breach of the peace

noun Law.
a violation of the public peace, as by a riot, disturbance, etc.

Origin:
1665–75

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
breach of the peace
 
n
law an offence against public order causing an unnecessary disturbance of the peace

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

breach of the peace

any of three distinct types of legal offense. In its broadest sense, the term is synonymous with crime itself and means an indictable offense. In another and more common sense, however, the phrase includes only those crimes that are punishable primarily because of their disrupting effect upon the peace and security of the community. Among these offenses are affray, unlawful assembly, riot, forcible entry and detainer, disturbance of public assemblies, keeping a disorderly house, and malicious mischief. In its third and narrowest meaning, the phrase is confined to willful conduct that does not fall within the definition of any other specific crime but that unreasonably disrupts the public tranquillity or has a strong tendency to cause a disturbance. In common law, and under many statutes, such a disturbance or breach of peace is punishable as a misdemeanour.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
In taking possession, a secured party may proceed without judicial process if
  this can be done without breach of the peace.
Finally, the officer determines if the comment was of a threatening nature and
  a breach of the peace.
Thankfully, defendant's words did not incite an actual breach of the peace.
Regrettably, in this case, those frustrations escalated into arrests for breach
  of the peace and this lawsuit.
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