Participating in a lawful protest in Denver can go wrong quickly and end in criminal charges. The more serious rioting offenses can place people behind bars for years with significant fines. These crimes escalate when a weapon is involved in some way. With tensions high in our state as many lawfully protest, awareness as to the laws surrounding these public gatherings is essential. If you or someone you know is facing a riot charge in Colorado, we invite you to contact a skilled Denver riot attorney from our office today.
Denver Rioting Laws
Denver’s rioting laws prohibit several different actions when groups of people gather to protest or intend to cause a public disturbance. Below is a brief outline of the laws surrounding rioting in Denver:
- Engaging in a Riot – C.R.S. 18-9-104
- participating in a group of 3+ that creates danger of injury, damage to property, or substantially obstructs the performance of a government function
- Inciting a Riot – C.R.S. 18-9-102
- urging, commanding, instructing, or signalling a group of 5+ to engage in or continue a riot
- Arming Rioters – C.R.S. 18-9-103
- supplying a deadly weapon or destructive device to rioters or showing another how to prepare or use a deadly weapon for a riot
- Disobedience of Public Safety Orders – C.R.S. 18-9-105
- disobeying a safety order to move, disperse, or refrain from specific behavior
When Do Rioting Crimes Become a Felony in Colorado?
Disobeying police orders and some cases of inciting or engaging in a riot are misdemeanor offenses in Colorado. Conviction can lead to up to 18 months in county jail and a maximum fine of $5,000. However, there are specific scenarios when rioting crimes become felony offenses:
- engaging in a riot with the threat or use of a deadly weapon,
- inciting a riot that results in property damage or injury to another,
- arming rioters
Penalties for felony rioting crimes in Colorado can include 1 – 6 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. These offenses also include mandatory parole periods that severely restrict one’s life after incarceration.
Criminal Defense for Riot Charges in Denver
Police are known to label peaceful protests as riots, even when there isn’t a substantial risk of property damage or injury. While it may be difficult to do in these highly emotional situations, fighting a charge or arrest afterwards in court is the best course of action. With a strategic criminal defense attorney by your side, we passionately defend your freedoms and rights. Perhaps you were trying to disperse when asked, you didn’t encourage any violent or destructive behavior, or your statements were protected as free speech. That said, contact our office for a free consultation. We will carefully analyze your riot charges and suggest next steps in your defense. We offer same-day jail visits, affordable fees, and flexible payment plans for those facing criminal charges throughout Colorado.
If you or someone you’re close with has been charged with a rioting offense, be smart. Contact the determined criminal defense attorneys at O’Malley and Sawyer, LLC at 303-830-0880. Together, we can protect your future.
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