California disturbing a meeting charges are behaviors prohibited under Penal Code 403. This offense seeks to put a check on the constitutional rights of individuals to free speech in situations where that right infringes on the general public. For the average person, this type of crime might seem frivolous, but it is associated with penalties that can be life changing.
If you are facing disturbing a public meeting charge in California, you should seek the services of a criminal defense attorney.
Why Was I Arrested for Disturbing A Meeting?
In order to be arrested for disturbing a meeting, you must have willfully disturbed or broken up a meeting without the lawful authority to do so. Many feel that this law infringes on the constitutional rights of an individual. The courts have made it clear that being charged with disturbing a meeting should have nothing to do with what is being said, but is more focused on the behavior of the defendant at the time of the disturbance.
Another important aspect of a disturbing a meeting offense is the nature of the meeting. For the disturbance to be illegal, the actual meeting should not be unlawful in character. Additionally, your behavior should deviate from the standard rules and customs of that meeting in order to be charged with disturbing a meeting.
If you were arrested for this offense, it is important for you to know that it is a misdemeanor under California laws and will carry penalties if you are found guilty.
Can I Go To Jail For Disturbing A Meeting?
There are a number of factors that a judge will take into considering when deciding on how to apply the appropriate penalties. Each case will be different and the particular details of your case, in addition to your criminal history will play a role in whether or not you’ll go to jail.
As a misdemeanor, disturbing a meeting carries a maximum jail sentence of six months. The judge has the discretion to impose the maximum, a portion of the sentence, or no jail time at all. Having a criminal defense lawyer at your sentencing hearing will have a positive impact on the potential outcome. In addition to jail time, a judge can impose probation if you are found guilty of disturbing a meeting.
Keep in mind that it’s impossible to predict with certainty, whether or not your first conviction will result in jail time, so if you are facing California disturbing a meeting charges, you must fight to beat the charges.
Can I Defend California Disturbing A Meeting Charges?
Like any other offense on the books, if you are arrested and charged with disturbing a meeting, you are considered innocent until proven guilty. If your matter goes to trial, the prosecution must prove that your behavior was in keeping with the stipulated elements of the crime. However, the law does afford you the opportunity to put forward a defense, which can include any of the following:
- You were exercising your right to free speech.
- Your behavior was not a willful act of disturbing the meeting.
- You acted in accordance with established rules and customs of the meeting.
In many disturbing a meeting cases, unless there is video evidence, it is your word against those of the prosecutions’ witnesses. Having a competent attorney who can discredit these witnesses, in addition to carrying out the necessary pre-trial research and preparation will prove invaluable while you attempt to prove your innocence.
In addition to preparing a sound defense, a criminal defense lawyer can file the necessary legal motions for any California disturbing a meeting charges to be dismissed.
San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers At McElfresh Law
At McElfresh Law, we are a law firm of dedicated criminal defense attorneys. Our experience includes providing high-quality legal representation to individuals facing California disturbing a meeting charges. Our legal team is trained with the appropriate research and investigatory skills that will be critical to handling your case.
Do not leave your legal representation to chance. Having a lawyer by your side from the beginning is very important to your ability to secure a not guilty verdict. Call us today at (858) 756-7107 and let McElfresh Law help protect your rights.