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Can you get arrested for yelling?

Do your neighbors complain about your loud parties or fights with your partner? Do you get dirty looks from people in restaurants and movie theaters for talking too loud?

In most cases, annoying other people with the volume of your voice has social consequences but not legal ones. However, there are times when being too loud can get you in trouble with the law.

When is being too loud more than just annoying?

Florida law defines breach of the peace or disorderly conduct as acts that meet one or more criteria:

  • Corrupt the public morals
  • Cause outrage
  • Defy a sense of public decency
  • Disturb the peace and quiet of witnesses
  • Engage in fighting or brawling

A person who receives a conviction for disorderly conduct or breach of the peace is guilty of a misdemeanor in the second degree. You could receive up to six months probation or 60 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.

When is being too loud disorderly conduct?

There is a certain amount of subjectivity to whether yelling crosses the line from annoyance to a breach of the law. In most cases, the law is on the side of the yeller. Speech, even when it is loud, offends or annoys others, is constitutionally protected. Additionally, there is legal precedent to establish that merely yelling or cursing does not substantiate a disorderly conduct charge. However, if your yelling includes threats of physical violence or poses a danger to others, first amendment protections may not apply.

In most cases, yelling in public is an annoyance to the people around you, but is not illegal by itself. However, any illegal actions you engage in while yelling are not protected.

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