New Orleans Immigration Protestors Charged With Disturbing the Peace

Posted on Jun 22, 2018 in Disturbing the Peace, Local Issues, NOPD

Jeff Sessions was in New Orleans this week to speak in front of the National Sheriffs’ Association. On Monday, June 18th, as Sessions spoke inside, protestors gathered outside the Enerst N. Morial Convention Center to stand in opposition to the Trump administration’s immigration policies that have been highly publicized over the last few weeks.

Dozens of protestors, ranging in age from children to adults, waved signs and joined in chants outside the convention center. The protestors temporarily blocked the street out front. As they pressed toward the convention center, police formed a wall to block the protestors’ progress.

Five protestors were detained on site and issued summonses for disturbing the peace. The protestors were not arrested, according to NOLA.com, and were later released from custody.

What Is Disturbing the Peace?

What comprises the charge “disturbing the peace” and when do police apply it? The charge can often be a kind of catch-all for a variety of different behaviors, from public intoxication to fighting in public. Other misdemeanor charges include: saying something offensive or derisive to a person legally occupying a public space; engaging in violent or rowdy behavior with three or more persons; disrupting or interfering with a funeral; holding an unlawful assembly; or, interrupting a lawful assembly.

A disturbing the peace charge is one that requires subjective assessment on the part of the police. This means that the officer or officers use their own judgement to determine whether and how an individual’s behavior fits into the above criteria. In the case of the protestors outside the convention center, it seems plausible that police could have situated their behavior within a few of the different offenses.

In Louisiana, the punishment for disturbing the peace is a fine, potential jail time, or both. If convicted, you may face a criminal record.  Disturbing the peace is a charge often paired with another or multiple other charges, and depending on the circumstances of your conviction, you may face further fines or jail time.

“Party Crimes,” or a Good Time Gone Bad

Protestors are not the only ones being charged with disturbing the peace. In fact, disturbing the peace is one of the more common misdemeanors crimes dispensed in the New Orleans area, to locals and tourists alike. Public intoxication, rowdy behavior, and offensive language, which fall under the colloquialism “party crimes,” are unsurprisingly common in a city like New Orleans, where the party never seems to stop.

Nothing kills the buzz like a run-in with the police. While it is legal to drink in public in New Orleans, if you are drinking or drunk in public, and an officer assesses you as a danger to yourself or others, you may face charges. Disturbing the peace is a charge often paired with another or multiple other charges, such as public intoxication (also known as public drunkenness or drunk and disorderly).

Public intoxication, like disturbing the peace, is a subjective charge. If you are being charged with either or both of these crimes, it is best practice to be as cooperative as possible with the police even if you disagree with their assessment of your state or behavior. Doing otherwise can lead to further charges, such as resisting arrest. If you believe you are being arrested unfairly ask for an attorney and contact a licensed New Orleans lawyer before answering any questions.

If you have been charged with disturbing the peace, or other misdemeanor “party crimes,” it is important to understand your options  If you have been charged with disturbing the peace

Have you been charged with disturbing the peace?

Due to the subjective nature of a disturbing the peace charge, and because it is often paired with other charges, you may be charged and not even fully understand why. An attorney at Bloom Legal can help you understand the charges leveled against you and the next steps to take.

Whether you are local or from out of town, our experienced attorneys can help you avoid jail time, fines, and a criminal record with speed and convenience. We will work for you and with you, doing our best to keep you out of court and minimize the time and energy spent dealing with your charges.

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