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All but the most minor public order offences (such as drunk and disorderly, or harassment) are treated seriously by the court as upon conviction you could receive a prison sentence. The more serious offences (such as affray, violent disorder and riot) may proceed to the Crown Court. You should not face prosecution for an offence of this type without legal representation.

Call us for immediate advice by telephone on 0161 477 1121.

What are Classed as Public Order Offences?

This legislation covers the following offences, in descending order of seriousness: 

  • riot – section 1 of the Act; 
  • violent disorder – section 2 of the Act;
  • affray – section 3 of the Act;
  • using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour causing fear of or provoking violence – section 4 of the Act; 
  • using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour intending to and causing harassment, alarm or distress – section 4A of the Act; 
  • using threatening, abusive words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress – section 5 of the Act; 
  • drunk and disorderly behaviour (section 91 Criminal Justice Act 1967); 
  • Bind over order to keep the peace

This is a wide ranging and often abused piece of legislation. Offences of this type are often prosecuted without a specific victim and can rely heavily upon the evidence of the police. An unrepresented defendant may find this a very unfair process.

It can sometimes be used to deflect a complaint about the behaviour of the police during an incident, when the police can find no evidence of any other wrongdoing.

It is not uncommon for a person to face a charge of affray when their potentially violent behaviour has only truly been directed towards themselves, such as threatening to self-harm.

Individuals taking part in protests may find themselves accused of offences under this legislation. In particular an offence under section 5 requires no proof of any intention, nor that any person actually be caused harassment, alarm or distress, only that the act took place within the hearing or sight of a person “likely” to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

Another common scenario for this type pf offence may be an incidence of alleged “Road Rage”.

These offences can often be charged as racially aggravated for more information on that issue please click here.

The majority of the offences are viewed seriously by the courts and under the Act carry a possible term of imprisonment. Those classed as Affray or above can often proceed to the Crown Court.

All the lawyers at Morton’s Solicitors are well versed in the case law relevant to successfully defending cases of this type. We can provide the expert guidance and representation to help balance the scales. We have a proven track record of acquittals in this area of law.

Call us now for advice on 0161 477 1121.

Football Banning Orders

• The court can be asked to make a FOOTBALL BANNING ORDER

A Football Banning Order must be made if the court is satisfied that making the order would help to prevent violence or disorder at, or in connection with any regulated football matches.

If the court is making such an order upon conviction then the minimum term must be 3 years. The conditions attached to such an order will be specific to the case but generally you could be prohibited from:-

• Attending any FA regulated home or away fixtures

• From going within a certain distance of a specific football ground when a match is taking place

• You may be required to report to your local police station at the time of certain kick-offs

• You may be required to surrender your passport to the police at the times of certain international fixtures

A breach of a football banning order is an imprisonable offence.


How We Can Help


Some of the most important decisions made in relation to a case are made at the police station.

If Morton’s solicitors are involved at an early stage of an investigation, we are often able to affect the outcome.

You are not obliged to say anything to the police and we advise all clients to maintain their right to silence until they speak with us.

A case can proceed solely on admissions made to the police without the need for witnesses to ever attend court.

You are entitled to have a solicitor present free of charge at any police interview. This is true for what may seem to be the most trivial offence.

You should never be interviewed without legal representation.

Call us now for immediate advice on 0161 477 1121.

Award-Winning Crime Team of the Year

Why You Are In Safe Hands with Morton's Solicitors - Stockport, Manchester & Cheshire.

We have twice won the award for "Crime - Team of the Year" at the highly prestigious Manchester Legal Awards in 2018 & 2020.

Not only is this based on our ability to get fantastic results for our clients, but we also offer an extremely friendly, discreet and client-focused service which has earnt us the plaudits.

What this means for any prospective client is that your case is going to be in some of the safest hands in Criminal Defense for Stockport, Greater Manchester & across the North West.

Contact Us


20-22 Middle Hillgate, Stockport, Greater Manchester, SK1 3AY

Tel: 0161 477 1121  

Email: [email protected]

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