Disturbing the Peace


Disturbing the peace fits into a category of offenses that work to protect the public’s common good. In particular, the law of disturbing the peace prohibits behaviors to help ensure that individuals are able to enjoy private and public property without disruption. Many individuals often view this offense as a minor infraction, but if you are facing San Diego disturbing the peace charges, it will be important to consult with a lawyer to prove your innocence.

What is Disturbing the Peace?

Any of the following behaviors will lead to a charge of disturbing the peace:

  • Fighting in a public place or challenging someone to a fight;
  • With willful and malicious intent, you disturb another with loud and unreasonable noise; or
  • The use of words that are offensive and likely to cause a violent reaction.

Accordingly, there is a wide range of acts that can make up a possible charge of disturbing the peace. In some instances, the court will treat the offense as a simple infraction, but generally, if you’re charged with disturbing the peace, your matter will proceed in court as a misdemeanor.

What are the Penalties?

The severity of the penalties for San Diego disturbing the peace charges will depend on a number of factors. If you plead guilty or you were convicted, a judge at the sentencing hearing will look into the particular facts of your case and your criminal history.

As a misdemeanor, the maximum penalties for the offense are as follows:

  • 90 days in a county jail;
  • $400 in fine; and/or
  • Both fine and jail time.

While the judge has the discretion on whether to impose the maximum penalties, it would help to have a lawyer mitigating on your behalf for a non-custodial sentence. Probation is always an option available to the court at the time of sentencing.

Do I Have a Defense?

Despite the allegation, it is important to note that you are always considered innocent until proven guilty in a criminal court. It is the duty of the prosecution to prove that you are guilty and this can sometimes be difficult in disturbing the peace cases. The vagueness of the law is often times a great advantage for someone facing San Diego disturbing the peace charges.

Despite the law’s ambiguity and the fact that the offense can sometimes only be a small infraction, it is still important to have a lawyer by your side. Unrepresented defendants often times, talk themselves into a guilty verdict without even knowing it. A San Diego criminal defense lawyer will be able to research and prepare a sound defense including the following:

  • There is no evidence of the criminal intent that is required.
  • Your actions are protected under the constitution as a right.
  • You are the victim of a false accusation.

In addition to putting forward the best defense available, a lawyer can file the necessary pre-trial motions to have the charges dismissed.

Call An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal defense litigation is a highly focused area of law and at McElfresh Law, we are committed to providing high-quality legal representation to individuals facing criminal charges in California. Our focus in this area of law has equipped us with the experience and in-depth knowledge that will be beneficial to your case.

San Diego disturbing the peace charges can lead to 90 days in jail. This can be extremely disruptive to your life and those who depend on you. The lawyers at McElfresh Law understands the importance of securing your freedom, protecting your reputation, and getting you back to your life and your family.

Your best chance of beating a disturbing the peace charge is to have a sound defense. The legal team at McElfresh Law is trained in the art of investigation and research, which is critical to preparing a solid case in court. Do not approach the criminal judicial system unrepresented. Trust our experience and courtroom advocacy, call us at (858) 756-7107 today.