Disturbing the peace is one of many different types of criminal offenses that falls under the umbrella of disorderly conduct. The types of actions an individual may take that would be considered to disturb the peace are quite broad in scope. They include any disruptive behaviors that can impact another's ability to enjoy peace and quiet or to conduct their everyday personal or business affairs.
If you've heard of someone being charged with disturbing the peace before, then he or she likely organized a public group unlawfully or shouted an offensive word which incited violence. You may even be aware of individuals having been arrested for such a crime after having either threatened or actually started a fight in public.
Those who engage in bullying students, whether actually on or nearby school grounds, have the potential of being charged with disturbing the peace though as well. Playing loud music at night or having a dog that barks excessively, can get you in trouble as well.
Knocking on the doors of sleeping hotel guests or parking your car outside of a residence and taunting those inside with profanities may also be considered to to be disorderly conduct.
In order to be charged with disturbing the peace, most jurisdictions' laws require that it be proven that the person engaging in the harassing or annoying behavior had a malicious intent to cause another harm. It's because of this that judges will consider the time and location at which the behavior is said to have occurred, what actions or words were taken or used and who it was directed at when determining penalties to assess.
If you've been arrested and charged with disturbing the peace, then it's possible that you could face community service, jail time and hefty fines if you're convicted of this type of offense. In learning more about your case, a Christiansburg attorney can advise you of both the potential penalties and your rights in your own case.