Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes



Caveat: The complete Pennsylvania Statutes are not yet available on the web. However, selected portions have been made available and can be accessed by CLICKING HERE. These statutes, though available instantaneously over the web, may not be the current law. Court decisions overturning them, later statutes amending them, and a host of other factors come into play when interpreting them. They are provided here as a resource. They should provide some information about the state of the law. However, a competent lawyer, who from other sources will research the law to insure what is current, should always be employed in matters of importance.

§ 5501. Riot.

A person is guilty of riot, a felony of the third degree, if he participates with two or more others in a course of disorderly conduct:

  1. with intent to commit or facilitate the commission of a felony or misdemeanor;
  2. with intent to prevent or coerce official action; or
  3. when the actor or any other participant to the knowledge of the actor uses or plans to use a firearm or other deadly weapon.

§ 5502. Failure of disorderly persons to disperse upon official order.

Where three or more persons are participating in a course of disorderly conduct which causes or may reasonably be expected to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, a peace officer or other public servant engaged in executing or enforcing the law may order the participants and others in the immediate vicinity to disperse. A person who refuses or knowingly fails to obey such an order commits a misdemeanor of the second degree.

§ 5503. Disorderly conduct.

(a) Offense defined.--A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he:

  1. engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior;
  2. makes unreasonable noise;
  3. uses obscene language, or makes an obscene gesture; or
  4. creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor.

(b) Grading.--An offense under this section is a misdemeanor of the third degree if the intent of the actor is to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience, or if he persists in disorderly conduct after reasonable warning or request to desist. Otherwise disorderly conduct is a summary offense.

(c) Definition.--As used in this section the word "public" means affecting or likely to affect persons in a place to which the public or a substantial group has access; among the places included are highways, transport facilities, schools, prisons, apartment houses, places of business or amusement, any neighborhood, or any premises which are open to the public.

§ 5506. Loitering and prowling at night time.

Whoever at night time maliciously loiters or maliciously prowls around a dwelling house or any other place used wholly or in part for living or dwelling purposes, belonging to or occupied by another, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.

§ 5507. Obstructing highways and other public passages.

(a) Obstructing.--A person, who, having no legal privilege to do so, intentionally or recklessly obstructs any highway, railroad track or public utility right-of-way, sidewalk, navigable waters, other public passage, whether alone or with others, commits a summary offense, or, in case he persists after warning by a law officer, a misdemeanor of the third degree. No person shall be deemed guilty of an offense under this subsection solely because of a gathering of persons to hear him speak or otherwise communicate, or solely because of being a member of such a gathering.

(b) Refusal to move on.--

  1. A person in a gathering commits a summary offense if he refuses to obey a reasonable official request or order to move:
    1. to prevent obstruction of a highway or other public passage; or
    2. to maintain public safety by dispersing those gathered in dangerous proximity to a fire or other hazard.
  2. An order to move, addressed to a person whose speech or other lawful behavior attracts an obstructing audience, shall not be deemed reasonable if the obstruction can be readily remedied by police control of the size or location of the gathering.

(c) Definition.--As used in this section the word "obstructs" means renders impassable without unreasonable inconvenience or hazard.

§ 5508. Disrupting meetings and processions.

A person commits a misdemeanor of the third degree if, with intent to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, procession or gathering, he disturbs or interrupts it.