You have the right to peaceful assembly! People protest the state for good reasons. The government isn’t always very nice. Some police protect people. Some police murder people. Sometimes, the government takes steps to protect bad cops. Even if your protest was nice, cops might say that you violated lawful orders. It’s important to take precautions. Precautions keep you safe. A lawyer is a good precaution. Therefore, you should find a Des Moines Unlawful Assembly lawyer before you protest.
The First Amendment is a bastion of protesters’ rights. The government can’t discriminate against your message, viewpoint, or identity as a speaker. They can intervene in unlawful conduct, though. Basically, once violence starts, an assembly is no longer “peaceful.” You don’t have a constitutional right to assembly that isn’t peaceful.
If they can prove that you participated in an assembly where people were hurting people or destroying property, you’re facing possible criminal sanctions.
Iowa Code 723.2 concerns Unlawful Assembly.
Des Moines Unlawful Assembly Lawyers
Remember that in order to convict you, the prosecutors have to prove every element of a crime. Therefore, they must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. “Mens rea” is an element of all crimes. Obviously, they have to prove that you knew what you were doing.
At Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, we defend good people who are accused of bad things. An Iowa unlawful assembly attorney might be able to find you a viable path to reasonable doubt, thus saving you from paying thousands in fines and restitution and spending time locked up away from your family.
An Iowa Unlawful Assembly attorney might be able to help you avoid conviction. Acquittal or dismissal could save you thousands. You could go home to your family instead of going to jail.
Get out of trouble and get back to life. Call Katherine Sears at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC. You can set up a free consultation now at (515) 491 6128. A receptionist is available 24/7 to take your call.
The criminal defense lawyers at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, are based in Des Moines and Ankeny. They represent defendants throughout Polk County and the rest of Iowa.
Penalties for Unlawful Assembly in Iowa
If you’re convicted or plead guilty to Iowa Unlawful Assembly, you will face fines and/or jail time for a simple misdemeanor.
After July 15, 2020:
- Unlawful Assembly is a Simple Misdemeanor. Therefore, fines are $105 – $855. Additionally, you could spend up to 30 days in jail.
- A 15% crime services surcharge applies to criminal fines.
Prior to July 15, 2020: Simple misdemeanor. Fine of $65 – $315, up to 30 days in jail. 35% criminal penalty surcharge
If you get a deferred judgment instead of a conviction, you will pay a civil penalty instead of a fine. In light of that, judges assign civil penalties in the same amounts as criminal fines. For instance, if you get a deferred judgment on an unlawful assembly charge, you could get a civil penalty of
$65 $105. That is instead of getting a criminal fine for $65 $105. Because a civil penalty is not a criminal fine, there’s no additional 35% 15% surcharge.
Additionally, probation comes with a $300 supervision fee.
Also, you must pay restitution for any damages you cause.
The county attorney might ask for the judge to order you to perform community service hours. If that happens, you must pay a placement fee. The judge will place you into a local community service program. You used to be able to choose where to complete community service hours. However, that is no longer the case.
In light of these possible sanctions, you need to talk to a city of West Des Moines unlawful assembly attorney.
If you cause injury or property damage in Iowa, you must pay victim restitution.
The Court will establish a plan of restitution.
Of course, if you damage property, you have to pay for that property. Also, if you injure someone during unlawful assembly, you must pay their medical bills. What’s more, you must pay fines, civil penalties, and surcharges. Additionally, you may have to:
- Reimburse the crime victim restitution program.
- Contribute funds to a local anticrime organization that helped the police in your case.
- Pay court costs and correctional fees.
- Pay court-appointed attorney fees, including the expense of a public defender.
- Perform public service or community service if you can’t reasonably pay all or part of the court costs
Your payments have to go to the victims’ restitution order first. After that, your payments count toward fines, penalties, surcharges, crime victime compensation program reimbursement, public agency reimbursement, court costs, correctional fees, court-appointed attorney fees, expenses of a public defender, and contributions to local anti-crime organizations.
If the court orders you to pay restitution, your victim may file a restitution lien. Your victim has a right to victim restitution. No matter what restitution the criminal court judge orders, your victim can still sue you. If a victim sues you for damages, then there will be a separate civil action.
Iowa charges related to Unlawful Assembly
You might also face related offenses. Depending on your circumstances, a prosecutor might offer a plea offer. In light of that, your Iowa unlawful assembly attorney can explain the pros and cons of plea offers.
This is similar to riot. To participate in insurrection, there must be a purpose of interfering with, disrupting, or destroying state government or its subdivisions. Insurrection can also mean preventing executive, legislative, or judicial officers from performing their lawful functions.
Failure to Disperse
Depending on the details, assault can be anywhere from a simple misdemeanor to a felony. If you commit a forcible felony with a dangerous weapon, then you will spend at least five years in prison. During that time, you will not be eligible for parole. Iowa Code 902.7.
Criminal mischief is “vandalism.”
Trespass in Iowa could be a simple misdemeanor. Also, it could be a Class D felony . Alternatively, it could be a serious or aggravated misdemeanor. Additionally, prosecutors can enhance trespass charges. One example of an enhancement is a “hate crime.”
Defenses to Unlawful Assembly
The government’s lawyer has to prove you guilty. If they fail, then you will get acquitted. If you’re not guilty, you go home.
Some possible unlawful assembly defenses include:
If your evil twin brother was the one at the riot, you shouldn’t be convicted.
If you can prove that you were somewhere else, then you couldn’t have committed the crime.
