What Can The Police Arrest You For at a Protest?June 19, 2022
You have the right to free expression under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment and the California Code. This right includes:
- Free speech
- Singing or chanting protest statements on public parks, plazas, and sidewalks
- Protesting or picketing on public plazas, parks, and sidewalks so long as you don’t block sidewalks and entrances
- Distributing flyers, leaflets, or similar literature on public parks, plazas, sidewalks, or your own property
- Engaging in symbolic speech, such as carrying signs, puppets, or sculptures and wearing shirts with artwork or messages
On the other hand, the police and the law place specific restrictions on people’s rights to free expression. Even if you believe that your protest or expressive activities are lawful, the police may consider them unlawful and arrest you for:
- Rioting and unlawful assembly
- Resisting arrest
- Delaying the police
- Disputing or interfering with a public meeting
- Disturbing the peace
- Failure to disperse
- Trying to free someone who’s just been arrested
- Refusal to follow the orders of a police officer who’s enforcing the traffic rules
- Utilizing force, physical obstructions, or the threat of force to interfere with an individual’s right to attend their place of worship or obtain reproductive health services
What Should I Do If I Get Arrested at a Protest?
- Stay silent and talk to an attorney before giving a statement to the police. Only disclose your name and address.
- Ask to call your attorney as soon as possible.
- Ask politely why you’re being arrested.
- Do not give the police any excuses or explanations for your actions.
- Within a reasonably short time after getting arrested, you should be allowed to call your attorney, a relative, friend, bail bondsman, or others.
- You must be heard by a judge on the following court day after getting arrested.
- Do not make any hasty decisions about your case until you’ve spoken to your attorney.
Reach Out to an Experienced Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Lawyer Now
Following the law when protesting does not guarantee that the police will not arrest you. In fact, the police usually conduct mass arrests during large protests. But in such cases, prosecutors typically drop the charges after you’ve been detained for a day or two, and they usually don’t file charges.
Whether or not you have committed a crime, you still have essential constitutional rights, such as the right to have your attorney present when the police are questioning you. In addition, if the police held you in deplorable conditions or did not release you within the deadline, you should talk to an attorney about filing a claim against them. Likewise, if you are facing criminal charges for protesting, you should discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
The Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyer of Bamieh & De Smeth knows what it takes to protect your legal rights and pursue the dismissal of the charges against you if your constitutional rights were violated by the police. You can arrange your free case review by calling 805-643-5555 or reaching us online.