Colorado's Law on Breach of Peace and Punishments
The laws pertaining to peace vary from one US state to another. A broad range of activities are covered under misconduct or unacceptable behavior. These activities are mostly considered troublesome by virtue of their ability to incite anger or annoyance in the community. Any individual or group of individuals, found to be guilty of the listed nuisances, can be convicted under the law.
Breach of Peace in Colorado
Colorado has well-formulated laws in place, even in case of a minor offense such as breach of peace. These laws are formulated to ensure peaceful co-existence in society. A person’s action amounts to a social disturbance if he resorts to offensive language in a public arena. Some examples of public nuisances are, loitering in public arenas, initiation or perpetuation of riots. Loud noises, public fights, use of firearms or weapons, also amount to disorderly conduct.
Exceptions to the Penalty
The law has exceptions, as in the case of public contests were arms and weapons may be used to display skills for entertainment purposes. Also, a person who holds office in the defense or police departments is licensed to use arms and ammunition and cannot be convicted.
Classes of Punishments
When held guilty for breach of peace, a person may be penalized for his misconduct. According to Colorado Revised Statutes for disorderly conduct given in Title 18, Article 9, Part 1, Section 18-9-106, the punishment meted out to the individual, depends upon the degree of the offense.
Depending on the motive and context, an offender can be penalized under Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3 categories. Petty offenses, categorized as Class 1 petty offense, attract a fine up to $500 or imprisonment for 6 months. Class 3 misdemeanors include participation in public fights and harassing someone, which attracts a fine up to $750 or 6 months of imprisonment. Class 2 misdemeanors include use of arms or weapons which attracts a fine up to $1000 or imprisonment for 3 to 12 months.
Colorado has strict harassment laws in place. If a person is found to take indiscriminate photographs or film without prior permission, make offensive physical contact or direct obscenities at someone, they can be penalized under Class 3 misdemeanors. Also, an individual can be held guilty if they are found to be following someone in a public place.
Defenses that Can be Raised
Depending upon the category and degree of offense, a defense can be raised. If the person misconducts himself while protesting against something, it can be defended on the grounds of the right to expression. Also, an individual’s misconduct might have been resorted to as a means of self-defense. If the validity of the defense can be justified, the individual is not persecuted.
Next Course of Action
The police departments act on a tip received from onlookers or from reports they have gathered personally. They respond quickly and make the necessary investigation.
Although a breach of peace is considered as a minor offense in Colorado, a conviction for it can negatively impact a person’s social image. Many of these incidents are on-the-spur reactions to situations and are quickly regretted. Sometimes, a stranger to the parts can unintentionally fall prey to the state legislation.
If convicted, it is advised that the person consults a reputed lawyer, who is well versed in local legislation, in order to defend the claim efficiently. You need to bear in mind that state laws are always subject to revisions and only a local attorney can give you the latest account of the current scenario.