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Can Protesting Get You Charged With a Federal Crime?

As George Floyd protests continue so to do the number of arrests related to these protests. Most people know they can get arrested for participating in a protest, but probably assume this happens only at the local level.

What they might not know is that if you incite violence or participate in violence at a protest then you could find yourself vulnerable to criminal charges. 

In Colorado, US Attorney Jason Dunn are working to charge agitators. Dunn is specifically looking to charge a specific type of person. “We were starting to see some intelligence reports that there were those that were intentionally trying to instigate and perpetuate the destructive behavior, and coming from outside some of the cities, the department felt like it was time for the federal government to lean in on this and quash some of the violence.”

You can be charged in federal court for inciting a riot, as well as bombing a place of public use or a government facility or damaging federal government property. It is also a federal crime to cross state lines to participate in a riot. 

In Charleston, West Virginia, Attorney General William P. Barr has also directed federal law enforcement actions aimed at charging violent criminal agitators, employing the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to identify criminal organizers and instigators. Barr is also targeting looters, saying they undermine the peaceful protesters.

In Chicago, Matthew Lee Rupert has been arrested for appearing at several protests in several states, where he encouraged rioting and looting, and participated in rioting and looting himself. Rupert even passed out explosives and encouraged others to throw them at police and at buildings. 

Remember, someone advocating violence at a protest is not a friend to you. That person probably isn’t a friend of the cause you’re there to support. And they may be headed for deep trouble soon. 

Federal crimes bring longer, harsher prison terms than state crimes. Protests can also get confusing and difficult to navigate. It could be easy to be targeted as an instigator when you hadn’t done anything wrong.

If this happens to you then you will need an attorney who is well-versed in federal criminal defense. Federal charges can ruin your life. 

Call Koch Law to get help. 

See also:

Can You Be Arrested for Violating Social Distancing Orders?

5 Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Under Investigation

 7 Signs You’re Under Federal Criminal Investigation