Protests have long been a way for citizens to speak up and voice their objections to something when they feel they are dealing with an unjust system. It’s your right to speak up and as long as you’re following the rules, law enforcement must allow it. But what if things go differently and you get arrested?
The First Amendment protects your right to assemble and protest. You have the right to protest in a public area such as streets, sidewalks, parks, and government buildings, provided you’re not blocking access or interfering with its purpose. Protesting on private property is a different story. The private property owner controls what kind of speech occurs on the property and must consent to the protest.
If there are counter-protesters, they have the same rights and the police must treat them in the same manner that they do the protesters. The police are allowed to keep protesters and counter-protesters separate.
You are allowed to photograph or videotape anything that is in plain view, including the police. The police cannot confiscate them without a warrant.
If you’re organizing the protest, they generally don’t require a permit although some, like planned marches, do require one. A permit cannot be denied because the views of the march are controversial. The local government cannot pick sides.
Shutting down a protest must be the last resort, and must be due to a clear and present danger that there may be rioting and violence. If the police do disperse the crowds, they must give the protestors a reasonable amount of time and a clear path to do so.
What To Do If You’re Arrested at a Protest
If you’re arrested at a protest, remain calm, make sure your hands are visible, and don’t resist. Calmly ask what you’re being arrested for. You have the right to know. Then, ask to speak to a lawyer immediately and exercise your right to remain silent. You wouldn’t want to say anything that might incriminate you.
You will be brought to the station and booked. This will be your opportunity to call a lawyer and if you cannot afford a lawyer as it says in your Miranda Rights, one will be appointed for you at no cost after you fill out an application. You will be arraigned, and at that time, you will either be released on your own recognizance or the judge will set bail. You can pay the bail yourself or you can use the services of a bail bond agent who will charge your a non-refundable 10% premium and put up the rest of your bail. The condition of being released on bail is that you show up for all court appearances, otherwise, it will be revoked and you’ll be forced back to jail and possibly face more charges.
Getting arrested isn’t the end of the world. Mercy Bail Bonds is a full-service bail bond agency with many year’s experience getting people out of jail fast. At Mercy Bail Bonds, our caring staff is available 24/7 to help with your release from jail. We serve Pasco, Hernando, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties as well as the entire state of Florida and the country. Our bond agents will guide you through this confusing time and get you out of jail and back home fast. If you’ve been arrested, even if you were already out on bond, call Mercy Bail Bonds now at (727) 856-7775.