Statute of Limitations
With a few exceptions, the statute of limitations is three years for felonies. Also, the statute of limitations is three years for serious misdemeanors and for aggravated misdemeanors. They must file an indictment or trial information within that time. The clock starts running when the offense allegedly happened. (Iowa Code Section 802.3)
Fourth Amendment Search and Seizure
The Fourth Amendment, with some specific and well-delineated exceptions, guards you from warrantless searches and seizures. If your stolen property lawyer can show the court that you were the victim of an illegal search and seizure, the evidence in your case could get suppressed. After suppression, prosecutors often reduce or dismiss charges. Without proof of guilt, there’s no tenable case against you.
Des Moines Criminal Defense Lawyers
Call an Iowa unlawful assembly attorney when you’re facing charges in the city of Des Moines Iowa or near the University of Iowa.
Des Moines unlawful assembly lawyers protect your rights.
This blog post is for informational purposes only. Don’t rely on it as legal advice. It may be out of date. It may not apply to your situation. Reading this site doesn’t make me your lawyer.
Consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. If you want to talk to us about your Iowa domestic assault case, please contact us at (515) 491 6128. We’ll set up a time to talk.
What will happen if I’m charged?
When someone alleges that you participated in a constitutionally unprotected unlawful assembly, law enforcement will start an investigation. Depending on whether they believe there is probable cause to charge you with Iowa unlawful assembly, you could be taken to jail or given documents that say when your court date is. After your arrest, you will be read your rights and given an opportunity to call an unlawful assembly attorney or a law firm.
You will be taken in front of the judge for an initial appearance. The judge will schedule a preliminary hearing. At the preliminary hearing, you or your lawyer will have the opportunity to ask a witness questions to establish whether probable cause exists to charge you with the offense. At this hearing, the witness will be under oath. There are reasons that your attorney might suggest waiving the preliminary hearing. You should consult with them before making a decision.
Your attorney will let you know when you will next have to appear in front of the court. This may be for an arraignment or you may be able to submit a written arraignment.
The county attorney’s office will review the information provided to them by the police. They will determine what offenses to charge you with. For instance, they could charge you with a misdemeanor. Alternatively, they could charge you with a felony.
Your attorney will let you know what the government accused you of. Moreover, they will explain your rights. You also need to know how this could affect your criminal record. In short, they will tell you about the worst case scenario. A criminal lawyer will tell you more about the fines, terms of incarceration, and collateral consequences that might apply.
Your law firm will give you legal advice on the pros and cons of taking your case to trial. The decision of whether or not to go to trial is ultimately yours.
Finally, you can appeal most convictions The court of appeals hears these arguments. So does the Iowa Supreme Court. Because they review legal issues, they might find a constitutional problem. That means that the law can be illegal. Alternatively, the district court might have treated a legal law illegally. However, the right to appeal does not apply to simple misdemeanors. Ask your criminal defense attorney for more information.
What should I know about lawyers generally?
Attorneys completed their bachelor’s or 4-year degrees. Thereafter, they went to law school. One example is Drake University Law School. That school is in Des Moines. Afterward, Iowa lawyers take the bar exam. Thereafter, a committee evaluates their character and fitness. The Iowa State Bar admits Iowa lawyers. The Iowa bar association regulates the legal profession.
Some lawyers and law firms do general practice. In light of that, they accept all kind of representation. In contrast, some lawyers specialize in particular areas of law. For example, a lawyer might do only civil practice. When a lawyer does civil work, they might handle divorces. Additionally, the Iowa lawyer might represent small claims cases. Further, a civil practice lawyer could do personal injury work. In another case, the lawyer might focus on family law or child custody.
Alternatively, some lawyers practice only criminal defense. Some lawyers get even more particular. For instance, a lawyer might take only domestic violence defense. Another lawyer might focus on sex crime, sexual abuse, operating while intoxicated, child endangerment, child abuse, indecent exposure, theft, possession of controlled substances, sex crimes, marijuana, DUI defense, controlled substance offenses, arson, criminal mischief, vehicular homicide, drug offenses, traffic violations, violent crime or drunk driving.
Many Iowa lawyers practice only in Iowa courts. The Iowa Code defines all Iowa crimes. The Iowa rules of criminal procedure control what happens in Iowa criminal justice cases.
Federal court is different. If you are facing federal charges for a federal criminal offense, make sure to let your Iowa lawyer know. Because Iowa federal courts are not state law courts in Iowa, your lawyer might refer you elsewhere. Federal prosecutors and federal judges use different procedural rules. Federal crimes are subject to federal sentencing.
What offenses exist in Iowa criminal law?
Criminal law offenses are misdemeanors or felonies. Class A felonies exist, but most people facing felony charges are facing a class B felony, a class C felony, or a class D felony. If you have questions about Iowa unlawful assembly laws, ask a lawyer.
What can an Iowa unlawful assembly attorney do for me?
When accused, contact an attorney or law firm. Make sure to call one that works with Iowa criminal law.
If there’s a warrant out for your arrest, your Iowa unlawful assembly attorney can help. In that case, you will coordinate with law enforcement. Self-surrender won’t be as embarrassing as public arrest would be.
Your Iowa criminal lawyer will stay in touch with the county attorney’s office. That means they will let the prosecutor know whether you choose to exercise or waive your right to speedy trial. Further, counsel can provide some guidance. For example, you need to know whether it’s a good idea to consider a plea agreement or to go to trial. They will talk to you about whether a judge or jury is likely to find a particular witness credible.
Your criminal lawyer will let you know what sort of jail time you might be facing if convicted. Moreover, they can explain how conviction impacts criminal history. Finally, they can discuss whether or not the prosecutor might dismiss your charges.
Finally, there is a Victim Services Support Program available through the Iowa attorney general’s office.