Disturbing the Peace: Don’t Let a Misdemeanour Offence Cramp Your Lifestyle

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“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey

Are you the life and soul of the party: an extrovert who loves to have a good time, but tends to get a bit rowdy when part of a crowd? There is a fine line between celebrating your life as per Oprah Winfrey quoted above and allowing the party to get out of hand.

When a celebration gets too loud, and out of control, it can turn into a disaster as party-goers end up being arrested for disturbing the peace. Also, when inebriated or intoxicated, it is normal to lose self-control and either cause a fight with another person or utter racial slurs. This behaviour could also lead to a “disturbing the peace” misdemeanour charge.

Therefore, let’s look at the definition of “Disturbing the Peace”, how to manage a party so that everyone has a great time, and no one gets arrested for a misdemeanour offence.

What constitutes the definition of Disturbing the Peace?

According to the online version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Disturbing the Peace is also known as Breach of the Peace. It is a misdemeanour or minor offence that usually incurs a monetary fine instead of a prison term. However, if the perpetrator cannot pay the fine, a prison term can be substituted.

Typical Disturbing the Peace subcategories include:

  • Using offensive words: We live in a society that is not as racially integrated as it should be. Bluntly stated, the different races, religions, and cultures across the globe are intolerant of each other. And, because of this, specific words or phrases are considered racial slurs and should be spoken to another person. However, this sometimes happens. And, it is regarded as an offence to utter one of these slurs to a person of another ethnicity or culture.
  • Unreasonably loud noise: Towns and cities will have by-laws that describe the time of day that all party noise needs to quieten down. Should partygoers ignore these by-laws, the neighbours can phone the police and arrest the partygoers if they do not turn the noise down. Another category that must be included here is when neighbours have a fight and the one party turns up his/her music loudly to disturb them.
  • Causing bar fights: Again, alcohol over-consumption can cause aggression in some people. And, then they can take offence at something that is said. This can result in a bar fight, and an arrest for disturbing the peace.

Final thoughts

Even though “Disturbing the Peace” is considered a misdemeanour offence, it can be escalated to a felony (or serious crime) depending on the context. A typical example is that of a bar fight that has gotten out of control, and the victim is severely injured or dies. Also, repeat offenders often end up with their latest misdemeanour charge being upgraded to a felony charge.

Therefore, it is vital to understand that, while being “the life and soul of the party” and having a good time, it is critical to behave within the parameters of the law. No one wants to be arrested at a party or celebration.

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