The laws relating to rioting address behaviors that are considered detrimental to the public good. Accordingly, participating in and inciting a riot is illegal in California. There are also a number of other offenses in the penal code that prohibit behavior directly associated with rioting. While the intention of individuals rioting is often meant to send a signal to the government or some authority there has been a severe breach of ethics, rights or other injustices if you are charged with any riot offenses, it is serious and you will need a San Diego rioting defense lawyer.
What Are Rioting Offenses?
Rioting is easily differentiated from a lawful demonstration, as the former involves the use of force or violence, disturbance of the peace, and a threat to use force or violence with the ability to exercise such threat. There are a series of offenses associated with the illegal act of rioting and they include the following:
- Participating in a riot – This is when two or more individuals come together to use force or violence, act together to disturb the peace and make threats to use force or violence with the capacity to carry out such threats.
- Inciting a riot – This offense is characterized by the action of an individual urging others to start a riot, engage in acts of force or violence, or to destroy property.
- Unlawful assembly – Unlawful assembly is defined as two or more individuals coming together to do something illegal or to act in a specific manner that disrupts the peace.
- Failing to disperse – This offense can result if you or others fail to follow the orders of a police officer to disperse in cases where there is a riot or unlawful assembly.
- Disturbing the peace – This offense is related to a series of behaviors which generally will not include violence but can include fighting, the use of offensive language and making of disruptive noise.
While all the offenses are related, it is the participating and inciting that is properly referred to as the crime of rioting. Both offenses are misdemeanors under California law and carry serious consequences.
Can I Go To Jail For Rioting?
Participants in a riot will exhibit a high level of emotion, often fueled by some perceived injustice or that their lawful demonstration simply went wrong. However, if you are arrested and charged with either participating in a riot or inciting a riot, you will face upwards of 1 year in jail and a fine of $1,000 if found guilty.
There are a number of factors that a judge can consider in making a decision regarding sentencing. You may only face a fine or a combination of a fine and jail time depending on the particular facts of your case and your criminal history. Additionally, probation is always at the discretion of the court at the time of sentencing.
Can I Beat The Charges?
In many instances, a riot is the result of a lawful assembly gone wrong. Additionally, with many individuals involved, being wrongly arrested and charged is highly possible. Emotions are high, both on the side of those rioting and the police officers, so mistakes are more than possible. To prove your innocence, it will be prudent to hire the services of a San Diego rioting lawyer.
While the general public views rioters as trouble makers, you are still innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution must offer evidence to prove every element of the crime. With the help of a competent attorney, a wise defendant can put forward a sound case with the use of these available legal defenses:
- You were not an active participant in the riot, rather only present at the time.
- Any act of apparent force was in self-defense to the use of excessive force used by police.
- Your case is one of mistaken identity.
In addition to these defenses, a qualified San Diego rioting lawyer will be equipped with the legal competence to get your charges reduced or dismissed depending on the facts and evidence or lack thereof in your case.
Contact A Defense Attorney
Riot cases where the defendant is unrepresented can become ugly very quick. It is important to have a lawyer by your side if you are serious about beating the charges. At McElfresh Law, we are law firm dedicated to criminal defense advocacy. Our clients charged with rioting can depend on our years of experience and in-depth knowledge of the law and the criminal judicial system.
If you need a San Diego rioting lawyer, do not leave your legal representation to the last minute and call McElfresh Law at (858) 756-7107 today.