Rioting can be a dangerous event that leads to injuries and the destruction of property in California. Due to the dangers associated with a riot, individuals who urge others to riot can face criminal charges under California Penal Code Section 404.6: Inciting a Riot.
Make sure you have a firm understanding of PC 404.6 charges right here with the Simmrin Law Group. You can focus on the specific definition of inciting a riot, the results of a PC 404.6 conviction, and more with legal professionals.
California’s Definition of Inciting a Riot
You can find the exact legal definition of inciting a riot in PC 404.6. According to this section of the penal code, individuals may be prosecuted for inciting a riot if they intend to cause a riot and take actions that:
- Urge Other People to Riot
- Urge Other People to Use Force or Violence
- Urge Others to Burn or Destroy Property
Note that individuals can be convicted for inciting a riot even if:
- They Do Not Participate in the Riot
- The Riot Does Not Actually Occur
Merely attempting to convince others to riot may be enough to lead to a PC 404.6 conviction. However, this charge should only be used if the incitement to riot occurs during a situation where the risk of violence, burning, or rioting is clear and present.
Charges Similar to Inciting a Riot in California
The state of California uses a number of other criminal charges to prosecute individuals who participate in riots and similar actions, including:
- California Penal Code Section 405: Participating in a Riot
- California Penal Code Section 408: Unlawful Assembly
- California Penal Code Section 409 and 416: Refusal to Disperse
Note that, depending upon the acts taken during the riot, other criminal charges may apply. Riots that lead to property damage or injuries could be tied to charges like:
- California Penal Code Section 240: Assault
- California Penal Code Section 242: Battery
- California Penal Code Section 243(b) PC & 243(c)(2): Battery On A Peace Or Police Officer
- California Penal Code Section 594: Vandalism
Battery charges may lead to particularly severe penalties, especially if an individual commits battery on a peace or police officer.
The Results of a Conviction for Inciting a Riot
In many cases, inciting a riot is treated as a misdemeanor in California’s court system. A misdemeanor PC 404.6 conviction can lead to:
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Jail Time of Up to One Year
However, this charge may be treated more severely if:
- An Individual Incites a Prison or Jail Riot AND
- The Riot Leads to a Serious Bodily Injury
In this situation, inciting a riot could be treated as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony conviction can result in up to three years of time in prison.
Legal Defenses for Inciting a Riot Charges in California
Trying to deal with charges for inciting a riot can be very challenging. You can get help dealing with all legal hurdles associated with a PC 404.6 charge by reaching out to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer for assistance. Depending upon your situation, your lawyer could build your defense by working to show:
You Were Urging a Protest, Not a Riot
Individuals in the state of California have the right to free speech. This includes a right to protest. If you were merely urging a crowd to protest, without encouraging violence, the destruction of property, or a riot, you should not face a PC 404.6 conviction.
You Were Present at a Riot, But Did Not Incite the Event
Not everyone present at a riot is responsible for inciting the event. Your lawyer could work to show that you played no part in encouraging the crowd to engage in property damage, burning, or acts of violence. Note that, in this case, you could still be charged for participation in a riot.
You Incited a Riot, But There Was No Likelihood That a Riot Would Occur
PC 404.6 charges should only apply if you incite a riot in a circumstance where a riot is likely to occur. For example, if you start encouraging the students in your English Lit course to riot before a pop quiz, you are unlikely to face PC 404.6 charges because individuals in that situation are unlikely to actually riot.
Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer About PC 404.6 Charges
You can work to handle California Penal Code Section 404.6: Inciting a Riot charge the right way by reaching out to the Simmrin Law Group now. Our team of professional criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can start building your defense right now. Start getting legal advice by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 997-4688.
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