What Is The Law On Breach Of The Peace In Delaware And What Are The Punishments for it?
Breach of peace or disturbing the peace is also referred to as disorderly conduct in some of the states making it unlawful to cause disturbance to the peace by making unreasonable noise, fighting in public, fighting in public, or obstructing traffic on a road. In many states including Delaware, where the student population is large, disorderly conduct is a common criminal offense.
If a person is slapped with a charge of disorderly conduct, there can be severe legal consequences. They may have to pay fines as penalties and even a jail term. Such a punishment can have an impact on different factors such as eligibility for future employment. Students can have severe repercussions as a result, thus affecting their academic future. However, a great difficulty while charging a person with disorderly conduct can be that it is a vague offense itself.
Thus, the concept of disorderly conduct is often open to interpretation. An unclassified misdemeanor, disorderly conduct is typically used as a charge for “catch-all” offenses that are aggressive or violent. The article takes a close look at the disorderly conduct laws of the state of Delaware.
What Does Delaware Prohibit?
The state laws prohibit causing public alarm, annoyance, and inconvenience to another individual or create a risk by:
- Making an offensive coarse display, gesture, addressing abusive language, or utterance or unreasonable noise to any individual present
- Engaged in threatening, tumultuous, or violent behavior or fighting
- Obstructing pedestrian or vehicular traffic
- Meeting without having the legal authority to conduct so or disturbing a lawful assembly
- Gathering with other folks in a public location and disagreeing to adhere to a lawful order issued by the cops for dispersal
- Gathering in a public location with other people and wearing garments, hood, or masks that hide their faces and identities to subject any individual for depriving the latter’s privileges or rights; or
- Creating a physically offensive or hazardous condition that does not serve any legitimate purpose.
Getting engaged with a minimum of one other individual in a disorderly act mentioned above, which has the possibility of causing severe alarm, annoyance, or inconvenience or substantial harm, and refuses or fails to listen to a dispersal order issued by a peace official knowingly is also regarded as an act of disorderly conduct in the state of Delaware.
An act of disorderly conduct is regarded as an unclassified misdemeanor in Delaware.
Disorderly Conduct at the Funeral
There is a separate statute in the state of Delaware, which considers disorderly conduct at the funeral as a criminal offense. According to the law, one or more acts listed below are prohibited within a memorial service or funeral’s 300 feet:
- Disturbing a burial, funeral procession, memorial service, or a funeral by an act intended to disrupt or disturb the funeral
- Using threatening gesture or making abusive epithets that the person should have a reasonable knowledge of or knows might provoke a violent response by another person
Such disorderly conducts are not allowed a couple of hours after the conclusion of the funeral or an hour before the funeral. The act is considered a Class A misdemeanor when the offense is made for the first time. For a 2nd or subsequent offense, it is regarded as a Class F felony.
The riot law in Delaware makes it unlawful to get involved in an act of disorderly conduct at least with two persons when any one of the following circumstances exists:
- In case the offender has the intention to coerce or prevent official action
- When any participant plans to use or uses a deadly weapon, or a firearm, and the offender knows about; or
- When the offender has the intention of facilitating or committing a misdemeanor or a felony