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CRJU: Criminal Law Online

A course guide of open education resources for faculty teaching Criminal Law.

Overview and Objectives

Module Overview

In this module, we study quality-of-life crimes which are often based on morality judgments.  We also examine laws criminalizing group conduct, which have the potential for violence and injury.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module you should be able to:

  1. Describe quality of life crimes (disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace)
  2. Identify crimes targeting group conduct (riot, gangs)
  3. Explain how law is used to regulate public indecency and homelessness (vagrancy, loitering, panhandling, public intoxication)


A discussion of some crimes against the public and vice crimes. For more detailed information, you can purchase the affordable educational resource here: For more detailed information, you can purchase the affordable educational resource here:

This lecture is a basic discussion of crimes against the public. The topic is broadly discussed touching on historical perspectives; common law; and modern statutory and Model Penal Code approaches. Crimes discussed include crimes against public morality, riot, unlawful assembly, failure to disperse, disturbing the peace, incitement, vagrancy and panhandling, crimes involving firearms, drug/alcohol crimes, perjury, bribery, treason, tax crimes, obstruction of justice, contempt, sedition, terrorism, and environmental crimes.

Case Examples‚Äč 888.327.4652 'Disturbing the Peace' - CA Penal Code 415 PC: Criminal lawyers explain the law, penalties & defenses. California Penal Code 415 PC is commonly referred to as "disturbing the peace."1 Although disturbing the peace is a crime in and of itself, it is most frequently used as a plea bargaining tool. This means that disturbing the peace is a charge that California criminal defense lawyers frequently request when trying to negotiate a reduced charge for their clients.

North Indianapolis residents are warning others about a panhandler who has gotten into cars, demanding a ride and more.

A Salinas Taco Bell is having a problem with aggressive panhandlers.

Panhandling Problem at Taco Bell: With auto-generated closed captioning.

Atlanta City Council President wants kids to stop selling water on streets: At the intersection of 17th and Spring in Midtown Atlanta, you’ll find kids selling water to drivers on a hot summer day.