Disturbing The Peace: Penal Code Section 415 in California
Over the course of the past twenty-five years, I’ve seen many people charged and convicted of disturbing the peace related to various activities that they’ve engaged in. A lot of people picture the stereotypical disturbing the peace case as someone either playing loud music or making a lot of noise and then the police somehow becoming involved and issue them a ticket for disturbing the peace. However, this particular charge can come up in a lot of different scenarios. Many times people are acting rude or drunk or becoming violent and loud and the police wind up coming on the scene and a lot of times just as a throw away charge to be able to arrest them and deal with them because they’re causing trouble in public – they’ll get them for disturbing the peace and then they’ll arrest them, take them into custody and then they’ll either send them to court – the person will bail out – or sometimes they just let them go after a period of time when they feel they’ve calmed down or the alcohol has worn off that they may have drank.
So, if you are charged with disturbing the peace, there’s a lot of different things that can be done in order for the police and the prosecutors in Los Angeles to charge you with this type of an offense. I also see disturbing the peace being used as a lesser crime when it comes to negotiating more serious misdemeanors or even felonies. In other words, I would consider disturbing the peace a low-grade misdemeanor that does not have that bad of a connotation related to it as other types of crimes do. For example, batteries, domestic violence and other offenses that sound much more serious and are treated much more harshly by the prosecutors. So, one big thing that I see is that the prosecutors – sometimes in a more serious case that they have filed – will use the 415 Penal Code Section of disturbing the peace as a way to resolve the case and let the person plead to that charge instead of some other charges.
Legal Penalties for Disturbing the Peace
A lot of times when I handle these disturbing the peace cases, I’m able to get great results as far as preventing a future conviction and keeping the person out of jail. Prosecutors in these disturbing the peace cases will give diversion a lot of times where the person pleads guilty to the case – the sentencing is set a year away and then they’re ordered to do certain things like community service and other things related to whatever their offense was. If after the year is up, they don’t violate their probation and they do everything that they’re supposed to, and they don’t have any new arrests, then the prosecutors will just permit the court to dismiss the case and the person can move on with their life. If on the other hand, during that year period the person somehow violates the probation, picks up a new case, doesn’t do what they’re supposed to, then they will be sentenced on that year date and take a conviction for disturbing the peace and whatever other charges they may have been violated for while they were on probation.
So, the good news about a disturbing the peace case in Los Angeles is that the prosecutors don’t view these cases very serious, typically, and therefore, there are all sorts of things that can be done in order to protect your rights, your freedom, your record and get you out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible.
What I have you do in these cases is, you come in, you bring your ticket in, we sit down under the privacy of the attorney-client privilege and you give me a detailed account of what happened. Obviously, I ask that you’re honest about the events and that you don’t leave anything out and you don’t put a spin on things. Tell me exactly what happened – even from a police or prosecutor’s prospective – so I can see what the prosecutors are going to say when I get there and then I’ll be prepared when I go in to meet with the prosecutor on your disturbing the peace case, and I’ll go in there with a game plan that you and I have talked about. I’ll tell you what I need you to do in order to be prepared to deal with the case, and then I’m going to let you know what I’m going to do. Once we have a meeting of the minds and we’re both working together and moving in the same direction, we’re going to be in a great position to resolve your case and get you the result that you must have related to your disturbing the peace case.
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