Public Order Offences

Our dedicated Crime Team can ensure you have representation at the Police Station, Magistrates Court, Crown Court or Appeal Court depending on your requirements.

Please contact us about your criminal law matter at either our Corby office on 01536 276300 or our Kettering office on 01536 311690 or contact us online.

The Public Order Offences Act 1986 covers a wide range of offences, stretching from drunk and disorderly conduct to riot behaviour. At Seatons, we will act for you when you need it most, either at the police station or in Court, and provide clear, easy to understand legal advice. This page will provide you with a list of the offences included in the Public Order Offences Act and which we can assist you with should the circumstance arise.

Drunk And Disorderly

Penalty: Maximum fine of £1,000.

This is defined as being drunk in a public place and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour. As the offence does not usually require an element of violence, it is generally considered minor and can be determined by the police at their own discretion.


Penalty: Maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

A riot is defined as 12 or more people in a group who together use or threaten to use violence for a common purpose and in a way that could lead others to feel that their own personal safety is a risk.

Due to the serious nature of this offence, the penalty is particularly severe and, as a result, it is vital that you seek legal advice before taking any further steps. At Seatons, we offer clear legal advice on the best course of action to take and will act for you either at the police station or in Court.

Violent Disorder

Penalty: Maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

An offence of violent disorder is very similar to that of rioting, except that it is applicable to only 3 people or more. It is defined where 3 or more persons who are present together use, or threaten to use, unlawful violence in a way that could lead others to feel that their own personal safety is at risk.

Violent disorder is a very serious offence and features a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine. It therefore important that legal advice is sought at the earliest opportunity.


Penalty: Maximum sentence of 3 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

Affray is defined as using or threatening unlawful violence towards another of such severity that a person of reasonable firmness would fear for their personal safety. An example of such an offence includes two people fighting in a public or private place.

Sentences can be reduced if a timely plea is entered and a variety of defences, including self-defence, can be used to defend the charge.

Threatening Behaviour

Penalty: Maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment and a fine.

This offence is the most common public order offence and is defined as having intent to make an individual believe that unlawful violence will be used against them.

At Seatons, we are highly experienced in dealing with circumstances involving this offence, and provide clear, easy to understand legal advice at low sensible fees. Give us a call on 01536 276300 for more information and receive a quote.

Intentional Harassment, Alarm or Distress

Penalty: Maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment and a fine.

This offence is defined as intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress to another person by being abusive, insulting or threatening. These can be caused through a number of mediums including:

• Behaviour
• Written representations (phone messaging, letters, emails etc.)

If you have any more questions, feel free to give us a call on 01536 276300 and receive a quote.

Latest Criminal Law Video

Latest Articles About Criminal Law

Mother and Daughter of Hyde Park Bombing Victim Win Six-Figure Damages

For some victims of negligent or criminal acts, vindication and establishing the truth are at least as important as monetary compensation.

Bank Fraud and Customer Confidentiality – Guideline High Court Ruling

Banks and other financial institutions are keen to assist in uncovering fraud and routinely submit to court orders requiring information...

Neglecting Environmental Protection Measures is No Way to Save Money!

Businesses in financial trouble may be tempted to save money by giving low priority to compliance with environmental protection laws.

Covid-19 – Open For Business And Safeguarding Our Clients & Staff – Announcement

As we were in the first lockdown, we are 100 percent committed and focused on doing the right things for our clients and our community.

Why Use Seatons?

  • Practical sensible help and information
  • Fixed, competitive and affordable prices
  • We care about you and fight for you
  • Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
  • We can help resolve your issue quickly & easily

Covid19 Information

WE ARE STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS HOWEVER, OUR FRONT DOORS WILL BE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. For us all to be as safe as possible, our preference will be to interact with clients by telephone, email and/or zoom meetings ONLY. We would ask that if you have to drop any papers off at our offices, you use our Post Box unless you need anything copying, in those cases please knock the door and one of our receptionists will deal with you at the front door but only if you are wearing protective face coverings. If you require further assistance then a member from the relevant department will telephone you thereafter to discuss. We hope you understand that this is to safeguard you, our staff and to limit as much contact as possible. We may take a little longer to respond to enquiries and deal with matters. Please bear with us. FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW.