Find out what is legal and what you can get arrested for at a protest in Texas.
Protests have become more common in American life as people have become fed up with police brutality and racial injustice. While Texans have the right to free speech and peaceful assembly, there are some things they cannot do. If they engage in restricted or illegal activities, they can be arrested.
Criminal offenses committed through protests can affect your reputation and professional life. Read on to find out what you cannot do at a protest.
Assault and Battery
Protests must be peaceful. When protests turn violent, then the police will get involved. Assaulting other protestors, bystanders, or police officers is a huge no-no. A violent protestor can be charged with battery, assault, or aggravated assault, depending on the nature and severity of the situation. All these charges can lead to fines and jail time.
Protesting on Private Property
While protests can be held on public property, encroaching on private property is not allowed. However, a protestor can ask for permission to protest on private property. The owner can set certain restrictions. A protestor can face trespassing charges for going onto private property without permission.
Violating an Emergency Order
When there are safety concerns about a protest in progress, law enforcement officials have the right to issue emergency orders. If the government has concerns about a possible riot, they can ask protestors to go home or impose a curfew. When protestors do not follow these orders, they can be arrested.
Generally, protests cannot block traffic. Car and foot traffic should be able to get through without any issues. If protestors are planning to block traffic, they need a permit to do so. Otherwise, they cannot block public roads or sidewalks, or else they could be arrested.
Vandalism is also illegal during a protest. Defacing or destroying any property that does not belong to you can lead to vandalism charges. Common acts of vandalism include graffiti, arson, throwing eggs at houses and other property, damaging cars, and breaking windows.
Again, protests must be peaceful and using explosives is anything but. Explosives can be loud and dangerous. They can damage property and injure bystanders. A person using homemade explosives can be charged with unlawful possession of a destructive device.
Many protests lead to looting. Looting refers to breaking into and stealing from stores. This is frustrating for business owners and can lead to felony theft charges, depending on the value of the stolen goods.
Contact Our Austin TX Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
While you generally have the right to protest, it must be done in a peaceful manner. Make sure you understand your legal rights as well as things that are not prohibited.
The Austin criminal defense attorneys at Granger and Mueller PC can help you with your case. We have worked on thousands of criminal cases and can help you defend yours. Schedule a consultation with our office today by calling (512) 474-9999 or filling out the online form.