Darien Breach of Peace Lawyer
After an arrest for first- or second- degree breach of peace, time is of the essence to start building a strong defense. If you are facing charges, contact a Darien breach of peace lawyer to discuss your options.
What is Breach of the Peace?
There are two levels of breach of peace. The more serious is breach of peace in the first-degree (C.G.S. §53a-180aa). This occurs when someone places a fake explosive or other hazardous substance in a public place. To be found guilty you must either have intended to cause annoyance, inconvenience, or alarm or recklessly created the risk of the same. Breach of peace in the first-degree is a D Felony. It carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $5,000.00 fine, and 3 years of probation.
Much more commonly seen is breach of peace in the second-degree (C.G.S. 53a-181) occurs under a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to fighting, engaging in violent behavior in public, posting offensive matter, or using abusive or obscene language. Similar to breach of peace in the first-degree, to be guilty you must either have intended to cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm or recklessly created the risk of the same. Breach of peace in the second-degree is a class B misdemeanor. It carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail, a $1,000.00 fine, and 1 year probation. A lawyer in Darien could determine if someone’s actions constitute a charge for first or second-degree breach of peace.
What Counts as a Public Place for Breach of Peace Charges?
Importantly, a person does not necessarily have to be on publicly owned or government-maintained land in Darien in order to be charged with and convicted of breaching the peace under Connecticut state law. In the context of this criminal offense, a “public place” is any area used and/or reserved for use by the public, regardless of who owns that land or bears responsibility for maintaining it.
Furthermore, there is no requirement that entry to that land must be free. It just has to be generally open to and meant for use by the public. This means that it is possible to be arrested for breaching the peace in a retail store, residential neighborhood, or even an amusement park just as it is possible to be arrested for this offense in a public park or on a government-maintained road or highway. A Darien breach of peace attorney could explain this and other terms that might be relevant to your unique situation in more detail during a private initial meeting.
What are the Long-Term Consequences of a Criminal Conviction?
As a Darien attorney knows, the unofficial consequences of a breach of peace conviction can sometimes be far worse than the statutory penalties. A conviction or even an arrest for breach of the peace becomes a matter of public record. Anyone performing a background check can see the record of a potentially violent offense, but they will not necessarily know the circumstances behind the case. A criminal conviction could make it difficult to land the right job, get a loan, or even volunteer with certain organizations. The negative impact could continue for years.
What If a Breach of Peace Charge is Considered Domestic Violence?
The repercussions of a breach of peace charge—let alone a conviction—can be especially serious if a defendant’s charge is classified as a domestic violence offense by the law enforcement officers who arrest and/or detain them. In Connecticut, a criminal offense becomes “domestic violence” if it involves physically or verbally threatening the wellbeing of a family member or household member.
The most immediately effect that a domestic violence designation generally has on a breach of peace case has to do with how quickly the case proceeds after arrest. In the interest of protecting vulnerable people from potentially suffering further harm at the hands of their abuser, Connecticut courts greatly expedite scheduling of arraignment hearings for domestic violence offenses. In some cases, domestic violence defendants even have to appear in court the very next day after being arrested.
Additionally, domestic violence charges—especially those allegedly involving violent or threatening conduct—often prompt the court to issue a protective order against the defendant, which would remain in effect until they stand trial for the underlying criminal offense. In this way, simply being arrested on suspicion of breaching the peace can dramatically disrupt your daily life and even impact your relationship with your family. Click here for resources on a variety of domestic violence charges, how to fight domestic violence cases, and how to best protect your future.
How is Breach of Peace Different from Disorderly Conduct?
Breach of the peace and disorderly conduct are very similar offenses as defined under Connecticut law, and there are some situations in which either charge could conceivably be levied against someone. For example, “engaging in fighting or tumultuous behavior” is listed under both relevant statutes as an example of behavior that could justify criminal charges. In general, breach of peace is considered a more serious offense than disorderly conduct, and police officers generally pursue the former charge in situations involving overtly violent or threatening conduct, and/or actions that disturb a large number of people at once.
Breach of peace is also a more serious offense on paper, since the second-degree variant of this offense is a class B misdemeanor and disorderly conduct is just a class C misdemeanor. A knowledgeable lawyer in Darien could explain the unique aspects of breach of peace charges in as much detail as necessary during a private consultation.
How can a Defense Attorney Help Me?
Proving intent to cause or reckless disregard for the risk of inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm can be difficult given the facts and circumstances. A Darien lawyer can argue that you did not have the required intent to commit a breach of peace. Further, an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the court system can negotiate for alternative sentences whenever possible.
Contact a Knowledgeable Darien Breach of Peace Attorney
An experienced Darien breach of peace lawyer could fight to protect your rights and by formulating a strong defense strategy. To learn more about how a criminal defense lawyer could help with the unique needs of your case, click here to check out our over 300 certified 5-star client reviews and call today.