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Drunkards Behaving in Riotous or Disorderly Manner

– section 16 of the Summary Offences Act

Drunkards Behaving in Riotous or Disorderly Manner is when you are drunk in a public place and act in a way that is an obscene or threatening to other people.

  • 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 this offence 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.
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?”

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