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To Avoid Arrest and a Criminal Conviction, Know Your Rights as a Protester

Posted on in Criminal Defense

San Jose criminal defense attorneys, protester rights, protesting permits, protester charges, criminal chargesIn recent years, Americans have taken to the streets in large numbers to protest a large variety of local, national, and international policies and practices. Speaking out against perceived injustice is a long and hard won tradition in this country; however, it has become a flashpoint for controversy.

While free speech and the ability to peacefully assemble is a constitutional right, legal actions against protesters have resulted in numerous arrests and the need for a strong criminal defense. Citizens should continue to unite and stand up for what they believe, but it is important to be aware of your rights and the legal limitations before taking part in a protest.

Permits Required For Protesting

Recently, more than a dozen area activists were arrested at the State Capitol rotunda in Sacramento. According to a June 2018 report by KCRA TV3, they were group members with the Poor People’s Campaign, which speaks out against systemic racism, poverty, war, and ecological issues. The report claims they interrupted a budget committee hearing, which ended up being recessed for 20 minutes while officials cleared the protesters from the room. Law enforcement arrested numerous people involved with the demonstration on grounds that while they had a permit to protest outside the building, they were not permitted to enter the rotunda or to disrupt matters being held there.

The case highlights the fine line between the right to peacefully assemble and the requirements citizens must follow to avoid breaking the law and facing arrest. In general, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) states that owners of private property may set limits regarding its use. In cases involving roads, public parks, and office buildings, protesters are generally required to obtain a permit before planning any activities, or they could end up facing criminal charges.

Protect Your Rights as a Protester

To avoid being charged with a crime and the serious penalties that can result, the Northern California chapter of the ACLU advises citizens to remember the following three principles when attending any type of protest:

  1. It is not what you say, it is how you say it. You have the right to express your opinion; however, doing so in a manner that hinders another’s rights or causes serious disruption is likely to attend in legal actions.

  2. Everyone has a right to free speech. Regardless of another’s age, his or her ethnic or religious background, or his or her political beliefs, every person has the right to free speech. Trying to prevent someone else from exercising this right could end up with you facing criminal charges.

  3. When, where, and how you use your right to free speech matters. Remember to get the proper permitting and follow any municipal regulations that may be in place.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you are been arrested or charged as the result of attending or organizing a protest, contact Jachimowicz Law Group right away. We provide the professional legal guidance and aggressive representation you need to protect yourself in these situations. Request a consultation with our passionate San Jose criminal defense attorneys today.

Sources:

http://www.kcra.com/article/more-than-a-dozen-protesters-arrested-in-california-capitol/21077442

https://www.aclunc.org/our-work/know-your-rights/free-speech-protests-demonstrations

https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_pdf_file/kyr_protests.pdf

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