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When Free Speech Becomes Criminal – Protests vs. Riots

The cornerstones of freedom and liberty in America has foundations in the First Amendment, and in both the North Carolina Constitution and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you are giving the right to free expression and speech. However, like the yelling “fire” in a crowded theater example, or participating in violent actions during a riot, there are certain limitations to free speech that could turn into criminal matters.

Raleigh Criminal Attorney Dewey Brinkley | Protests vs. Riots

Free speech laws are complex, and with a continuously changing legal landscape regarding free speech in North Carolina, your rightful protests could turn into a criminal matter. If you were arrested in Raleigh or Wake County for protesting, make sure to call the leading criminal defense attorney in the Raleigh and Triangle Area: Dewey P. Brinkley.

Don’t hesitate, and the moment you’re arrested or facing charges, call the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley in Raleigh today at (919) 832-0307.

Elements of Free Speech to Remember

There are three things that you need to remember when it comes to free speech laws and rights in North Carolina:

  1. It’s not about what you say, it’s how you say it. No matter your beliefs, you have the right to express your opinions. However, it’s how you use that right that matters in courts. For instance, if you organize a protest that causes serious disruption, then the police may be able to intervene and you may be held criminally liable.
  2. Free speech is for everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re old or young, Christian or Muslim, a U.S. citizen or not, you right to free speech is protected.
  3. Always consider the when, where, and how when using your right to free speech. For instance, if you organize a protest that turns violent or causes disruption, your event could be canceled. Make sure you know the municipalities regulations and observe the ones related to time, place, and the manner in which you exercise your rights.

Protest vs. Riot?

The difference between a protest and a riot is fairly simple. A protest is, in the majority of instances, legal and protected while a riot that involves violence and civil disorder can be considered criminal behavior and not protected by free speech laws.

According to the Oxford dictionary, a protest is “a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something.” As such, when individuals say they’re organizing a protest, it’s usually a peaceful, public demonstration expressing strong objection. When violent acts occur during a protest, however, it can become a riot. According to the Oxford dictionary, a riot is “a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd.”

Penalties for Rioting in North Carolina

Furthermore, rioting is a crime defined in the North Carolina penal code, under § 14-288.2. Riot; inciting to riot; punishments. According to this law, “A riot is a public disturbance involving an assemblage of three or more persons which by disorderly and violent conduct, or the imminent threat of disorderly and violent conduct, results in injury or damage to persons or property or creates a clear and present danger of injury or damage to persons or property.”

The criminal penalty for rioting is a Class 1 Misdemeanor; however, you could be looking at a Class H Felony if one of the following apply:

  • During the course of the riot, there is serious bodily injury or property damage that exceeds $1,500
  • The rioter was in possession of a dangerous weapon or a substance

Also, willfully inciting or urging others to riot is a Class 1 Misdemeanor (a Class F Felony if the resulting riot caused serious bodily harm or excessive property damage), and it is here where the line between protest and riot can get blurred.

Changing Legal Landscapes for Protesting in North Carolina

Although the definitions sound pretty straightforward, peaceful protestors are often the target of police intervention and arrest. Furthermore, the legal landscape regarding free speech and protests is always changing. In February of 2017, lawmakers in North Carolina introduced a bill that could open up felony charges to any criminal offense that leads to at least $1,000 in economic harm to any business, if the offender intended to intimidate the government or public.

This bill was rejected in the NC House in April, but this bill proposal and its failure does represent how laws regarding protests and riots can change.

 

Arrested for Exercising Your Right to Free Speech? Call Raleigh Attorney Brinkley Today

If you were arrested during a peaceful protest, or if a protest got out of hand and turned into a riot, then make sure to call Raleigh criminal attorney Dewey Brinkley today. For a free consultation with our Raleigh criminal law firm, call us today at (919) 832-0307.

Don’t Spend The New Years In Jail – How To Avoid Getting A DWI

Raleigh DWI Attorney Dewey Brinkley

Don’t Spend the New Years in Jail – How to Avoid Getting a DWI

New Years is one of the biggest party nights of the year, packed full of good cheer, friends and family, good food, and, of course, alcohol. While New Years is a night for memories, the risks for a DWI are also highly escalated. Drunk-driving fatalities often occur around the holidays, including New Years, and every year, Raleigh and Wake County law enforcement are intensely trying to reduce alcohol-related road fatalities by being extra diligent towards suspected drunk drivers.

