Maintaining public safety is of the highest priority to state and local police, in addition to the Pennsylvania legislature. Law enforcement agencies are here to protect and serve, which in many cases requires focusing on maintaining law and order. When everything in public runs smoothly, when people can go about their businesses knowing they are safe from harm, then communities and economies flourish. The government of Pennsylvania has made a variety of violent, offensive, and poor conduct illegal in order to create and maintain peace. If certain types of behavior were not unlawful, then there would be no way to deter individuals from behaving in a way that puts others at risk.
If you are accused of committing a crime that disturbed the peace and safety of the public environment, call a criminal lawyer from Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC at (412) 281-2146 as soon as possible for a free, initial case consultation.
Common Crimes Against the Public and Peace
There are many offenses within the Pennsylvania Code that are considered crimes against the public and peace. Our experienced criminal defense lawyers are here to help you defend against these and other types of crimes.
We have years of experience handling crimes against the public and peace, including but not limited to:
- Disorderly Conduct– You can be found guilty of disorderly conduct if you, with the intent to cause alarm to the public or recklessly create a risk of alarm or inconvenience, engage in fighting or violent behavior, make unreasonable noise, use obscene language, or create a hazardous or physically offense condition. Per 18 Pa. Code §5503, disorderly conduct is often a summary offense. However, if you are found to have intended to create substantial harm or you failed to stop after receiving a warning, you will face a third-degree misdemeanor.
- Resisting Arrest– No matter how unjust you believe an arrest to be, you must cooperate with law enforcement officials. If you act in such as a way as to require an officer to use substantial force to arrest you or you place the officer at risk for substantial bodily injury, then you can be charged with resisting arrest in addition to the original offense you were arrested for. This is a second-degree misdemeanor, per 18 Pa. Code §5104. If you find yourself facing additional charges for your actions during an arrest, call a crime against the public and peace lawyer right away.
- Giving a False Report to Law Enforcement– 18 Pa. Code §4906 states you can be convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor if you knowingly give false information to any law enforcement officer with the intent to implicate another individual of committing a crime. If you tell the police about an incident that you know did not actually occur or you pretend to give the police information about an offense when you don’t actually have said information, you will face a third-degree misdemeanor. However, if this crime takes place during a state of emergency or you give a false report regarding the theft or loss of a gun, then you will be charged with an offense one degree higher than the original charge.
- Giving False Identification– When you are stopped or contacted by the police and informed that you are a subject in an official investigation, you must properly and accurately identify yourself. If you give law enforcement any type of false information about your identity, then 18 Pa. Code §4914 says you can be convicted of a third-degree misdemeanor. Contact our crimes against the public and peace attorneys to learn more about this offense.
- Impersonating a Public Servant– Based on 18 Pa. Code §4912, you may be found guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor if you pretend to hold a public position, including that of a police officer, with the intent to induce another person to submit to that position’s official authority.
- Terroristic Threats– If you call in a false threat of actual or potential existence of a weapon of mass destruction or you threaten the placement of a weapon of mass destruction, then 18 Pa. Code §2715 states you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. If your threat caused any business, assembly, or transportation system to not operate as normal, then you will be charged with a third-degree felony. If this crime takes place during a state of emergency or you disrupt the function of the government, you will be charged with a second-degree felony. There are few things as serious as being accused of terrorism. Contact our crimes against the public and peace attorneys today.
Potential Penalties Upon Conviction
If you plead or are found guilty of a crime against the public and peace, then you will face a statutory penalty that depends on the level of the charge, such as:
- Summary offense– Jail time up to 90 days, and fines reaching to $300.
- Third-degree misdemeanor– Imprisonment for up to one year in jail, and fines reaching $2,000.
- Second-degree misdemeanor– Up to two years in jail, and a fine up to $5,000.
- First-degree misdemeanor– Imprisonment in jail for up to five years, and a fine of $10,000.
- Third-degree felony– Up to seven years in prison, and fines up to $15,000.
- Second-degree felony– Up to 10 years in prison, and a fine up to $25,000.
- First-degree felony– Up to 20 years in prison, and fines reaching $25,000.
Many crimes against the public and peace are misdemeanors. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t take these charges seriously.
In addition to the potentially harsh statutory penalties for a crime against the public and peace, a conviction could force you to deal with collateral consequences for your offense. With a conviction permanently on your record, you may face a number of hurdles, including:
- Difficulty gaining admission to college or graduate school
- Difficulty obtaining student financial aid
- Ineligibility or difficulty obtaining certain professional licenses
- Difficulty obtaining a job
- Ineligibility for housing assistance
- Difficulty getting approved for rental housing
- Immigration issues
- Child custody and visitation issues
- Loss of your voting rights for a period of time
- Loss of your gun ownership rights for a period of time or forever
How to Defend Yourself in the Face of a Crime Against the Public and Peace
It can be difficult to defend yourself when you have been charged with a crime against the public and peace. However, it isn’t impossible. Our knowledgeable crimes against the public and peace attorneys are here to help.
We will review the charges against you, go over every piece of evidence that helps and hinders your case, and determine the strongest defense strategy available. Depending on the situation, we can discuss filing a motion to dismiss and seek to have the charges dropped entirely, negotiate a plea bargain, or take the case to trial and fight for an acquittal before a judge and jury.
If we go to trial, may be able to prove that you did not have the necessary intent to commit the crime. For instance, if the offense requires that you acted intentionally or knowingly, we can present evidence that you did not act in such a way. We may also build a defense based on the premise that the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to prove you committed the offense.
Let Our Crimes Against the Public and Peace Attorneys Help You
When you face a serious offense based on accusations that you disturbed the peace, then you need a trusted criminal defense attorney who has specific experience handling crimes against the public and peace by your side. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, we have spent years working on a wide range of criminal cases and have a proven track record of success.