Los Angeles Unlawful Assembly Attorney
Are you facing criminal charges for unlawful assembly in Los Angeles, CA? If so, don’t take these charges lightly. A conviction can land you in jail and result in fines and other negative consequences.
Contact our Los Angeles unlawful assembly attorneys at The Rodriguez Law Group for assistance. Our skilled legal team has over 50 years of combined experience helping those accused of various crimes. We’ve handled thousands of criminal cases, receiving not-guilty verdicts in several high-profile matters.
Attorney Ambrosio E. Rodriguez is a former district attorney who knows how the other side works. He has unique insight into how prosecutors think, and he’ll use it to achieve the best outcome for you.
Call our Los Angeles, California criminal defense law firm at (213) 995-6767 to schedule a free consultation. Everything we discuss will remain confidential, and you can obtain preliminary guidance on the best path forward.
How Can an Attorney Help If I’ve Been Charged With Unlawful Assembly in Los Angeles, CA?
When you’re accused of a crime – no matter how minor – it’s essential to take steps to protect yourself. Failure to do so can result in negative impacts on your reputation and future.
You need an aggressive advocate who knows the California criminal justice system. The government has vast resources to use against you, and going up against them alone can result in harsher penalties.
If you hire an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer from The Rodriguez Law Group for help with an unlawful assembly case, we’ll:
- Examine the charges and evidence against you to identify weaknesses
- Investigate the case and gather evidence refuting the prosecution’s allegations
- Evaluate the facts and create an individualized defense strategy for you
- Communicate with the prosecutor and attempt to have your charges dropped
- Negotiate a favorable plea deal if we can’t dismiss the case against you
- Represent you in all Los Angeles County court proceedings
Contact our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys today to discuss your unlawful assembly charges. We’ll start building your case immediately and work to protect your rights and freedom. We offer a free initial consultation, so there’s no risk in reaching out to discuss your situation.
What Is an Unlawful Assembly Under California Law?
Under California Penal Code Section 407 PC, an unlawful assembly occurs when two or more people get together to:
- Commit an unlawful act; or
- Do a lawful act in a violent or threatening manner
Anyone who participates in an unlawful assembly can be charged with a misdemeanor under Penal Code Section 408 PC.
To secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant willfully participated in the act. That means they did it willingly or on purpose. For example, if you accidentally stumbled upon an unlawful assembly and had no intent to join it, you lacked intent.
The prosecutor must also demonstrate that the defendant knew the assembly was unlawful when they participated. In other words, they knew they were engaging in illegal activity or lawful acts in a violent manner.
If the activity was lawful, it’s not an unlawful assembly unless violence actually happens or there is a clear and present danger of violence occurring.
Note that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects your right to freedom of speech. That includes the right to peaceably assemble. That’s why – if the activity is lawful – the crowd must either be acting violently or there must be an imminent threat of violence for it to be considered an unlawful assembly.
Examples of Unlawful Assembly in California
Here are a few examples of when you may be charged with unlawful assembly in Los Angeles, California:
- You join protestors who are damaging property by throwing rocks and other objects
- A peaceful protest becomes unlawful when people start fighting and assaulting opponents
- You see a group of people vandalizing buildings and setting fires and decide to join them
However, assume there’s a political group meeting at a local LA park. They’re chanting offensive statements and being loud, annoying other people in the area. This activity is protected by the First Amendment. As long as the group remains lawful, they aren’t violating California law.
Many people who are charged with unlawful assembly face other charges. That can result in more time in jail and steeper fines.
The offenses that are related to unlawful assembly include:
Participation in a Riot – California Penal Code Section 404 & 405 PC
A riot is defined as two or more people using force or violence, disturbing the peace, or threatening to use force or violence. They must have the immediate ability to carry out the threats or violence. This crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.
Inciting a Riot – California Penal Code Section 404.6 PC
Anyone who has the intent to cause a riot and does any of the following can be charged with incitement to riot:
- Acts or engages in conduct that encourages a riot
- Urges others to commit acts of violence or force
- Urges others to burn or destroy property
The defendant must have acted in a way that presented a clear, immediate danger.
Failure to Disperse – California Penal Code Section 409 & 416 PC
Anyone who attends a riot or unlawful assembly and remains there after being asked to leave by law enforcement can be charged with failure to disperse.
This is a misdemeanor and is often charged along with unlawful assembly.
Disturbing the Peace – California Penal Code Section 415 PC
You can be charged with disturbing the peace in California if you:
- Fight or challenge someone to a fight in a public place
- Willfully and maliciously disturb someone by making unreasonably loud noise
- Use offensive words in public that are likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction
This crime is punishable by up to 90 days in county jail and/or a fine of up to $400.
What Are the Potential Penalties for an Unlawful Assembly Conviction in California?
Unlawful assembly is a misdemeanor offense punishable by:
- Up to six months in county jail
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Summary probation
- Community service
- Any combination of these penalties
A criminal history, multiple charges, and aggravating factors can result in additional or harsher penalties.
Additionally, as with any crime in California, you can face collateral consequences. These aren’t court-appointed penalties. Rather, they’re the consequences a person with a criminal record may face in their daily lives.
Depending on the circumstances, collateral consequences may include:
- Difficulty keeping or gaining employment
- The loss of a professional license
- Child custody or visitation issues
- Immigration issues
- Trouble finding housing or obtaining loans
- A loss of your gun ownership rights
The best way to avoid these and other potential issues is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, CA.
How Can I Defend Myself Against Unlawful Assembly Charges in Los Angeles?
Don’t take any criminal charge lightly, no matter how minor you think it seems. A criminal record can negatively impact your life. The best way to fight the charges and protect your rights is to seek representation from a skilled defense lawyer in Los Angeles.
The team at The Rodriguez Law Group will evaluate the evidence against you and devise a strategy tailored to the facts of your case. We’ll look for weaknesses in the prosecution’s assertions and any misconduct that violated your rights.
Depending on the facts and circumstances of your unlawful assembly case, any of the following defenses may apply:
- You did not willingly participate in the activity – i.e., lack of intent
- The group wasn’t committing a crime or acting violently
- You didn’t know that the assembly was unlawful
- Your actions are protected by the First Amendment
- The activity turned unlawful, and you weren’t given adequate time to leave the group
- Police misconduct, such as unlawful arrest
The prosecutor has the burden of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt. We’ll do everything we can to make that as difficult as possible for them. Call today for a free case evaluation to get the legal defense you deserve.
Contact Our Los Angeles Unlawful Assembly Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Were you arrested for unlawful assembly in Los Angeles, CA? If so, don’t try to handle your case alone. Let an experienced criminal attorney protect you and advocate for a favorable outcome to minimize the potential consequences.
Call The Rodriguez Law Group to discuss your case with an experienced unlawful assembly lawyer in Los Angeles.