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Picketing or marching outside a courthouse can be a powerful way to protest or demonstrate support for a particular cause or person. However, California Penal Code 169 PC makes it illegal to picket or parade near a courthouse with the intent to interfere with or hinder the administration of justice, or to influence any judge, jury, witness, or officer of the court. The penalties for a conviction can be severe, including a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or a maximum sentence of six months in county jail. In this article, the experienced attorneys at Spodek Law Group will provide an overview of this law, the legal defenses available to those accused of violating it, and related offenses.
Under California Penal Code 169 PC, picketing or parading in or around a courthouse with the aim to interfere with or obstruct the administration of justice or to influence any judge, juror, witness, or officer of the court is illegal. It is important to note that this section does not make it illegal or punishable for someone to peacefully demonstrate outside of a courthouse. The intent of the picketing or marching is crucial in determining whether a person has broken the law. The experienced attorneys at Spodek Law Group understand the nuances of this law and can help those accused of violating it mount an effective legal defense.
If you have been accused of picketing or marching outside a courthouse, there are several legal defenses that can be employed. The first is proving that you had no intention of wrongdoing. You can argue that you were participating in a peaceful demonstration, and your activity was not intended to interfere with or obstruct the administration of justice or to influence any judge, juror, witness, or officer of the court. Another defense is to argue that you were arrested without reasonable suspicion. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires police to have probable cause to hold or arrest a suspect of a crime. If you were stopped or detained without probable cause, any evidence gathered as a result of the illegal stop or arrest could be thrown out of the case, resulting in the charges being dismissed or reduced. A third defense is to argue that your activity was a simple protest rather than unlawful picketing or procession. Protests that are peaceful are not against the law. At Spodek Law Group, our attorneys have successfully employed these and other legal defenses to help clients accused of picketing or marching outside a courthouse mount a strong defense.
A conviction for violating Penal Code 169 PC is a misdemeanor offense, which is less serious than a felony but more serious than an infraction. If you are convicted of this offense, you could face a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or a maximum sentence of six months in county jail. However, a judge can sentence a defendant to criminal probation instead of jail time, known as “summary” or “informal” probation. At Spodek Law Group, we have a deep understanding of California criminal law and can help you understand the potential penalties you face for violating Penal Code 169 PC.
Picketing or parading in or near a courthouse is illegal in several ways, including lynching under CALIFORNIA PC 405, failure to disperse under CALIFORNIA PC 409 and 416, and rioting under CALIFORNIA PC 404. It is essential to note that these offenses carry their own specific penalties, which can be even more severe than the penalties for picketing or marching outside a courthouse.
Picketing or marching outside a courthouse is a complex legal issue that requires a deep understanding of California criminal law. If you or someone you know has been accused of violating Penal Code 169 PC, it is essential to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. The attorneys at Spodek Law Group have a proven track record of successfully defending clients accused of picketing or marching outside a courthouse. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you protect your rights and your freedom.
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