Drunkards Behaving in Riotous or Disorderly Manner

Drunkards Behaving in Riotous or Disorderly Manner

The offence of Drunkard Behaving in Riotous or Disorderly Manner is found in section 16 of the Summary Offences Act 1966. It is a criminal offence for a person to act in a way that is obscene or threatening to other people in a public place.

Have you been accused of Drunkards Behaving in Riotous or Disorderly Manner?

Police Interview
The police will conduct an interview which is not audio visually recorded depending on your level of intoxication and ability to answer questions. Your responses to their questions will appear in brief of evidence to prove the charge against you.

Normally, this charge arises because of a misunderstanding. It is important to beware that the answers you provide can prevent you from running a defence in Court later on.

Pleading Not Guilty
If you decide to contest a charge of Drunkard Behaving in Riotous or Disorderly Manner, one of our experienced defence lawyers can advise you of your prospects of success. The police case may fail because they are unable to prove that you were intoxicated or behaved in a ‘riotous’ or ‘disorderly’ manner in a public place.

It is important to have a lawyer on your side who is going to look at the police brief critically and not accept the allegations at face value.

Pleading Guilty
You can speak with one of our lawyers to receive some advice about how you can deal with a charge of Drunkard Behaving in Riotous or Disorderly Manner. We can advise you of the likely penalties.

You may wish to engage one of our lawyers to represent to avoid the anxiety of speaking to the Magistrate on your own behalf.
  • A man is walking in the city drunk and takes all of his clothes off.
  • A woman is drunk and is waiting for a tram. She starts yelling at the other people waiting for a tram.
  • A group of friends are drunk in the city and begin to run around banging on cars.

  • You were not drunk.
  • You suffer from a mental illness.
  • You were not behaving in a disorderly way.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Were you drunk at the time?
  • Do you suffer from any mental illness?
  • Can they prove you were acting in a disorderly way?

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge
The maximum penalty for Drunkards Behaving in Riotous or Disorderly Manner (s16 of the Summary Offences Act) is a fine of 10 penalty units or imprisonment for two months.

Drunkards behaving in riotous or disorderly manner is the sort of charge regularly heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
If you are found guilty you will get a fine or a Community Corrections Order.

The section that covers this offence is section 16 of the Summary Offences Act.

What is the legal definition of Drunkards Behaving in Riotous or Disorderly Manner?
When a person is drunk in public and behaves in a riotous or disorderly manner. This is an old offence and includes being drunk while in charge of a carriage, horse, cattle or a steam engine and being in a public place.

“Were you drunk and disorderly in public?”