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Florida Disturbing the Peace Laws

Practicing the saxophone, or using power tools to do home improvements, or protesting for a cause all appear to be innocent activities that would not necessarily give rise to criminal charges. However, these activities may constitute a violation of Florida's disturbing the peace laws if the action is considered more than mere annoyance and actually disrupts the peace and quiet of the community.

All states have laws that attempt to protect the peace. The violations of these laws may be called different names such as disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace, but the intent of these laws is the same: to protect the society against chaos and disorder and to maintain the status quo. Florida's disturbing the peace laws are defined in the breach of peace statute. The offense may be charged as part of the broad "catch-all" category of breach of the peace which encompasses various types of public disturbances (brawling or fighting, using offensive language in public, playing loud music), or it may be charged separately.

It's up to the arresting officer to determine whether or not the behavior constitutes a threat. If the officer decides that it does, then you can be charged with violating Florida's disturbing the peace laws.

Florida Disturbing the Peace Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of laws related to Florida's disturbing the peace laws, including links to important code sections.

Statute and Elements of the Crime

Breach of the peace: Fl. Statute Title XLVI 877.03

  • Corrupts the public morals, or
  • Outrages public decency, or
  • Affects peace and quiet of others, or
  • Engages in brawling or fighting

Penalties and Sentencing

  • Breach of peace or disorderly conduct is a second degree misdemeanor which carries penalties of up to 60 days in jail, or 6 months of probations, and a $500 fine.

Possible Defenses

  • Self defense or defense of others
  • Entrapment
  • Outrageous police conduct
  • First Amendment: right to free speech
  • Private property defense- defendant had the right to be on the property.
  • The incident or event did not involve a significant amount of the public.

Related Offenses

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Florida Disturbing the Peace Laws: Related Resources

Charged With Disturbing the Peace in Florida? An Attorney Can Help

Although the charges are relatively minor, you still want to seriously address any accusations that you've violated Florida's disturbing the peace laws. Don't risk your reputation or your record without first speaking to a trusted criminal defense attorney who can explain your options. Find one in your area today with Findlaw's attorney directory.

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