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Defence & Litigation

Public Order Offence

Public Order Offences consist of a series of practices which can bring rise to a Prosecution under the Public Order Act 1986. Prosecutions classified as a ‘Public Order Offense’ can vary from being intoxicated in a public place through to being involved in a riot. If you have been asked to go to the Police headquarters or have actually been charged with such an offence, you need to seek expert lawful recommendations and also representation asap.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    The law regarding public order offences, as set out in the Public Order Act 1986, is designed to deter and punish the use of violence or intimidation by individuals and groups.

    As such, it makes it an offence to be drunk and disorderly in a public place, which is defined as ‘using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards another person’. While this is at the lower end of public order offences, it can lead to criminal charges being brought, which can impact on your livelihood in the future.

    At the other end of the spectrum, public order offences include:

    • Riot: Defined as when 12 or more people come together to use or threaten unlawful violence and can lead to up to five years in prison.
    • Violent Disorder: Defined as when three or more people use or threaten unlawful violence towards another person, causing a person of reasonable firmness to fear for their personal safety, which can lead to up to five years in prison.
    • Affray: Defined as using or threatening unlawful violence towards another person, causing a person of reasonable firmness to fear for their personal safety, which can lead to up to three years in prison.

    With such severe sentences possible and the added threat of unlimited fines in the most aggravated cases, charges brought under the Public Order Act are not to be taken lightly.

    If you’ve been charged with any public order offence, call us on 020 8553 5995 or contact us online and we’ll call you.

    Conviction of any public order offence is a serious matter, which is why it’s essential to seek advice and representation from one of Khans Solicitors’ experienced criminal defence solicitors as soon as you’ve been charged with any public order offence. Ideally, you should do this before giving a statement to the Police.

    If you’re found guilty of any public order offence – even being drunk and disorderly without causing any significant harm or distress – you’ll have a criminal record that may harm your chances of employment in the future, particularly in careers where Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are likely to be made.

    However, for some of the less serious public order offences, our experienced public order solicitors may be able to seek an ‘alternative disposal’ such as being bound over to keep the peace.

    The Police are sometimes agreeable to alternative disposals like this where they don’t feel a prosecution for assault is necessary but do wish to remind someone of their responsibilities to behave themselves, or not to harass certain people. In these cases, we would request a ‘non-conviction bind-over’, which would avoid a guilty verdict, and therefore a criminal record.

    In order to seek the best outcome following a public order offence, it’s essential to call an experienced criminal defence solicitor right away.

    Phone us on 020 8553 5995 or contact us online and we’ll call you.