The Utah Criminal Code is broken down into multiple chapters based on different areas of crime. Chapter 9 of this code defines “offenses against public order and decency.” Many of these offenses are simply crimes that do not fit into another category. Within this chapter, there are various parts assigned to crimes dealing with breach of the peace, misuse of a telephone, cruelty to animals, and other offenses, including a category for “miscellaneous provisions.”
If you or a loved one was charged with any crime under Chapter 9 of the Utah Code dealing with offenses against public order and decency, talk to an attorney today. Many of these offenses carry significant penalties that could include jail time and high fines. For a free consultation on your case, contact the Salt Lake City public order crime attorneys at Overson Law today. Our number is (801) 758-2287.
What Crimes Qualify as Public Order Crimes in Utah?
Utah’s crimes against public order and decency include a wide range of crime. Technically speaking, criminology dubs any crime that interferes with society or other people as “public order crimes.” Because of this, offenses against public order and decency often include a wide range of unrelated offenses, including the following:
Breach of the Peace
Breach of the peace crimes in Utah include multiple types of offenses that include boisterous or disruptive activity that bothers others. These are the core offenses for crimes “against public order,” and they include things like rioting, disorderly conduct, and failing to disperse. They also involve offenses for disrupting a procession or funeral service, making false reports or alarms, disrupting a school’s operation, or illegally entering a school bus.
This section includes various crimes that involve misuse of a telephone. There are 2 offenses in this category: one for harassing someone over the phone, and another for interfering with a 9-1-1 call. Harassment over the phone also includes other forms of electronic or internet harassment, potentially covering some forms of cyberbullying. Interfering with emergency calls involves blocking or preventing others from making emergency reports, but also punishes false 9-1-1 calls or other wrongful reports.
Cruelty to Animals
This crime starts to make it more clear why these crimes are considered crimes “against decency” as well as public order. Some animal cruelty crimes just seem wrong from many perspectives, such as crimes involving bestiality. Most other cruelty to animals crimes involve fighting animals, such as cockfighting or dogfighting. This also includes crimes for interfering with livestock, police dogs, service dogs, and others. There is also a crime for letting a dangerous animal loose.
Offenses Against Privacy
Interfering with another person’s privacy is a crime under many circumstances. Some of the offenses under this category are for crimes involving intercepting a communication, eavesdropping, or “wiretapping.” Utah is a single party consent state – which means you do not need someone’s permission to record them. However, you cannot sneak onto their property or install listening devices, which these laws control.
Libel and slander are usually handled as civil suits. As such, it is not a crime to report or publish false information unless it is done so maliciously. However, it is illegal to give false information to news sources if those statements amount to libel or slander.
Offenses Against the Flag
There is only one crime under this subsection: “abuse of a flag.” Under this statute, it is illegal to use the U.S. or Utah flag for advertising, to write something else on the flag, or to destroy or mutilate a flag. This law is questionable and used infrequently in light of the Supreme Court’s 1989 ruling in Texas v. Johnson, which protected flag burning under the First Amendment.
These crimes are quite miscellaneous and encompass various crimes under a wide range of subjects and seriousness. Under this act, there are crimes for…
- Public drunkenness (intoxication)
- Exposing yourself (lewdness)
- Public urination
- Lewdness involving children
- Peeping and voyeurism
- Mistreatment of a corpse
- “Participation in an ultimate fighting match”
- Stolen valor/falsely wearing a military medal or insignia
There are two subsections that deal with gang crimes. First, it is illegal to pressure someone else to join or stay in a street gang. This law specifically targets those who threaten or coerce minors into joining a gang. It is also illegal to perform certain acts as part of a gang. These statues primarily make it a crime for a gang to loiter or assemble in an area without permission or permits. This, of course, should never interfere with a group’s right to assembly or protest.
Illegal Immigration Crimes
Though immigration is typically a problem for the federal government, Utah has its own laws aimed at discovering and preventing illegal immigration.
Call Our Salt Lake City Public Order and Decency Defense Lawyers Today
The Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys for public order and decency offenses represent those charged with crimes under Chapter 9 of the Utah Criminal Code. For help with your charges and to schedule a free consultation with Overson Law’s experienced defense attorneys, call our law offices today at (801) 758-2287.