Disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct is a catch phrase for a variety of low level offenses, including public intoxication, lewd conduct in a public place, soliciting prostitution, disturbing another by loud and unreasonable noise, and even “willfully and maliciously” obstructing a street, sidewalk or other public place. Despite the minor nature of these offenses, they are criminal violations and can be punishable by jail time. However, as for any crime, in order for you to be found guilty the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you actually did what the law prohibits. . If they cannot prove each and every element of the crime, then you cannot be convicted. For example, while we often hear of persons being charged with “drunk in public” it is not a crime to be drunk in public unless there another element is shown: that you are in such a condition that you cannot exercise care for your own safety or the safety of others, or your intoxication is causing you to obstruct a street or sidewalk. The prosecution must be able to prove those elements.
So if you are charged with disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the law and will provide you with the best possible defense. Call Robbi A. Cook for a free consultation at 510-208-5051.