Riot and Unlawful Assembly

Now, more than ever, protests are becoming commonplace and necessary. As expected, law enforcement agencies are fighting back with the resources they have, including bringing charges against protesters. A couple of the more common charges protesters may face are riot and unlawful assembly. As you will see, you need a St. Paul riot attorney or St. Paul unlawful assembly attorney to help.

Riot –

Under Minn. Stat. 609.71, riot is considered either a gross misdemeanor or felony. Simply put, riot is considered the assembly of three or more persons done to disturb the public peace by an intentional act or threat of unlawful force or violence to person or property. Whether it is charged as a felony or gross misdemeanor, depends on a few factors.

1st Degree Riot – Occurs when one of the assembled persons is armed with a dangerous weapon and a death results. The max penalty is 20 years in prison and a fine of $35,000.

2nd Degree Riot – Occurs when each participant is armed with a dangerous weapon or knows that any other participant is armed with a dangerous weapon. The max penalty is 5 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

3rd Degree Riot – Occurs when none of the above facts are in play. The max penalty is one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.

Unlawful Assembly –

Minn. Stat. 609.715 defines unlawful assembly as follows: “Whoever without lawful purpose is present at the place of an unlawful assembly and refuses to leave when so directed by a law enforcement officer is guilty of a misdemeanor.” As a misdemeanor, the maximum penalty is 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000. Note that the definition of unlawful assembly includes the term ‘unlawful assembly.’ This makes knowing what acts could be considered unlawful assembly difficult and vague – which means it can often be overcharged.

With such serious criminal consequences – not to mention possible collateral consequences like this record impacting jobs or housing searches – it is imperative to hire an experienced St. Paul riot attorney or St. Paul unlawful assembly attorney to fight for you.


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