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Disorderly House - Statutes, Elements - Persons Liable

offenses houses public various

A place where individuals reside or which they frequent for purposes that pose a threat to public health, morals, convenience, or safety, and that may create a public NUISANCE. A disorderly house is an all-inclusive term that may be used to describe such places as a house of prostitution, an illegal gambling casino, or a site where drugs are constantly bought and sold. It is any place where unlawful practices are habitually carried on by the public.

Various offenses concerning disorderly houses exist at COMMON LAW and under criminal statutes. The maintenance of a disorderly house is considered to be an ongoing offense and, at times, the offense involves a specific type of place, such as a bordello or GAMING house. The offenses are divided into four classes, which encompass keeping or maintaining a disorderly house, letting a house to be used as a disorderly house, frequenting or abiding permanently in a disorderly house, and disguising a disorderly house by displaying a sign of an honest occupation—such as disguising a house of prostitution as a dress shop.

Persons Liable

The liability of those concerned in offenses in connection with disorderly houses is not based upon their civil or contractual status. Some statutes specify who may be liable and in such cases, only those designated may be prosecuted. Partners, servants, and agents as well as the officers of a corporation have all been held liable for the operation of disorderly houses and the various offenses committed on the premises.

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