Due to the public nature of these offences there can often be confusion as to who was personally involved in public order offences. For example, if 20 people are taking part in acts that could be considered as a riot and you pass through that area you could be wrongly thought to be taking part by the arresting police officer.
DPP Law are specialist solicitors who can help you seek the redress you deserve when you have been unfairly arrested in situations such as this. We have a dedicated team for taking actions against the police to ensure they have complied with the law and we have successfully made claims for wrongful arrest against the police.
If you believe you have been wrongfully arrested and/or unfairly charged then please complete the enquiry form and we will contact you.
Riot is the most serious public order offence, which means that it can only be dealt with in the Crown Court, and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
The offence requires there to be 12 or more persons to be present together using or threatening unlawful violence for a common purpose. This use or threat of violence must cause another person of reasonable firmness to fear for their personal safety.
Someone is harassed if they are made to feel distressed, humiliated or threatened by someone they know or by a stranger.
These feelings can come about because of things such as unwanted phone calls, letters, emails, text messages, stalking, cyber bullying, verbal abuse, threats and breaking windows. Please note that this list is not comprehensive and harassment can come from any action which distresses, humiliates or frightens a victim.
Harassment is a criminal and civil offence, which means that you may find yourself being prosecuted for harassment in the criminal courts as well as being sued in the civil courts for compensation due to committing harassment.
Criminal harassment is tried in the Magistrates’ Court and has a maximum penalty of six months in prison and/or a £5,000 fine.
Drink and Disorderly
You may be found guilty of this offence if you have been displaying anti-social behaviour while under the influence of alcohol.
It is generally classified as a minor offence and so is dealt with through the Magistrates’ Court. The normal penalty is a fine but more serious cases of being drunk and disorderly may result in your freedom to buy alcohol, drink in public places or enter pubs being heavily restricted.
Be aware that whatever the sentence is you will still end up with a criminal record if you admit the offence or are found guilty of it.
Affray can seem similar to the offence of assault but affray deals with an incident in which two or more people were fighting in a public place and therefore were disturbing the public peace.
It does not have to be a vicious fight, it can simply stem from an argument getting out of hand even if no violence was initially intended by the accused.
However, the penalty for affray can be as high as three years in prison and therefore getting proper legal representation from the outset is of paramount importance. The best criminal solicitors will ensure that that you attain the most favourable result and, if found guilty, the most favourable sentence possible at trial.
Public Order Offences
The purpose of public order offences is to punish the use of violence and/or intimidation by individuals or groups. The term covers a range of offences, which includes affray, being drunk and disorderly, harassment, riot and other similar offences.
Their existence essentially gives the police an opportunity to keep the peace in public areas. Although, many people find themselves charged with a public order offence after attending what they thought was a legitimate and peaceful protest or from being caught up in some trouble at a major public event, such as a football game.
It is important to gain legal representation as soon as possible after being arrested or charged with a public order offence as they can have potentially serious consequences as laid out in the guide below.
Our experienced criminal solicitors will be able to help you regardless of the seriousness of the charge and will use their skills as a top 10 provider of Criminal Defence Services to examine and challenge the evidence in your case.