Demonstrating may be considered the cornerstone of democracy. Demonstrations, protest marches, and picketing are protected by the First Amendment. However, these activities often lead to arrests for those wishing to exercise their rights.
The Law Office of Richard Wagner is devoted to representing the activist whether you are facing federal or state charges.
The Law Office of Richard Wagner explains the possible consequences. This is extremely helpful. It allows activists and demonstrators to make informed decisions best suited to individual needs. There are several possibilities that can happen, including whether the City Attorney or District Attorney decides to prosecute you and if so, what are the charges.
If a demonstration occurs in a place controlled by the federal government there are extensive federal laws that can be used to charge demonstrators.
State charges range from minor, with a penalty of just a fine or community service, to jail or prison sentences. Common examples of charges: resisting or obstructing Penal Code 148, battery on a peace officer Penal Code 243, possession of a weapon, trespass Penal Code 602, inciting a riot Penal Code 403, 404, vandalism Penal Code 594, disorderly conduct PC 415 or failure or refusal to disperse Penal Code section 409.
California Penal Code section 407 says unlawful assembly is “whenever two or more persons assemble together to do an unlawful act or do a lawful act in a violent, boisterous, or tumultuous assembly.” To be unlawful, the assembly must be “violent or pose a clear and present danger of imminent violence.”
The law is clear that First Amendment activity may not be banned simply because prior similar activity led to or involved instances of violence.
California law usually requires law enforcement to book and release activists arrested for non-violent misdemeanors. Conspiracy is sometimes charged to keep activists in jail, to force plea bargains, to make sure bail is set. Ordering that demonstrators be held and sent to jail rather than cited and released could be a violation of the Fourth Amendment and the First Amendment.
Former LA City Prosecutor Richard Wagner can help you.
If you have been charged or cited call (714) 721-4233 The Law Office of Richard Wagner for a FREE Consultation.