On April 16, 2011, actor Nicholas Cage was arrested by officers when he was involved in a violent argument with his wife of six years in New Orleans. Additionally, when approached by officers, he refused to cooperate and taunted officers to go ahead and arrest him, which they did and charged him with an additional Disturbing the Peace.
Disturbing the Peace in California is charged under California Penal Code §415 and is referred to as a “wobbler”. A “wobbler” is a charge that can be charged as an infraction, misdemeanor or felony, depending on the facts of the case. A Disturbing the Peace charge can be filed as either an infraction or a misdemeanor.
Penal Code §415 is broken down into difference sections based on the actions that led to a disturbance including; disturbing the peace caused by unlawful fighting, unreasonable noise, and fighting words. A San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney is knowledgeable in the different defenses available to a person who is charged under PC §415. They may be able to argue that there was no intent to disturb the peace, or that they were not the ones causing the disturbance. Furthermore, if a person is engaged in a constitutionally protected activity, such as a peaceful protest, they are protected from being charged with disturbing the peace.
PC §415 is often an additional charge, even though it can be a charge on its own. In the case of Nicholas Cage, he was charged with Disturbing the Peace along with Domestic violence. Because either charge is a charge in and of itself, there will be additional penalties for the actor if he is convicted of both. Fortunately, a disturbing the peace charge can be negotiated to stand as an infraction with a powerful argument and a well prepared defense. An infraction is comparable to a simple citation and carries with it no jail time or probation.
When there is a chance to have a charge reduced to an infraction, it is the best possible outcome after having the case dismissed altogether. In any case, a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney will provide the best method of ensuring that the case ends with the best possible results.