The Constitution protects Americans’ right to assemble in the state of California. However, not all forms of assembly are legally protected.
Individuals could face criminal charges for unlawful assembly. These charges are defined under Penal Code 407. Individuals engaging in unlawful assembly may end up having to pay a fine and/or even spending time in jail.
Understanding Unlawful Assembly in California
According to PC 407, individuals may engage in unlawful assembly if they gather together to commit an unlawful act. Unlawful assemblies can also occur if people gather together to commit a lawful act in a manner that is violent, boisterous, or tumultuous. There must be at least two people involved for an unlawful assembly to occur.
Unlawful Assembly Charges Under PC 408
PC 407 provides the definition of an unlawful assembly in California. However, individuals are prosecuted for unlawful assembly under PC 408. Unlawful assembly is a misdemeanor-level offense under PC 408.
Individuals must act willingly to face PC 408 charges. They may also know that they are engaged in an unlawful assembly to be convicted. This means they must purposefully gather with others in an unlawful manner.
PC 408 charges often come into conflict with the First Amendment, which grants people the right to assemble. However, this right does not extend to gatherings that result in a crime or violent actions.
Find out more about how to fight unlawful assembly charges by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer with the Simmrin Law Group. Call us today at (310) 997-4688.
Results of a Conviction for Unlawful Assembly in California
The court treats unlawful assembly as a misdemeanor offense in Los Angeles and throughout California. Misdemeanors are serious offenses but not as severe as felonies. However, a conviction may still lead to penalties like jail time of up to six months and/or fines of up to $1,000.
Probation is offered in some unlawful assembly cases in California. Probation allows individuals to remain out of jail. While out of jail, they must obey a set of rules handed down by the court. Failure to follow these rules may result in a probation violation.
Charges Similar to Unlawful Assembly in California
There are additional similar offenses associated with gathering to carry out a criminal act. A criminal defense lawyer may help if you have questions about:
- Taking a prisoner by means of a riot
- Incitement to riot
- Disturbing the peace
Call the Simmrin Law Group and allow us to answer your questions about these and other criminal charges in Los Angeles today.
Available Defenses Against Unlawful Assembly Charges
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help if you are accused of unlawful assembly. A lawyer can work on handling your defense immediately after your arrest to help you argue that:
You Didn’t Know the Assembly Was Unlawful
Lawful assemblies are allowed in the state of California. If you gathered with a group of people for what you thought was a lawful purpose, you may be able to avoid a PC 408 conviction. A lawyer can help you show that you did not know you were breaking the law.
You Did Not Willingly Engage in the Assembly
You must willingly and knowingly take part in an assembly to be convicted under PC 408. If you merely happened to be in an area where an unlawful assembly occurred, your lawyer can work to build your defense. Find out more by contacting us now.
Speak to a Lawyer About Unlawful Assembly Charges
Take steps to build a defense if you are accused of unlawful assembly in California by reaching out to the Simmrin Law Group for help right now. Call us for a free consultation at (310) 997-4688 or complete our online contact form today.