A riot can lead to property damage, injuries, and more. For this reason, individuals in the state of California are not legally allowed to take part in a riot. The court system uses California Penal Code Section 405: Participating in a Riot to prosecute individuals who riot.
You can improve your understanding of PC 405 charges and the penalties for a conviction right here. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can help you consider common legal defenses for participating in a riot charge.
Participating in a Riot: The Definition
California Penal Code Section 404 sets out a clear definition of what a riot is in the state. According to PC 404, a riot can occur anytime two or more individuals act together and without legal authority to:
- Threaten to Use Violence or Force
- Use Violence or Force
- Disturb the Public Peace
Individuals must have the immediate power to execute threats of violence or force to qualify as participating in a riot. Note that this legal code specifies that individuals may disturb the peace at a place of confinement to face charges for participating in a riot. Places of confinement in California can include:
- State Prisons
- County or City Jails
- Industrial Farms
- Road Camps
- Juvenile Halls, Camps, Ranches, or Forestry Camps
Participating in a Riot: Criminal Penalties
California Penal Code Section 405 details the penalties for a conviction for participating in a riot. Participating in a riot is considered a misdemeanor in the court system in California. Per PC 405, a conviction can lead to:
- Fines: Up to $1,000
- Jail Time: Up to One Year
Participating in a Riot: Similar Charges
Individuals in the state of California may face a number of charges similar to participating in a riot. These charges may include:
- California Penal Code Section 404.6: Inciting a Riot
- California Penal Code Section 408: Unlawful Assembly
- California Penal Code Section 409 and 416: Refusal to Disperse
- California Penal Code Section 415: Disturbing the Peace
Participating in a Riot: Examples
A large crowd is gathered outside a sporting arena during the final game of the playoffs. The home team loses the game and the crowd – overcome by emotion – begins to riot through the streets. Any individual involved in the riot could face charges under PC 405.
A controversial political event draws huge crowds of both supporters and detractors. These two conflicting groups become violent with one another and begin destroying property and causing serious injuries. Individuals from both groups could be charged with participating in a riot.
Participating in a Riot: Potential Legal Defenses
You may be able to build a strong legal defense if you are accused of participating in a riot. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can go over your case right away. Getting help quickly may allow your professional lawyer to prove that you:
Did Not Participate in the Riot
Every individual present at the scene of a riot is not necessarily a participant. If you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, without playing any role in the events of the riot, you may be able to avoid a conviction under PC 405.
Used Force or Violence to Protect Yourself
Sometimes, peaceful protests turn violent despite the best efforts of the protestors. If you were involved in a lawful protest that came under violent attack and you responded to protect yourself or another person from bodily injury or death, you could avoid a conviction for participating in a riot.
Were Mistakenly Identified for Someone Who Participated in the Riot
Riots can be incredibly confusing. It is easy for people to become disoriented and unsure of what exactly is happening. You could be falsely accused of participating in the riot by a witness that mistook you for someone else. In this case, a criminal defense lawyer could build your case.
Call a Legal Professional to Handle PC 405 Charges
A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can help you deal with California Penal Code Section 405: Participating in a Riot charge. Take the first steps towards building a strong defense by contacting the Simmrin Law Group today. You can speak to us now to get a personalized FREE case evaluation.
Take charge of your future after you are accused of a PC 405 violation by calling (310) 896-2723 or filling out our online contact form.