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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 13752
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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disturbing the peace

Customer Question

Last weekend in Gonzales Louisiana I was arrested for disturbing the peace. I tried to walk home from a bar and passed out on the sidewalk...then was awoken by police and arrested. I was very polite and cooperative. I want to know the best options...should I plead guilty? The officer told me to go to court, plead guilty and I wont have to pay a fine.  I'm also 21 and want to keep this off my record if at all possible. Thanks for your response.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 years ago.

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Here is the statute on disturbing the peace:


§103. Disturbing the peace

A. Disturbing the peace is the doing of any of the following in such manner as would foreseeably disturb or alarm the public:

(1) Engaging in a fistic encounter; or

(2) Addressing any offensive, derisive, or annoying words to any other person who is lawfully in any street, or other public place; or call him by any offensive or derisive name, or make any noise or exclamation in his presence and hearing with the intent to deride, offend, or annoy him, or to prevent him from pursuing his lawful business, occupation, or duty; or

(3) Appearing in an intoxicated condition; or

(4) Engaging in any act in a violent and tumultuous manner by any three or more persons; or

(5) Holding of an unlawful assembly; or

(6) Interruption of any lawful assembly of people; or

(7) Intentionally engaging in any act or any utterance, gesture, or display designed to disrupt a funeral, funeral home viewing, funeral procession, wake, memorial service, or burial of a deceased person.

(8) Intentionally blocking, impeding, inhibiting, or in any other manner obstructing or interfering with access into or from any building or parking lot of a building in which a funeral, wake, memorial service, or burial is being conducted, or any burial plot or the parking lot of the cemetery in which a funeral, wake, memorial service, or burial is being conducted.

B.(1) Whoever commits the crime of disturbing the peace shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than ninety days, or both.

(2) Whoever commits the crime of disturbing the peace as provided in Paragraphs (A)(7) and (8) of this Section shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.


As you can see, this is punishable by more than a fine. It is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail. That said, given that you have no prior record and that it is a minor charge, a guilty plea would likely result in just a fine, community service, etc. You wouldn't get jail for something like this. The court may even decide to withhold adjudication (withhold a finding of guilt) or offer you pre-trial diversion, basically, probation where if you complete the terms successfully they agree to later drop the charge.


Although it is a minor offense, because it is a misdeanor, I do suggest that you consult with a criminal lawyer in your area to disucss it further, even if you decide not to use a lawyer. Many lawyers will offer you a free or low cost consultation.


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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks. I was also wondering how serious this charge is compared to other charges such as public intoxication? How likely is it that this charge will be dropped if I do community service, pay fine, ect?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 years ago.

Appearing in public in an intoxicated condition would get your charged with disturbing the peace -it's really no better or worse, though in some parrishes, like in New Orleans, it is a municipal offense, and carries with it a possible maximum sentence of 6 months in jail!


You're actually the perfect candidate for pre-trial diversion if they offer it (it's up to the prosecutor and court to decide). You have no criminal record and this is a low-level, non violent offense. The program was actually created for people who have received minor charges and don't want a record.