helps people win back their lives
Breach of Peace
Some of the most common criminal charges that Michigan citizens face are those involving a breach of the peace. All people have the right to peacefully gather in public places, and any actions that disturb this peace could lead to an arrest and criminal prosecution.
A Michigan breach of peace lawyer could work to defend you against allegations of breaching the peace. Seasoned criminal attorneys understand the law, what the prosecutor needs to prove to win a case, and how to protect your rights and freedoms both in and out of court.How Michigan Law Addresses Breaches of Peace
Michigan Penal Code §750.170 states that any individual who makes or excites any disturbance in any tavern, store, business, street, or park is guilty of disturbing the peace. According to the letter of this law, this offense is officially known as "Disturbance of lawful meetings," which means it only applies to defendants who are accused of causing a scene in front of people who are legally allowed to be where they are.
This idea can have practical applications when presenting a defense in court. If a shopkeeper is accused of disturbing a lawful meeting by yelling at a person to leave their store, for instance, they could argue in court that the person was a loiterer who had no right to be there rather than a customer.Consequences of Breaching the Peace
The penalty for being found guilty of disturbing a lawful meeting can be surprisingly harsh. The statute states that this is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, or both. However, many cases can be disposed of through a sentence of probation.
In any event, a guilty finding would appear on an individual's criminal record and may affect their job prospects, as well as where they can live. In light of this, strong representation from a Michigan breach of peace lawyer could be critical to a defendant's future.What Actions May Qualify as Breaching the Peace?
The Michigan Penal Code provides a thorough definition of where a breach of the peace can occur. However, it says very little about exactly what a disturbance of a lawful meeting is. For the most part, whether a person has caused a disturbance is left up to the discretion of the police officer who makes the arrest and the jury or judge that hears the trial.
Some common examples of behavior that might breach the peace include:
- Yelling or cursing
- Public drunkenness
- Starting a fight
- Getting involved in an already established argument or fight
- Playing loud music
- Driving in a way to intentionally annoy other people
A breach of peace lawyer in Michigan could work with potential clients to demonstrate to juries that their behavior was not disturbing the activities of others. In some cases, a defendant may be able to argue that their actions were a disturbance, but they were necessary to prevent a greater harm, such as breaking up a fight.How a Michigan Breach of Peace Attorney Could Fight for You
Allegations involving a breach of the peace—or a disturbance of a lawful meeting, as it is known in Michigan—are misdemeanor-level offenses. Still, a conviction can result in a jail sentence, fines, and a permanent criminal record, so it is vital to give yourself every advantage if you are facing these charges.
A Michigan breach of peace lawyer could provide valuable protection by working to investigate the incident, evaluate the strength of the prosecutor's case, and protect your rights and freedoms in court. Contact an attorney today to discuss your case.