breach of the peace

Quick Reference

The state that occurs when harm is done or likely to be done to a person or (in his presence) to his property, or when a person is in fear of being harmed through an assault, affray, or other disturbance. At common law, anyone may lawfully arrest a person for a breach of the peace committed in his presence, or when he reasonably believes that a person is about to commit or renew such a breach. To breach the peace is a crime in Scotland; elsewhere, magistrates may bind over a person to keep the peace. See also arrest; offences against public order.

Subjects: Law.

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