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Creating or Maintaining a Public Nuisance

July 19, 2016

When you’re dealing with something like penal law, it can become very easy to get confused over just how complicated and convoluted the whole thing can be, especially when you consider that the letter of the law was actually written with an audience of attorneys with years of experience at poring over legal documentation in mind, not the average person. With that said, once you break down the law into simple, easy to understand steps, it becomes much simpler to look at a fuller whole and get at the actual information you need. In this post we’re going to be breaking down the charge of creating or maintaining a public nuisance: its definitions, punishments, and also some defenses that might be applicable to you. So let’s get started.

Creating or Maintaining a Public Nuisance

This law basically means that it’s a crime to either commit or maintain a public nuisance, to not perform a legal duty to remove that public nuisance, or to maintain or otherwise allow that public nuisance to exist on site of property that you either own or control. A public nuisance is really anything that can injure public health, be offensive to the senses, or obstruct property. Also, if it interferes with the enjoyment of life for people in a community, this will also apply. The thing about this law is that its definition is quite broad, and can encompass anything from a dog left outside that barks through the night to a protest that hasn’t been authorized to occur. Again, as long as the action in question corresponds with the parameters we laid out earlier in this post, it can be considered to be Creating or Maintaining a Public Nuisance. When it comes to applicable punishments for this crime, you should note that Creating or Maintaining a Public Nuisance is considered to be a misdemeanor. As such it isn’t necessarily as “serious” of a crime, but it does come with its own sentencing procedure. If charged with this crime, you could be facing misdemeanor probation, up to six months in county jail, and/or a misdemeanor fine of a thousand dollars, plus an additional fine of two hundred dollars. Now that we’ve covered the basics of what this law is and how it’s punished, let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the defenses that you can use, should those defenses apply to you.


When it comes to potential legal defenses for this charge, you can definitely assert that the offensive situation or activity didn’t actually meet the definition of a public nuisance. This could be because it didn’t affect a large enough number of people or that it didn’t occur frequently enough, and that you lacked the ability to reduce or remove the public nuisance. Again, as this is a misdemeanor the punishment isn’t as severe, but you’ll obviously still want to look into any possible defenses should they apply to your specific situation.

As you can see, everything becomes just a little bit easier to understand in the penal law once you break it down into its individual components and look at the meaning of the law as opposed to the letter of it, which can often be confusing and difficult to understand, especially to the average reader. And remember of course that should you be facing legal trouble in regards to Creating or Maintaining a Public Nuisance and have a legal defense that’s applicable to one of the ones we spoke about in this post, you should definitely get in touch with us to get started on your legal defense.



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