Recently, there have been nightly protests in Phoenix and other major cities throughout the country aimed at curbing the excessive use of force by police as well as highlighting other social injustices and political issues. Of course, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution permits free speech, allows citizens to assemble peacefully and authorizes individuals and groups to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Unfortunately, and as depicted in nightly news footage, many of these protests have turned violent. Clashes between police and protesters have become routine. Moreover, people have been seriously injured or in some instances killed and private and commercially owned property has been damaged or stolen.
Arrested During a Protest March?
Perhaps the most important word in the First Amendment in "peacefully." Specifically, the First Amendment allows people to speak freely, to make their feelings known and to act in a manner focused toward changing certain government practices. However, engaging in acts of assault, theft and the destruction of property will most certainly result in your being arrested and prosecuted.
Common offenses for which people are arrested and prosecuted for their actions during protest activities include:
1. Disorderly Conduct - A person commits disorderly conduct if, with intent to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family or person, or with knowledge of doing so, such person engages in fighting, violent, or seriously disruptive behavior. Usually, disorderly conduct is a class one misdemeanor unless it involves the reckless display of a firearm. If a firearm is involved, disorderly conduct is classified as a class 6 felony.
2. Criminal Damage - Is the act of damaging, defacing, or tampering with property that belongs to another person. The level of prosecution for a criminal damage charge is dependent upon the value of the property which is damaged.
3. Theft - Occurs when a person unlawfully controls the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive that rightful owner of the property. Theft usually occurs during protest demonstrations when individuals break into stores and engage in acts of looting.
4. Assault/Aggravated Assault - Can be prosecuted when a person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly injures another or places another person in reasonable apprehension of physical injury. In many protests which become unruly, people begin to throw objects at, and threaten police officers. These individuals can be arrested for aggravated assault on a police officer and prosecuted for a serious felony offense.
Undoubtedly, people who feel passionate about a specific issue and desire change have an absolute right to make their feelings known and have their voices heard. However, there are specific limitations upon the right to freedom of expression and many people will find themselves arrested, booked into jail and facing serious charges if they act outside of the law. If you are arrested during a demonstration, you are well advised to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can fight to safeguard your rights and avoid a permanent mark on your record.
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If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale or any other city within Maricopa or Pinal County, it is vital that you contact a highly skilled criminal lawyer immediately. Tempe criminal defense lawyer Raymond Kimble will recognize available defenses and has been defending people charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes for many years. Mr. Kimble knows how to prepare a solid defense, challenge the prosecution's evidence and negotiate a reduction or dismissal of the charges
With a seasoned Tempe criminal defense attorney on your case, you will have your rights protected as your attorney fights to secure a favorable outcome on your behalf. Attorney Raymond Kimble has successfully represented hundreds of individuals throughout Arizona over the last twenty years who have been accused of assault, aggravated assault and many other serious offenses.