Definition and Aspects of Rioting:
Inciting or participating in a riot is against the law. California Penal Code 404 (PC 404) defines Rioting as the act of two or more people gathering to act without the authority of the law and do any of the below:
- Use violence or force
- Disrupt public peace
- Threaten violence or force with immediate power to execute the threat
To be convicted of California Penal Code 404 (PC 404), the Prosecution must prove the following:
- The Defendant willfully gathered with one or more other persons to cause a public commotion
- The group used violence, force, or threatened others
In the United States, people have the right to protest and speak freely. However, when that gathering turns violent or threatens the safety of others, it is no longer protesting. Rioting is a misdemeanor offense, punishable with probation, hefty fines, or even jail time.
Criminal Offenses Related to Rioting:
Similar or related offenses to California Penal Code 404 (PC 404), Rioting:
- Inciting a Riot – California Penal Code 404.6 (PC 404.6)
- Unlawful Assembly – California Penal Code 407 & 408 (PC 407) (PC 408)
- Failing to Disperse – California Penal Code 409 & 416 (PC 409) (PC 416)
- Disturbing the Peace – California Penal Code 415 (PC 415)
Examples of Rioting:
A woman gathered with a few of her colleagues to protest a workplace injustice. Quickly, the peaceful protest morphed into a riot, breaking office equipment and threatening to cause physical harm in upper management. Under California Penal Code 404 (PC 404), the woman and her colleagues could be charged with Rioting.
However, in the same example, if the woman realizes that her coworkers are overstepping the line between protesting and Rioting and excludes herself from the group, she would not be criminally liable for violating California Penal Code 404 (PC 404).
Defenses for Rioting:
In order for the Defendant to be convicted of Rioting (PC 404), he/she had to be willfully and knowingly participating in the activities or supporting it. If the Defendant were merely present at the scene of the riot, he/she would technically not be guilty of Rioting (PC 404). It is not against the law to be present at the scene of a crime. However, police officers under duress can have difficulty excluding bystanders from those actively participating in the riot, and bystanders can end up getting arrested.
Riots create a stressful environment for all parties involved, as well as bystanders. Police are often overworked or just plainly nervous about the situation, and unjustified police brutality can take place. If the rioters respond to an unfair action with a violent reaction of their own, self-defense can be used to get a Defendant out of Rioting (PC 404) charges. An experienced Defense Attorney can help make the case of self-defense, to lower rioting charges, or even get them thrown out.
Consequences and Penalty for Rioting:
Participating in or inciting a riot, under California Penal Code 404 (PC 404), is a misdemeanor offense. If convicted, the punishment is up to one year in county jail, as well as fines up to $1,000. Depending on the details of the crime and the history of the convicted person, Judges can grant misdemeanor probation instead, with little or no jail time.
Inciting or participating in a riot, under California Penal Code 404 (PC 404), is a misdemeanor offense that can result in jail time and severe fines. It is essential that if you or someone you know is charged with Rioting, you contact an expert attorney as soon as possible.
For an experienced attorney on your side, Action Lavitch from Action Defense Lawyers is available 24/7 at (747) DEFEND U or (747) 333-3638. With a proven track record of gathering and rioting related cases and speaking both English and Spanish, Action Lavitch and the team from Action Defense Lawyers provide skilled legal representation and professional advice. Having an above 90% success rate for clients, Action Defense Lawyers is the go-to for those charged with California Penal Code Section 404 (PC 404), Rioting. Book a free consultation today.