If you were arrested for disturbing the peace in New Orleans or elsewhere in Louisiana, you might be wondering what to expect and how to defend yourself against this criminal offense.
In Louisiana, “disturbing the peace” is used as an alternative term for disorderly conduct. There are a variety of crimes that constitute disturbing the peace and each carries its own penalties.
Generally, disorderly conduct occurs when the offender’s behavior or words jeopardize other people’s right to peace, quiet, and tranquility. New Orleans’ nightlife is overrun with people who engage in unethical or disorderly conduct, especially on weekends. This is evident from the number of violent crimes in New Orleans on weekends.
But does it mean that everyone who is having fun and/or drinking alcohol in New Orleans could be arrested for disturbing the peace? Not necessarily. But if this happened to you, seek help from a New Orleans criminal defense lawyer.
What Constitutes Disturbing the Peace in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, you can be arrested for disturbing the peace for participating in any of the following activities:
- Fighting (having a physical confrontation)
- Addressing another person with offensive language
- Engaging in violence with three or more persons
- Public intoxication
- Obstructing public passage
- Interrupting a lawful assembly
- Holding an unlawful assembly
- Interfering with a funeral procession
- Inciting or participating in a riot
- Playing a car radio above 85 decibels during unreasonable hours
- Sleeping in public (vagrancy)
People have a reasonable expectation of being able to live their lives without being bothered. In fact, they have a right to peace, quiet, and tranquility. Anything that violates their right can be considered disturbing the peace in Louisiana.
Note: Simply being drunk in public does not usually warrant criminal charges for disorderly conduct in Louisiana. However, if an intoxicated person bothers other people or engages in a physical confrontation, he or she might face disturbing the peace charges. In that case, you might need a criminal defense strategy to avoid charges.
Penalties for Disturbing the Peace in Louisiana
The severity of penalties for disorderly conduct charges depends on the criminal activity for which you were arrested. Consequences for offenses that constitute disturbing the peace in Louisiana vary from a fine of up to $100 to decades in prison.
The following penalties apply if you were charged for:
- Vagrancy (a fine of up to $200 and up to six months in jail)
- Interfering with a funeral procession (up to six months of incarceration and a fine of up to $200)
- Participating in a riot (six months in jail and a fine of up to $500; if bodily injury is involved, up to five years in prison or incarceration of up to 21 years if someone died)
- Obstructing public passage (up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500)
- Making excessive car noise (a 30-day license suspension and a $200 fine; plus, up to 30 days in jail if the offense occurred near a place of worship or hospital)
Let our New Orleans criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Robert S. Toale choose the most suitable defense strategy based on the activity that got you arrested for disturbing the peace. Call our law offices at 504-370-9233 for a consultation.