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You and Your Rights

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You and Your Rights

Please note that since this book was last published in 1997 some of the laws that have been referenced may have changed. We are doing our best to update the articles, however, it is advisable that you to consult an attorney before relying on any information contained herein.

Disturbing The Peace

Threatening the peace and security of others

Any person who deliberately hinders the common-law right of the local public or of an individual to enjoy a reasonable degree of peace and security is guilty of disturbing the peace. (See common law.)

An act or omission that merely threatens to disturb the peace is described as being something 'likely to cause a breach of the peace'.

The creation of a nuisance, which might also be a disturbance of the peace, is sometimes referred to as contravening the common-law principles of neighbour's law, and is often a matter affecting persons in nearby or adjacent dwelling units.

A noisy drunk staggering about on the freeway might be prosecuted not only for disturbing the peace but also in terms of the Road Traffic Act, 1989.

In most cases of disturbing the peace, the attention of the law is drawn to the incident by a complaint by a member of the public, usually the person who suffers most as a result of the disturbance. It is not necessary to show that there was a deliberate intention to disturb the peace. For instance, loud banging of car doors late at night by persons on their way home from a party might well be a disturbance of the peace, but it is doubtful whether the police could spare the time or human resources to attend to such a relatively minor incident. However, if this noise was repeated at frequent intervals, even without the intention to harass (see harassment), there would probably be grounds for an action for disturbing the peace.

Swearing in a public place, or the commission of any other act capable of being construed as an offence against religion, decency or morality, would similarly constitute grounds for prosecution.

If a person accused of disturbing the peace is brought to trial, the complainant - that is, the person who reported the disturbance - would probably be required to give evidence against the accused. The punishment for disturbing the peace may be a fine or imprisonment, or both. In some cases the convicted offender may be released with a warning or have a suspended sentence imposed.

Disclaimer :: You and Your Rights
Although we have gone to great lengths to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this database, it is important to remember that laws, government departments, interest and taxation rates are constantly changing. If you have a particularly difficult problem you are advised to consult a qualified legal authority. The publishers, editors and their representatives cannot accept responsibility for any act or omission arising from consulting the information contained herein.
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General Disclaimer: The content of Legal City does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice, nor does it necessarily reflect the views of our management, staff, shareholders, associates, contributors, authors or suppliers. Even though every endeavour has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information we cannot be held responsible for any errors and/or omissions. By using this web site you agree to accept and abide by our terms and conditions.
This web site and all its content is copyright © 2000-2014, Legal City CC • Web site managed with qPortal Content Management v 4.0.0 • This page loaded on October 26, 2014 at 12:05:15 am, SA Standard Time.