You may or may not have heard the term “public order offense” in the past. The definition of public order offense is any type of behavior or action that interferes with normal society. They are offenses that disturb the peace. By definition, public order offenses go up against the morals of a community as a whole and may infringe upon the customs and values of that community. That particular behavior is considered potentially harmful and is believed to disrupt society if the people in charge don’t handle it appropriately.
Some types of public order offenses (for example) are disorderly conduct, public indecency, prostitution, drunkenness, vagrancy, gang activity, and crimes involving drugs. All states in the United States, including Massachusetts, have public order offense laws and in many cases, the local areas within the states have additional laws that they reinforce. Interestingly, with this type of a crime, there is often no victim and punishing the person who is allegedly committing a public order offense is not contingent on anyone else’s testimony. In Massachusetts, a public order offense can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the seriousness of the charge.
The definitions of some of the major public order offenses
The following are brief definitions of some of the major public order offenses:
- Disorderly conduct: This is the offense of disturbing the peace and infringes on public morals and public decency. The specific laws regarding disorderly conduct vary from state to state and the interpretation of whether a person is guilty of disorderly conduct offense is somewhat subjective. However, one thing that the authorities all seem to agree about is that the individual who is committing the offense is upsetting the peace in the community.
- Public indecency: This offense is considered to detract from the quality of life of the community in the general vicinity of where the crime is being committed. The aim of the authorities is to maintain or improve the quality of life of the people in the community. The two main ways that public indecency are thought to negatively affect a community is by degrading the neighborhood or introducing undesirable people into the community.
- Vagrancy: Vagrancy is an offense of the person who is not a part of the community and who is of poor economic status wandering the streets of the community. Loitering commonly goes hand in hand with vagrancy. These two offenses are often tied to gang activity, which can bring on a whole new set of issues.
In addition to the public order offenses that are defined here, there are others that also come up and must be handled and represented effectively and compassionately.
Solid legal support
If you have been accused of a public order offense, the solid support of a knowledgeable Boston Criminal Defense attorney may help you to turn your case around and teach you how to protect your rights. The attorney will be able to lend you support and can be with you throughout the legal process so that the outcome of your case will hopefully allow you to move past this part of your life and look toward a brighter future for you and your family.