Unlawful Assembly


We all enjoy the right to freely move and assemble on a daily basis. However, when your assembly seeks to disturb law and order, you can be charged with a criminal offense. Unlawful assembly is part of a group of laws that seek to prohibit certain detrimental behaviors to the public good. Often associated with rioting, if you or others have been arrested and San Diego unlawful assembly charges are brought against you, it is important to seek the services of a San Diego defense attorney.

What Is Unlawful Assembly?

Under California Penal Code 407, when two or more individuals come together for the following purposes, the assembly is considered unlawful:

  • Assembly is to carry out an illegal act; or
  • Assembly is to do something legal but in a violent or boisterous way.

In order to prove that you are guilty of the offense, the prosecution must prove that you were a willing participant and that at the time of assembly you knew what you were doing was unlawful.

The crime of unlawful assembly is a misdemeanor in California and is closely associated with rioting-relating offenses.

What Are The Penalties For Unlawful Assembly?

There are a number of factors that will determine the punishment you will face if you are convicted of unlawful assembly. At the time of sentencing, the judge will consider the particular facts of your case and will also take into consideration your criminal history.

The offense of unlawful assembly carries a maximum jail sentence of six months. Generally, the maximum sentence will not be imposed, unless there are aggravating circumstances. Other than jail time, a judge will also have the discretion to impose probation at the time of sentencing.

The results of sentencing will also depend on the quality of legal representation you have at your side. An experienced defense lawyer will be able to submit arguments to mitigate for the lowest possible penalty.

Available Defenses For Unlawful Assembly

If you are facing San Diego unlawful assembly charges, paramount in your mind is to walk away an innocent person. The likelihood of this happening increases with hiring a lawyer. The legal system can be a complex environment that might be confusing to you. Being charged with an offense can be a very troubling time and having a lawyer to professionally handle your case will be an asset in beating those charges.

Like everyone accused of an offense, you are innocent until the prosecution proves that you have committed the alleged crime. The law places that burden on the prosecution; however, it is prudent to put up a solid defense to the unlawful assembly charges brought against you by using any of the following legal arguments:

  • There was no violence or threat of violence in the assembly;
  • You were part of a segment of the group that was not violent and was lawful; or
  • You were not afforded the opportunity to leave the assembly before being arrested.

In addition to putting forward a defense at trial, you can also beat the charges if your lawyer is able to have your offense dismissed prior to trial.

Hire An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Unlawful assembly and related charges often result from a generally lawful situation that got out of hand. With emotions high between protestors and police officers, mistakes will happen and individuals can be arrested wrongfully.

At McElfresh Law, we are fully aware of the laws relating to the crime of unlawful assembly and the resulting consequences if found guilty. We are a group of criminal defense attorneys who are dedicated to defending our client’s rights. Our experience includes providing high-quality legal representation to individuals facing San Diego unlawful assembly charges and we are ready to advocate on your behalf.

Call us today at (858) 756-7107 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.