Connecticut Breach of Peace Lawyer
The crime of “Breach of Peace” is frequently charged in Connecticut. It is a broadly applied, catch-all criminal charge that is routinely alleged by Connecticut police and prosecutors when law enforcement wants to hold an individual criminally liable for offensive conduct that is usually not as violent as an assault, but is threatening or alarming to one or more alleged victims.
If you have been charged with Breach of Peace in Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk or Westport, you should consult a Connecticut breach of peace lawyer who works regularly in the Superior Courts in Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport in order to thoroughly understand the exact allegations against you, and to learn of all of your options in fighting these charges. The ultimate goal when charged with Breach of Peace is to achieve a disposition of your case where the charge is completely dismissed and to further ensure that you will not have the Breach of Peace charge on any criminal or arrest record of yours going forward.
The defense attorneys at Mark Sherman Law combine over 15 years of experience in defending against Breach of Peace charges on behalf of their clients. We are committed to fighting for you in court, are not afraid to push back against the police and prosecutors when appropriate, and will try to get the best result possible for you. We will keep you informed of all the developments in your Connecticut Breach of Peace case. And we will often reach out to the witnesses and complainant in your case to attempt to delicately mediate and resolve the Breach of Peace case with them so that we can report back to the court and prosecutors that further prosecution of your Breach of Peace charge is not necessary.
What is Breach of Peace in Connecticut?
The Connecticut misdemeanor charge of Breach of Peace in the Second Degree, as codified in C.G.S. § 53a-181, can occur in a variety of ways. The first element that is required for almost every disturbing the peace charge is intent—that is, in order to be guilty of Breach of Peace, you much have the intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another person. Alternatively, if you don’t have intent, then you can still be guilty if you act recklessly enough to create a risk of causing inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another person (i.e. such as yelling “Fire” or “Gun” in an airport or movie theater). The second element that is required is that, acting with such intent, you (i) assault, strike, or threaten another person, (ii) exhibit or display offensive or indecent material, or (iii) use abusive or obscene language.
Clearly these categories cover a lot of conduct that we see out in public all the time (such as road rage incidents, cursing at another driver, or sticking your middle finger up at somebody). Police in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan have wide discretion to charge Breach of Peace. Therefore, it is important for you to know how to handle yourself when being questioned by police for suspicion of Breach of Peace.
Breach of Peace in the First Degree, as detailed in C.G.S. § 53a-180aa is a more serious felony charge. According to this statute, a person is guilty of this charge when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, they place a fake explosive device or an imitation of a hazardous substance in a place likely to be discovered by another person (i.e. a toy gun or fake white powder on an envelope). This crime is charged much less frequently than its Second Degree counterpart, and only arises in the very limited circumstances described above.
The Penalties for Breach of Peace
Although the misdemeanor charge may not seem so serious on its face (after all, cursing at someone isn’t always criminal), the penalties and fines for Connecticut Breach of Peace charges can be severe. If you either plead guilty or are convicted of a Second Degree Breach of Peace charge, then you can be sentenced to up to 6 months jail, fined up to $1000, and receive a lengthy period of probation. A conviction or guilty plea to felony First Degree Breach of Peace can result in a jail sentence of 1 to 5 years, probation, and a maximum fine of $5000.
Fighting Breach of Peace Charges
The experienced Connecticut breach of peace lawyers at Mark Sherman Law have developed time-tested strategies for defending their clients against Breach of Peace in the Second and First Degree charges. Our distinctive “two-attorney” approach of carefully reviewing police reports helps ensure that no technicality or detail is overlooked in our analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of your police report. Two of our firm’s criminal lawyers will review and scrutinize your police reports for any violations of your constitutional rights, including improper searches and seizures of your person or property, as well as the proper administration of your Miranda rights and warnings. In certain circumstances, we immediately file motions with the Court to preserve electronic surveillance evidence in the law enforcement’s possession which can help vindicate you, such as police cruiser dashboard cams, and audio / video recordings of your arrest and booking.
What to Expect During Your Arrest for Breach of Peace
If the police suspect you have disturbed the peace, then they will likely question you as to what happened. Remember anything you say to the police during this questioning can and will be used against you. There is no such thing as “off-the-record” conversations with the police. Despite what you see on television, everything is on the record. Also remember to be polite and courteous to police officers questioning you. They often have a wide amount of discretion to diffuse the situation and issue warnings. If you present yourself as polite, respectful and under control, then there is a chance the police will let you go with a warning. Just as important, you can ask for a lawyer at any time during police questioning, and the police are required to stop questioning you and give you the opportunity to speak to a Connecticut breach of peace attorney.
If you are charged with First or Second Degree Breach of Peace under C.G.S. § 53a-181 or § 53a-180aa, then you will be required to appear in Superior Court within two weeks of receiving your arrest paperwork. For the misdemeanor charge, the police have the option of writing you a summons without booking, photographing and fingerprinting you at the police station. But make no mistake—even if you are given a ticket, this is still an arrest for a criminal misdemeanor charge and you are required to appear in court on the date designated on your summons.
Once you receive you paperwork from the police, you should contact a top breach of peace lawyer in Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien or Norwalk. They can assess the severity of your case and immediately begin to assist you in gathering evidence, build your defense, and examine the police reports. They will also accompany you to your arraignment at Superior Court and argue against the imposition of any onerous conditions of release.
Conditions of Release in Breach of Peace Cases
At your arraignment, which is usually 5 to 10 business days after your arrest for Breach of Peace under C.G.S. § 53-181, the Superior Court will consider imposing additional conditions of your release, which, if not complied with, can result in your arrest for another crime called Violation of Conditions of Release. It is therefore important to have your Connecticut breach of peace lawyer accompany you to your arraignment to challenge any unnecessary imposition of additional conditions of release such as random drug testing, restraining and no-contact orders, anger management, and drug counseling. While these restrictions and resources can certainly be helpful in resolving your Breach of Peace charges, we prefer our clients availing themselves of these resources on their own terms, and not at the mercy and order of the Court or prosecution.
Hiring a Connecticut Breach of Peace Lawyer
So if you have been arrested for Breach of Peace in Stamford, Norwalk, New Canaan, Greenwich, Darien or Westport, give the experienced Connecticut breach of peace lawyers at Mark Sherman Law a call today. Our 24-7 call center will connect you with one of our attorneys right away. Our rates and fees are competitive, and we will work with you with only one goal in mind—to get you best results possible. Contact us today.