breach of the peace

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Breach of the Peace

A comprehensive term encompassing acts or conduct that seriously endanger or disturb public peace and order.

A breach of the peace was a common-law offense, but is presently governed by statute in many states. It is frequently defined as constituting a form of Disorderly Conduct. Examples include using abusive or obscene language in a public place, resisting a lawful arrest, and trespassing or damaging property when accompanied by violence.

Statutes commonly require that conduct constituting a breach of the peace must be clearly a type of misbehavior resulting in public unrest or disturbance. As an example, a prostitute who solicited men walking by on a public street from her window was found guilty of breaching the peace, but a man who raised his voice to a police officer while the officer was issuing a ticket to him was not guilty of the same offense.

A breach of the peace is synonymous with a disturbance of the peace. Jurisdictions that do not have a specific statutory provision for the offense may punish it as a form of disorderly conduct. The usual penalty imposed is either a fine, imprisonment, or both.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

breach of the peace

n. any act which disturbs the public or even one person. It can include almost any criminal act causing fear or attempting intimidation, such as displaying a pistol or shouting inappropriately. (See: breach)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

breach of the peace

the crime of behaving in a disorderly fashion causing harm or likely to cause harm or generally disturbing the peace. Its wide ambit can raise human rights points.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

BREACH OF THE PEACE. A violation of public order; the offence of disturbing the public peace. One guilty of this offence may be held to bail for his good behaviour. An act of public indecorum is also a breach of the peace. The remedy for this offence is by indictment. Vide Pace,

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
[A] review of the legal reference works on the matter indicates that it has been universally held by the courts that operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor is a breach of the peace within the meaning of statutes or constitutional provisions exempting certain persons from arrest, except for breaches of the peace and other exceptions.
This proposal unambiguously links the issue of law-enforcement involvement to the state-action inquiry and makes clear that the question is generally not one of breach of the peace. Part III then offers several illustrations to demonstrate application of the state-action approach.
Fellow soldiers Damien Heywood, 27, Andy Evans, 21, and Dean Rushton, 21, all from Manchester, Gary Farrell, 23, from Newcastle upon Tyne, and Christopher Wenham, 19, from London, were all acquitted of malicious damage and breach of the peace.
"In all of the circumstances, this case meets the required tests of Scots law and there can be no result other than a conviction for breach of the peace," the sheriff said.
TwoWisham men, aged 30 and 29, along with two Newmains men aged 24 and 44, were arrested for the alleged possession of an offensive weapon, breach of the peace and driving without a licence and insurance.
The 22-year-old arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace was bound over.
A second man was convicted of sectarian breach of the peace after shouting abuse from a flat window.
The former 1st Royal Tank Regiment squaddie was just 17 when he first got slapped with a breach of the peace order and a pounds 25 fine for hanging around and causing trouble.
* A higher percentage of suspects are being arrested for other more serious offences than breach of the peace.
NAKED rambler, Stephen Gough, appeared in the nude in court yesterday as he denied committing a breach of the peace while on his marathon walk, the length of Britain.
Naked rambler Stephen Gough appeared in the nude in court yesterday as he denied committing a breach of the peace while on his marathon walk the length of Britain.
Cho appeared in private at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month charged with committing a breach of the peace in May.