What is the Law on Breach of Peace Law in Maine and What are the Punishments for it?
According to the constitutional law of any country, predominantly English-speaking countries, breach of the peace, or disturbing the peace is a type of disorderly conduct. When a person disturbs the peace, he or she is said to have caused a criminal offense in the eyes of the law. Such acts which cause a breach of the peace include unruly public behavior including fighting among others or other acts which tend to cause harm to the surroundings or people or making loud noises that tend to disturb the livelihood of others. A person whose words or actions may jeopardize the right to peace of another person may be charged with breach of peace.
What can Disturb the Peace?
In order for a breach of the peace to occur, there are certain laws governing it. These laws generally vary from one state to another. But they usually prevent people from:
- Fighting among each other in a public place.
- Using offensive words or words that are likely to incite to violence.
- Shouting or raising one's voice with the intention of inciting to violence in a public place.
- Knocking loudly on the doors of people who are sleeping with the intention to disturb their peace.
- Shouting profane words in public places.
- Allowing dogs to bark excessively in residential areas.
- Playing loud music at night with the intention of disturbing the peace of others.
What are the Laws for Disturbing the Peace in Maine?
According to Section 501-A, which defines the laws against disorderly conduct in Maine, the following are prohibited in a public place and are considered to intentionally disturb the peace and livelihood of others by causing annoyance to them.
- Making loud noises.
- Fighting with others without permission or authority or being licensed to do so.
- Activating devices including explosives which tend to release noxious odors.
This law also prohibits one from intentionally accessing, insulting, taunting, or challenging any person with offensive or annoying words in a public or private place. According to this law, even gestures or other physical conduct that would disturb the peace of others by inciting to violence are banned.
Making unreasonable noises in public or private places is also an offense under this law.
While these misdemeanor acts can be serious offenses and can attract hefty penalties, some common actions don't abet to breach in the peace. These include:
- Merely annoying someone.
- Accidentally bumping into someone.
- Rudely gesturing someone.
- Simply embarrassing someone.
Maine Breach of Peace Punishment
Breach of the peace through disorderly conduct is a Class E criminal offense in Maine and can attract up to six months jail time or up to $1,000 fine. Riots, unlawful assemblies, and failure to disperse from these assemblies also come under disorderly conduct that causes a breach of the peace. Riots that intentionally cause physical injuries or property damages against people who aren't parties is a felony or breach of the peace or of misconduct. Also, if the offender uses or intends to use any dangerous weapons or firearms in the course of the misconduct or disorderly conduct, then it is also a crime related to a breach of the peace.
Thus, breach of the peace in Maine can sometimes be a serious felony, especially when things take a nasty turn or things tend to get out of hand and can attract penalties including a large sum of money is fines or even jail time for a certain period. The law for these types of crimes varies from one state to another. For instance, in some states in the US, being drunk in public is prohibited under this law. Similarly, simply loitering in the surrounding areas, especially restricted or prohibited areas is also a serious offense that comes under the breach of the peace.