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What Happens if you?re charged with Section 4 of the Public order Act 1986

Threatening behaviour is an extremely serious offence, which could lead to a variety of punishments. Here, you’ll find detailed information on what you can be charged for under this offence and the sentences you can expect if you’re convicted.

What Is Threatening Behaviour?

Section 4 of the Public Order Act 1986, or threatening behaviour as it is commonly known, contains two separate elements. To be convicted of this offence, the guilty party must intend to cause one or more of the following to another person:

  • Harassment
  • Alarm
  • Distress

The person is considered guilty if they intend to cause these offences by acting in any way abusive, threatening or insulting to another person.

This includes:

  • Words
  • Behaviour
  • Written signs/other representations

This offence can occur in a public or private place, but not in a dwelling (accommodation), provided that both the offender and the victim are within the same dwelling.

The Investigation Process

If you have been arrested for committing this crime, you will be interviewed at the police station. If the police charge you with this offence, preparation for your court date will begin. If you plead guilty to the crime, you are likely to receive one or more of the following:

  • You may receive a fine, with a maximum limit of £5,000
  • A community service order

However, this is not definite. The court will take into account the severity of the crime, as well as any previous criminal convictions against your name. As a result, you may still serve a prison sentence, even if you enter a guilty plea.

Prosecution

If you are charged by the Police with threatening behaviour, you will be taken to court and prosecuted. The possible punishments for this include:

  • Having to pay a fine
  • Receiving a community order
  • Receiving a prison sentence

 

If you or someone are close to has been charged with section 4 of the Public Order Act 1986 and would like a consultation from one of our experienced and trustworthy solicitors, either use our online contact form or give us a call on 01244 344 299.

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