The U.S. Constitution sets out certain protected rights for U.S. citizens, including rights related to:
- Freedom of Speech
- Freedom of Assembly
However, there are certain limitations on these rights, especially when businesses are involved. Individuals can face criminal charges depending on how they assemble around a business. In California, these actions are covered by California Penal Code Section 602.1: Interfering or Obstructing a Public Business Establishment.
Understanding the limits of your legally protected rights can help you determine if you are interfering or obstructing a public business establishment. The Simmrin Law Group can help you go over the definition and penalties associated with PC 602.1.
Defining PC 602.1 in Los Angeles
U.S. citizens are entitled to assemble together and to speak their minds freely. PC 602.1 sets some limits on assemblies in public. This law states that you may be charged with interfering or obstructing a public business establishment if you:
- Obstruct or Intimidate Business People
- Obstruct or Intimidate Customers
Blocking doors or directly approaching either customers or employees may be considered interfering with a public business establishment in Los Angeles. Individuals may also be charged under PC 602.1 if they refuse to leave a business after being asked to go by:
- The Business Owner
- An Agent of the Business Owner
- A Peace Officer
Individuals can only be charged with interfering or obstructing a public business if they cause trouble with lawful business transactions in businesses that are open to public traffic. Additionally, an individual must act intentionally in order to be convicted under PC 602.1.
Charges Related to PC 602.1 in Los Angeles
Individuals can face several other criminal charges that are similar to PC 602.1. Depending on your circumstances, you could find yourself charged with:
- California Penal Code Section 408: Unlawful Assembly
- California Penal Code Section 602: Trespassing
- California Penal Code Section 601: Aggravated Trespassing
Trespassing is considered a property crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Individuals who are accused of interfering with a business may be charged with trespassing in addition to interfering or obstructing a public business establishment.
Penalties for Interfering or Obstructing a Public Business Establishment
Individuals can face a number of harsh legal repercussions if they are convicted under PC 602.1. Interfering or obstructing a public business establishment can be treated as a misdemeanor by the court system, leading to penalties including:
- Jail Time: Up to 90 Days
- Fines: Up to $400
These penalties can be challenging to deal with for many people. You can get help building a defense against charges of interfering or obstructing a public business establishment by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer right away.
PC 602.1 Charges and Legal Defenses
Individuals do not just have to accept charges under PC 602.1. There are several defenses that can be used if you are charged with interfering or obstructing a public business establishment, such as:
You Were Never Asked to Leave
A business owner, their agent, or a peace officer must ask you to leave before you can be charged under PC 602.1. If you did not refuse a request to leave a business, you should not be convicted of interfering or obstructing a public business establishment.
You Were Staging a Legal Protest
The Constitution allows citizens of the U.S. to protest publicly. As long as protesters do not block entrances or exits to a building or directly approach other people, they should not be convicted under PC 602.1.
Note also that this charge does not apply to individuals who are taking part in lawful labor union actions.
Get Professional Advice about PC 602.1 Charges
Individuals in California have the right to gather together and speak their minds. Sometimes, these gatherings may violate California Penal Code Section 602.1: Interfering or Obstructing a Public Business Establishment. The Simmrin Law Group can help you handle violations of PC 602.1. Call us at (310) 997- 4688 or complete our online form to learn more about your options.
You can get a FREE consultation with a legal professional if you are accused of interfering or obstructing a public business establishment in Los Angeles.