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What Is Breach of the Peace?

Situations that involve disturbances or activities that lead to disturbances in a public space are referred to as breach of the peace. This kind of civil offense is treated as a misdemeanor. Those who have been found guilty of breach of the peace are usually let off with a warning not to repeat whatever it is that causes a public disturbance. The exact definition or conditions of a breach of the peace varies among jurisdictions.

The usual offenses that can be considered breach of the peace are being publicly drunk and disorderly, singing loudly, fighting, shouting, or anything else that may threaten the public’s safety. In cases wherein the individual continues to behave in a disruptive or disturbing manner, a law enforcement officer will take him or her into custody. It is the obligation of a law enforcement officer to keep the peace and in doing so, must prevent any form of breach of the peace that may occur.

When a demonstration, strike, or public gathering is done, a breach of the peace may be used to stop any such assembly if it becomes too unruly or disruptive. This is only done if the assembly is spontaneous and does not have the required legal permits. The reasoning behind this logic is that securing a legal permit to assemble gives the public time to prepare for it rather than having it imposed upon them by mere whim. Individuals who are found guilty of breach of the peace can be fined or sentenced to community service, depending on the severity of the offense committed.

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