Breach Of The Peace Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Breach Of The Peace, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Breach Of The Peace?

(n) Breach Of The Peace is the act of causing disturbance to the peaceful living of an individual or society by resorting to threat, physical intimidation, working with dangerous article which may inflict injury to others.

History and Meaning of Breach Of The Peace

Breach of the peace is a common law offense that covers a variety of actions that can disturb or lead to a disruption in peace, which includes using threatening or insulting behavior, and engaging in violent behavior. The term dates back to English common law where it was used to describe acts of violence or public disorder. Breach of the peace was seen as a criminal offense because it can lead to a threat to public safety, and was punishable by arrest and imprisonment.

In common law, breach of peace is classified as a minor offense, but in some jurisdictions, it is considered a more serious offense. The offense might include a wide range of behaviors, like shouting, disruptive behavior in a public place or even physical violence. In many cases, breach of the peace serves as a basis for police to get involved and take action to stop or prevent disturbances.

Examples of Breach Of The Peace

Some instances where breach of the peace could occur include: a protest that escalates into violence or destruction of property, repeatedly interrupting and screaming in someone’s face causing a disturbance, and loud music that disturbs the neighbors.

Another example could be someone yelling or screaming too loudly in a public space, causing anxiety or distress to passersby, or even throwing things around, thereby creating a dangerous environment.

Legal Terms Similar to Breach Of The Peace

Disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, public disturbance, and affray are all legal terms that relate to the offense of breach of the peace. Disturbing the peace is a similar offense that encompasses disruption or disturbances of public order, while disorderly conduct refers to any instance that disturbs the peace of others. Public disturbance relates to activities that annoy or inconvenience the public while affray is a more severe offense that entails fighting or assault.