With political changes and social unrest come protests, demonstrations, marches, and other expressions from displeased groups. While these protests can be peaceful, many in recent years have turned violent and led to mass arrests by law enforcement. Los Angeles is among the cities with a schedule of ongoing organized protests leading into 2018. Those planning to participate in any of these demonstrations may want to consider seeking out a Los Angeles criminal lawyer. Here’s why:
Preventing Charges Post-Arrest
In many cases, law enforcement officials arrest protesters in groups, regardless of whether or not each person in the group participated in actions deserving of a criminal charge. In November 2016, a period of five days saw the arrest of 462 people during anti-Trump protests in Los Angeles. A year later, however, analysis of the arrest records demonstrated that only 10 of the arrested were met with formal charges from the LAPD, and only three of those charges became felony cases.
Immediately after arrest is the best time to contact a criminal defense attorney. In many cases, a Los Angeles criminal lawyer can help you prevent charges from ever being filed if you have been accused of a crime, or if you find yourself in a situation where you are being arrested as part of a group.
Charges Don’t Have to Mean Guilt
In the event that a protester does face a criminal charge after arrest, there is still ample opportunity to ensure fairness in the courtroom. With the help of criminal defense lawyers, six Washington D.C. protesters were found not guilty last month after their defense attorneys maintained that the individuals were using the rights granted to them in the First Amendment.
These are only two of numerous examples throughout the United States of criminal lawyers restoring normalcy and fairness to the lives of those accused of crimes during rallies and demonstrations. As the climate of protests continues to change, Los Angeles individuals hoping to speak their mind may need the help of a Los Angeles criminal lawyer more than ever.