murrays solicitors
01274 304 448
10 Piece Hall Yard, Bradford BD1 1PJ
solicitors Bradford

Public Order Offences

We act for persons accused of various public order offences from intentional harassment to violent disorder and riot. Whatever the allegations, being arrested for a public order offence can be an extremely difficult experience criminal solicitorsand can seriously damage your reputation. If you or a family member is charged with a public order offence it is important that you contact our expert public order offences solicitors straight away.

The Public Order Act contains most offences involving behaviour which affects order in public places – a short description of each can be found below:

Section 1 public order act – Riot

This applies where 12 or more people acting with ‘common purpose’ use or threaten violence. Their behaviour must have the affect that a normally firm person would be afraid. Section 1 Riot must be heard in a Crown Court, with a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

Section 2 public order act – Violent Disorder

This is effectively the same offence as riot, except with only 3 or more people involved. It can be heard in the Crown Court or Magistrates Court and the maximum sentence in the Crown Court is 5 years imprisonment.

Section 3 Public order act – Affray

This again involves the actions of people (a minimum of 2 in this case) causing a person at the scene (and this person could be theoretical i.e. not actually there) to be afraid by the behaviour of the people using or threatening violence. Affray can be heard in the magistrates or crown courts and carries a maximum sentence of 3 years imprisonment.

Section 4 Public order act – Intentional Harassment, Alarm or Distress

This offence contains 2 elements; the person must act in a way that is abusive, threatening or insulting and must intend to cause harassment, alarm or distress. This can include words, behaviour, written signs or other representations. This offence can only be heard in the Magistrates court and carries a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment. Anti-Social behaviour orders (ASBOS) were introduced to deal with these offences which can include drunk and disorderly behaviour as well as criminal activity such as arson, drug offences, racism, intimidation and vandalism.

If you have been arrested on suspicion of committing any of these offences it is crucial that you ensure you are represented during this process and obtain the very best legal advice. Please contact one of our expert public order offences solicitors now for a consultation.