In an effort to keep communities running smoothly, calmly, and peacefully, states and municipalities have numerous laws that limit what people can do. Whenever people engage in conduct that is likely to cause a disturbance or lead to some sort of non-peaceful event, this behavior is often prosecuted as disorderly conduct, sometimes referred to as “breach of the peace.”
Disturbing the peace, also known as a breach of the peace, disorderly conduct, or by similar terms, occurs whenever someone acts in a way that disrupts the public order or disturbs the peace and tranquility of the community.
Historically, vagrancy laws made it a crime for a person to wander from place to place without visible means of support. Basically, these laws criminalized being homeless and jobless. States used vagrancy laws to arrest, prosecute, and harass homeless people and poor people who were suspected of criminal activity or who were considered undesirable.
Urinating in public is illegal in every state. Defendants may be charged under a law that specifically criminalizes the act, or the prosecutor may allege that the defendant presented a public nuisance or is guilty of disorderly conduct.
Question: One of my buddies got picked up by the cops while we were out bar hopping. He was pretty loaded and they hauled him in for being drunk in public. While he was sobering up in the tank, the cops questioned him about whether he was on drugs and what drugs we had used that night. Can they do that?
Intoxication is not an excuse for criminal conduct, but it may deprive an intoxicated person of the mental capacity to form the intent required by law to be convicted of certain crimes. This is a very complex area of law and standards differ from state to state. This article gives a general summary of the law on intoxication as a defense to certain crimes.