction Under PC 415
Depending on the circumstances surrounding a charge of disturbing the peace, and individual could be accused of:
- An Infraction
- A Misdemeanor
Infractions are not considered criminal offenses in courts around Los Angeles. This means that an individual facing an infraction would have to pay a small fine to resolve the issue.
Misdemeanor disturbing the peace charges are more serious. A misdemeanor conviction can lead to:
- Jail Time: Up to 90 Days
- Fines: Up to $400
Note that individuals may face other penalties if they are charged with acts related to disturbing the peace, including:
- California Penal Code Section 647(f): Drunk in Public
- California Penal Code Section 602.1: Interfering or Obstructing a Public Business Establishment
- California Penal Code Section 148(a): Resisting Arrest
Criminal Defenses for Individual’s Accused of Disturbing the Peace
There are a number of defenses that can be effective in beating charges for disturbing the peace. You can contact a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles to discuss whether any of these defenses would be right for your situation:
You Were Acting to Defend Yourself
Individuals accused of publicly fighting may be able to prove that they were only acting in self-defense. You are legally allowed to protect yourself and others in the Los Angeles area.
You Were Not Being Loud Maliciously
Individuals must be acting with ill-intent to be convicted under PC 415. If you are a naturally boisterous person who inadvertently disturbed others, you should not face a conviction for disturbing the peace.
You Did Not Realize You Were Upsetting Anyone
The court considers offensive language to be words that infuriate other people. If you did not know you were making anyone angry, you may not be convicted of disturbing the peace.
You Can Speak with a Professional about Disturbing the Peace Charges
It can be difficult to know what to do next if you are charged under California Penal Code Section 415: Disturbing the Peace. Fortunately, you can contact the professionals at the Simmrin Law Group for immediate legal advice. You can reach us easily. Just call (310) 997-4688 or complete our online contact form.
We provide individuals accused of disturbing the peace with a FREE initial case evaluation.