California Penal Code 415 PC – Disturbing the Peace

California Penal Code Section 415 PC (Disturbing the Peace) makes it a crime for an individual to commit a variety of conduct. Conduct that’s considered to disturb the pace includes playing loud music, fighting another person, challenging another person to fight, and using offensive language in front of others. The prosecutor the crime of disturbing the pace as either a misdemeanor or as an infraction. We will discuss everything you need to know about this crime.

If you have been charged with disturbing the peace as an infraction, paying the fine may be the best option. However, if you have been charged with misdemeanor disturbing the peace, you should immediately contact an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney at The H Law Group because a conviction for this crime may result in a jail sentence of up to 90 days. So, if you have been charged with, contact us to defend you and keep you from going to jail. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

Text of California Penal Code Section 415 PC

“Any of the following persons shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than 90 days, a fine of not more than four hundred dollars ($400), or both such imprisonment and fine:

(1) Any person who unlawfully fights in a public place or challenges another person in a public place to fight.

(2) Any person who maliciously and willfully disturbs another person by loud and unreasonable noise.

(3) Any person who uses offensive words in a public place which are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.”

Proving a Person Guilty of Disturbing the Peace

For the prosecution to convict a person of disturbing the peace, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to prove even one element, it will not be able to convict the defendant of disturbing the peace.

Here are the elements that the prosecution must prove:

  • The defendant willfully and unlawfully engaged in fighting or challenged another person to fight him,
  • The defendant was in a public place when the fight or challenge to fight was made, and
  • The defendant was not acting in self-defense or the defense of others

OR

  • The defendant willfully and unlawfully disturbed another person by making a loud and unreasonable voice,
  • The disturbance caused a clear and present danger of immediate violence or the disturbance was caused to disrupt lawful activities

OR

  • The defendant used offensive words in a public place,
  • The offensive words used are likely to provoke an immediate violent response, and
  • At the time the defendant spoke, there was a clear and present danger that the person to whom the words were directed would respond with violence

Examples of Disturbing the Peace – 415 PC

John is with some friends drinking at a bar. While John is drinking, another man across the room is giving him dirty looks. The man later approaches John and challenges him to a fight in the back alley. The man who challenged john can be arrested for disturbing the peace or cited for it.

Two men are riding on a bus. A frustrated man approaches John and proceeds to call John a racial slur. John gets up and punches the man. The man who called john a racial slur can be charged with and convicted with disturbing the peace because he used offensive language that elicited a violent response from another person.

Defense to Disturbing the Peace (Penal Code Section 415)

There are a variety of defenses that a criminal defense attorney can use to defend you from a disturbing the peace charge. We will discuss some of the defenses available to you. This is not an exhaustive list of all the defenses that may apply to your case.

  • The defendant’s speech was constitutionally protected
  • The defendant did not act unlawfully
  • The defendant is falsely being accused of disturbing the peace
  • The defendant’s conduct did not rise the level of disturbing the peace
  • The defendant was acting in self-defense or the defense of others

Penalties If You’re Convicted of Disturbing the Peace in Violation of CPC 415

If the prosecution convicts an individual of disturbing the peace in violation of penal code 415 depends on whether the prosecution has charged it as either a misdemeanor or an infraction.

If an individual is charged with an infraction, he need only pay a fine. However, if an individual is charged with misdemeanor disturbing the peace, an individual should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend him because he faces the following potential penalties:

  • Conviction of a misdemeanor
  • Up to 90 days in jail
  • A fine of up to $400
  • Placement on probation in lieu of jail

Immigration Consequences for Person’s Convicted of Disturbing the Peace

A conviction for disturbing the peace is unlikely to have any negative immigration consequences because it’s a crime that does not involve dishonesty or moral turpitude. So, if you’re convicted of it, you will not face deportation or be marked as inadmissible.

Expungement

If you have been convicted of misdemeanor disturbing the peace, you will likely be able to have your conviction expunged (removed) from your criminal record after completing the terms and conditions of your release, as well as your probation. To have your conviction, you or your attorney must file a petition to have the conviction removed from your criminal record.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with misdemeanor disturbing the peace, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you. A conviction of disturbing the peace charge can result in a 90-day jail sentence. So, to avoid being sent to jail, you should hire a criminal defense lawyer to defend you and keep you from going to jail. We have represented thousands of clients, so we have the knowledge to achieve the best possible results for you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

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