Instead of spending your New Years in jail, you need to take the extra steps to avoid getting a DWI on New Year’s Eve. The most important (and the easiest) way is to not drive after you’ve drunk alcohol. However, if you were arrested for DWI on New Year’s Eve, make sure to call Raleigh DWI attorney Dewey P. Brinkley as soon as possible. We offer free consultations, and we’ll get started on your case as soon as we hear from you.

Call Dewey P. Brinkley for your Raleigh DWI attorney at (919) 832-0307.

Penalties for DWI in North Carolina

There are no happy holiday endings for drunk drivers, and North Carolina law enforcement, courts, and prosecutors will heavily prosecute individuals charged with drunk driving.

If you’re under 21 years old, the penalties for underage drunk driving (if your BAC is under 0.08) may include court fees, fines, jail time, and license suspensions. If your BAC is above 0.08, you may be looking at any of the following penalties:

Level 5 DWI:

  • Immediate license suspension for 30 days
  • Up to a $200 fine
  • Between 24 hours and 60 days in jail
  • Substance abuse assessments

Level 4 DWI:

  • Immediate license suspension for 30 days
  • Up to a $500 fine
  • Between 48 hours and 120 days in jail
  • Substance abuse assessments

Level 3 DWI:

  • Immediate license suspension for 30 days
  • Up to a $1,000 fine
  • Between 72 hours and 6 months in jail
  • Substance abuse assessments

Level 2 DWI:

  • Immediate license suspension for 30 days
  • Up to a $2,000 fine
  • Between 7 days and 12 months in jail
  • Substance abuse assessments

Level 1 DWI:

  • Immediate license suspension for 30 days
  • Up to a $4,000 fine
  • Between 30 days and 24 months in jail
  • Substance abuse assessments

Aggravated Level 1 DWI:

  • Immediate license suspension for 30 days
  • Up to $10,000 fine
  • Between 12 months and 36 months in jail
  • Continued alcohol monitoring
  • Substance abuse assessments

Prior convictions or aggravating factors can dramatically increase the penalties for a DWI. Some aggravating factors may include:

  • Being grossly impaired or having a BAC of 0.15 or more
  • Reckless or dangerous driving
  • Negligent driving that led to an accident
  • Driving with a revoked license

Plan a Sober Ride Home

The penalties for drunk driving on New Year’s Eve are certainly harsh, and due to the increased dangers this night, police and prosecutors might not hesitate to deliver the most severe penalties possible. As such, with the prospect of jail and substantial penalties, and the possibility of gravely injuring other people, the best way to avoid a DWI on New Years is to not drive drunk. Plan a sober ride home instead. Contact a taxi, rideshare, or try to organize with a sober driver.

Contact Raleigh DWI Attorney Dewey Brinkley

If you are arrested for a DWI on New Years, don’t panic and call the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley in Raleigh NC as soon as possible. With decades of experience representing and defending individuals charged with drunk driving related offenses, DWI attorney Brinkley will thoroughly guide you through the legal process while aggressively defending your case at every stage. For a free, no-obligation consultation with our Raleigh DWI defense law firm, call us today at (919) 832-0307.

Why Dewey Brinkley for Raleigh Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Raleigh criminal defense lawyer Dewey Brinkley has a desire to give our clients quality representation with one on one personal touch. If you have been accused, charged, investigated or even received a parking ticket, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to handle the case for you. Dewey Brinkley Law Firm has tried over 300 cases and will devote our time and efforts to protect YOU.

With an initial Free Consultation we cover every area of Raleigh Criminal Defense, including:

 

Compassionate, Diligent, and Aggressive

As one of the leading Raleigh criminal defense attorneys in Wake County, Dewey P. Brinkley has seen it all. Thus, we are prepared to give your case a diligent and aggressive defense using a compassionate ear. This means we’ll fight for you while addressing your concerns. Also, we understand how a Raleigh criminal defense charge can be stressful and overwhelming, which is why we’ll take care of investigations, contacting witnesses, and preparing a full-service defense to give you the best possible outcome.

Dewey P. Brinkley’s experience as a Wake County Assistant District Attorney has given him far-reaching resources. We’ll leave no stones unturned, and no matter the charge, we have professionals in the field who can examine each aspect of the case, from the alleged crime to the police and court’s handling of the case.

We are a full-service Raleigh criminal defense law firm

Contact the leading criminal defense attorney in Raleigh now

919-832-0307