Frequently Asked Questions
Disturbing the Peace
- What is Disturbing the Peace?
Penal Code 415 describes Disturbing the Peace in
three ways. The first way is to fight or challenge someone to
fight in a public place. The second is to maliciously and
willfully disturbs another person by loud and unreasonable noise.
The last, and most confusing one, is to use offensive words in a public
place which are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent
reaction. A person's freedom of speech has to be weighed before
using the last way to disturbed one's peace.
- Who's peace can be disturbed?
By Law, a peace officer's peace cannot be
disturbed. This means that if someone calls the police for a loud
stereo complaint and the officer hears the music, that officer cannot
take action if the person refuses to turn down the music. This
would require the person, who's peace is being disturbed, to sign a
citizen's arrest and the officer can take action based on the citizen's
- Are there certain hours that my peace can
There are no certain
hour limitations on disturbing the peace. For instance, if someone
has a stereo up so loud that it can be heard from inside your residence
and has been playing all day, it may be considered loud and
unreasonable. However, construction that is being performed during
legal hours, as allowed by municipal code, may be loud but it is not
- What should I do if my peace is being
disturbed by another?
If you believe your peace is being disturbed by
another and you believe it is both loud and unreasonable, call the
police department at (209) 239-8401. We can send out an officer to
evaluate the situation. Most noise complaints can be resolved by
coming out and simply asking the person to keep the noise down. If
the noise continues, a citizen's arrest may be necessary to handle the
situation. In this case, call the police department and an officer
will come out to have you sign the necessary forms. The officer
will then take the necessary action.
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