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Disorderly Conduct and PA bar stating law exists Public Order, Loitering, Urination

Discussion in 'Criminal Charges' started by de_novo, Jun 17, 2013.

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  1. de_novo

    de_novo Law Topic Starter New Member

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    So this past weekend my cousins and I were at a bar for drinks after a family get together. While at this bar, they had tables and chairs outside and patrons of the bar were sitting there with drinks. The waitress told my cousins and myself that becuase I was standing up on the sidewalk and not sitting on the chair (right beside me) that I was cut off and could not drink anymore. Mind you, this was my first drink and i only had two sips at that point.

    When questioned why she said there was a PA law that states you have to be seated if you are at an outside table at a bar. I could not find any such law. Secondly, she began to argue with my cousin when he asked her about it and was yelling at him. None of this phased us, but he looked at the other person at the table and said "Man, what a bi**h." At no time did he ever yell or argue loudly with the waitress. However, at that point a bouncer who had been behind us grabbed his arm and told him he was finished and cut off. My cousin stated that he was sitting there drinking his beer as he was told he had to do and he would not leave until he finished the beer he had purchased (also his first one).

    The bouncer then proceeded to grab him again until he took the beer, threw it away, and then phsically tried to get my cousin out of his seat. My cousin threw the chair he was sitting in and it broke in the street (plastic chair) and started to walk away to leave the establishement. The bouncer then grabbed him and pinned him to the ground, causing physical harm to him. The police then came and he was cited for disorderly conduct.

    Ok - here are my questions:

    1) Is there a law that even states this in PA? I am unfamiliar with such a law and could not find one. If so, citations to the law please

    2) Only police are legally able to restrain someone, all others would be deprivation of liberty and false imprisonment, correct?

    3) No property is worth the phyiscal harm to a person, could he sue the establishment for the physical harm, battery, and false imprisonment?

    Any and all responses are requested.

    Thanks.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You can Google and discover the law for yourself. There might be a city ordinance. Or, it might be a regulation of the state alcohol commission. Who knows? You weren't charged with that, nor was anyone in your party.

    You can sue anyone. But, you must have damages more than brushed egos.

    Your understanding of who can restrain anyone is severely flawed.

    I suggest you discuss your concerns with a couple lawyers. The initial consultation is often free of charge.
     
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    1. It doesn't matter if there is such a law. The business can enforce its own rules and can refuse service. Based on the outcome, refusing service was probably a good idea, even if executed poorly.

    2. No. Citizens may make arrests and may restrain a person to make that arrest. In doing so they become civilly liable for their actions if not done properly. Your cousin was disturbing the peace and committed vandalism... and maybe even an assault with the chair depending on the circumstances. The bouncer appears to have been justified in his action, so long as the amount of force used was not excessive (which is determined by the amount of resistance offered).

    3. Sure, he could sue, but given the circumstances and his own behavior he would have a snowball's chance or prevailing.
     
  4. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    The business were the ones who stated there was a PA law that prohibited standing with the drink, I was unable to find it. As for refusing service, they had already served us, it was our first drink at the establishement, and the only reason why it escalated was because the bouncer decided he did not like the comment my cousin made to another person at our table. There was no loud arguing, no vandalism, nothing up until that point.

    Citizens arrest can only be made if there is a threat of imminent danger to themselves or others, or if a crime had been committed. In this case none of those actions happened. My cousin threw the chair because the bouncer grabbed him from behind and had no reason to do so. My cousin believed that he was being assaulted (and he was) as he sat in his chair drinking the beverage he purchased.

    As an update, the citation became criminal mischief - a summary offense in PA - and not the disorderly conduct
     
  5. de_novo

    de_novo Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The business were the ones who stated there was a PA law that prohibited standing with the drink, I was unable to find it. As for refusing service, they had already served us, it was our first drink at the establishement, and the only reason why it escalated was because the bouncer decided he did not like the comment my cousin made to another person at our table. There was no loud arguing, no vandalism, nothing up until that point.

    Citizens arrest can only be made if there is a threat of imminent danger to themselves or others, or if a crime had been committed. In this case none of those actions happened. My cousin threw the chair because the bouncer grabbed him from behind and had no reason to do so. My cousin believed that he was being assaulted (and he was) as he sat in his chair drinking the beverage he purchased.

    As an update, the citation became criminal mischief - a summary offense in PA - and not the disorderly conduct
     
  6. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    It does not matter if such a law exists. I suspect there is something local, or just a business rule though. Their alcohol license likely requires that drinks not leave the premises. If you are on the public sidewalk then you have left the premises, so such a rule about remaining seated with drinks makes sense, and you can get bounced for breaking the rule.

    Your friend apparently did commit an act of vandalism when he broke the chair. There may have been other justification to detain him until police arrive, but there was at least that reason and he has himself to blame. There need not be any imminent threat, only a criminal act committed and observed by the person making the arrest. As you describe the incident nothing about the bouncers across appears improper. If your friend believes he was mistreated then he may pursue action against the bouncer. His argument would have been stronger had her not reacted violently. He was apparently asked to leave and refused.

    Criminal mischief sounds to me like a vandalism charge. If he offers to pay for the damage then the business may agree to not seek prosecution. Perhaps it's time for your friend to break out the checkbook and give a heart felt apology to the business owner.
     

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