NRS 203.030: Provoking or Inciting Breach of Peace
Riots are destructive, dangerous, and disruptive. They can cause physical harm to people and property, and they can also lead to public safety risks. Riots can also have a ripple effect on the community, causing businesses to close and economies to suffer.
No doubt you are familiar with the January 6 Capitol Riot where “more than 2,000 rioters entered the [Capitol] building, many of whom occupied, vandalized, and looted it, assaulted Capitol Police officers and reporters, and attempted to locate lawmakers to capture and harm them.”
While this didn’t happen in Nevada, it’s important to understand what our state laws say about inciting a riot or provoking a breach of peace.
Breach of Peace
A breach of peace is a term used to describe when someone willfully disturbs the peace or causes a public disturbance by loud or unusual noises, or by tumultuous and offensive conduct, threatening, traducing, quarreling, challenging to fight, or fighting (NRS 203.010).
Some examples of making loud or unusual noises causing a breach of peace could include: playing loud music, shouting, and using offensive language.
Tumultuous and offensive conduct that breaches the peace can include: fighting, throwing things, making obscene gestures, or displaying weapons in a threatening way.
Riots (NRS 203.070)
A riot is an offense against public peace. Nevada law defines a riot as two or more people commit an unlawful act of violence, either with or without a common cause of quarrel or even do a lawful act, in a violent, tumultuous and illegal manner.
The Capitol attack is a perfect example of a riot.
Provoking or Inciting Breach of Peace
NRS 203.030 says “Every person who shall by word, sign or gesture willfully provoke, or attempt to provoke, another person to commit a breach of the peace”
This means that anyone who tries to get someone else to commit a breach of the peace can be charged with provoking or inciting a breach of the peace. This could include trying to start a fight, or making threats or gestures that are likely to cause someone to become violent.
Penalties for Breach of Peace in Nevada
Anyone found guilty of breaching the peace in Nevada is guilty of misdemeanor. The individual(s) can be fined up to $500, or jailed for up to six months, or both. Typically, for first-time offenders, the court just order them to pay a fine.
Penalties for Inciting or Provoking a Breach of Peace in Nevada
Inciting or provoking a breach of peace is also a misdemeanor offense in Nevada. The penalties are the same as those for breaching the peace, and include up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.
This means that you get the same penalty even if you did not participate in the riot or any of the violent conduct that may fall under breach of peace.
There are a few crimes that are similar to, or often charged along with, breach of peace. These include:
Unlawful assembly (NRS 200.060)
Unlawful assembly is when two or more people come together to break the law but then disperse before actually committing the crime.
Routing (NRS 203.070)
Routing is when two or more people meet to break the law and then make advances towards it. But they stop short before a riot occurs.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Will I go to jail for breach of peace?
Breach of peace is a misdemeanor offense in Nevada. The penalties are up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine. Typically, judges impose a fine instead of putting you in jail.
What is the difference between breach of peace and riot?
A riot is an offense against public peace that involves two or more people commit an unlawful act of violence, either with or without a common cause of quarrel. You can be charged with breach of peace as an individual, but a riot by definition, involves two or more people.
Can I get charged with inciting a breach of peace even if I didn’t participate in the violent conduct?
Yes. Inciting or provoking a breach of peace is also a misdemeanor offense in Nevada. The penalties are the same as those for breaching the peace, and include up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.
What are some similar crimes to breach of peace?
Unlawful assembly and routing are similar crimes to breach of peace. Unlawful assembly is when two or more people come together to break the law but then disperse before actually committing the crime. Routing is when two or more people meet to break the law and then make advances toward it. But they stop short before a riot occurs. A riot is when you actually do the crime.
If I’m charged with a crime, do I need a lawyer?
Yes. You should always consult with a criminal defense lawyer if you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime. The Defenders is a criminal defense law firm whose lawyers defend clients arrested or charged with DUIs, felonies, misdemeanors, domestic violence, and more. Our team of experienced attorneys will fight for your freedom and help get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.