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California Penal Code Section 169 PC: Picketing Near Court To Obstruct Justice

Freedom of speech is a very basic right that all people have. While people have the right to protest and picket, there are restrictions to this. One situation in which you are not legally able to picket or protest is in a situation in when you are doing so near a courthouse in an attempt to obstruct justice. This situation is specifically covered under California Penal Code Section 169 PC. This makes it illegal to specifically ticket in protest near a courthouse with the intent of obstructing justice. 

Definition of Crime 
The violation of California Penal Code Section 169 PC can be somewhat complicated to prove and is not always completely clear in its definition. Since freedom of speech is guaranteed under the federal and State of California constitutions, making sure that the law is in compliance with these rules is challenging. For someone to be charged and convicted of California Penal Code Section 169 PC, three different elements need to be met. 

To be convicted of this crime, the defendant will first need to be located inside or very close to a courthouse or other building where legal proceedings will be taking place. The defendant will also need to be clearly trying to interfere with the process by either blocking entry or doing something else to try and delay the legal process. Someone can also be convicted of the crime if it can be proven that they were trying to influence a judge, witness, juror, or some other party involved in the legal case at hand. 

Related Crimes 
For those that are charged with this crime, there are several other similar and related crimes that they could also be charged with. Some common charges that are also filed along with this include Disturbing a Public Meeting, Refusing to Disperse, or Unlawful Assembly. 

Common Defenses 
While actual charges of this crime are not very common, there are still some common defenses that are used to fight the crime. The most common defense strategy is to claim that the protest was in line with the defendant’s civil rights. Since someone is able by law to protest, it can be difficult for a prosecutor to clearly prove that someone was trying to obstruct justice as opposed to simply obeying their rights in a peaceful manner. 

Penalties 
If you are charged with obstructing justice when you are picketing near a courthouse, there are some penalties that could be given. Those that are charged and convicted with the crime will normally be charged with some court fees and fines, be required to complete community service, and may be charged with probation. However, the state law does allow someone to spend as much as 180 days in jail. The more serious penalties are typically reserved for people that have a prior record or are on probation for a similar crime. 

While the overall penalties to this are not too significant, the impact of this could have a lasting affect on someone’s life. This will be a misdemeanor that will be on someone’s background check for the rest of their lives. This could make it harder for someone to qualify for some jobs or even rent an apartment. 

Since being charged with a violation of California Penal Code Section 169 PC can lead to serious penalties, you should hire an attorney whenever you are charged. An attorney will be able to work with you to develop a strategy to help you receive a lower sentence and possibly have the charges dropped entirely. The attorney will be able to figure out whether the situations was actually obstruction of justice or if you were within your rights afforded by the constitution.


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2021-03-12
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2021-03-03
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2021-02-26
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I'm very satisfied with the services rendered by Todd, Alex and Mary Lou. I whole heartedly recommend Spodek Law Group . I've worked with and have retained other attorneys in the past with Todd's firm being the cream of the crop for many reasons. A very serious legal matter was resolved after a year's hard work and effort. Todd expertly guided me through the process and was able to navigate and make the good journey bearable as well as successful. Mary Lou initially provided excellent assistance before referring my case to Todd. Alex's support was effective and timely. The customer portal (MyCase) is an invaluable communication tool that also kept track of my case. Various aspects of my case were explained and there were several options provided but I made the final decision of how the case would be handled. The legal fee was reasonable considering the effort and amount of work plus it was a flat fee regardless of the length of time required to conclude my case. Todd made himself available to me and we had many scheduled meetings to go over the progress and to discuss the next steps. I felt more confident after many discussions with him. You will not go wrong choosing Spodek Law Group for legal matters.
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2021-02-24
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Being that it was the first time that I was in need of an attorney, I was afraid and hesitant and knew I needed the absolute best. It is beyond understood why Spodek Law Group has a reputation of being the top, if not the best law firm in New York. Alex and Abigail were there every step of the way even at the most unconvenient hours. I could not have asked for more. They are extremely good at what they do and they delivered much much more than just winning my case. A big thank you to Alex and Abigail for all the guidance and counseling and their upmost loyal support that extended far more than just legally. If you need the absolute best than don't hesitate to hire Spodek Law Firm.
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2021-02-24
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I cannot tell you how thankful I am to Todd and Alex for their hard work and dedication to my case. I had never been in any trouble before but I had an unfortunate event occur and in the midst of COVID-19 at that therefore I knew I needed a team that was dedicated to my success. Today- my case has been finalized and I’m walking away with no record and can continue life as a mother and a Grad student worry free. I cannot express enough gratitude for their assistance.
AnnMarie Soliman
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2021-02-23
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I received a summons and called Spodek law group for a free consultation. Alex took my call and was very quick and responsive. He was available anytime through multiple platforms and very reassuring when needed. They are extremely organized and thorough. They got my case dismissed! I’m very grateful. Thank you Alex and Todd!

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