Scrofano Law PC, a premiere criminal defense and civil rights firm in Washington, DC, will be offering pro bono representation to any peaceful protesters arrested during inauguration weekend.
CONTACT US AT 1-866-701-5450 or 202-765-3175
MENTION INAUGURATION PROTESTS
With several large-scale events and planned protests coinciding with Donald Trump’s inauguration weekend, we believe defending the First Amendment is BIGLY important.
As such, we are putting out some helpful information to protesters and offering our services free of charge to anyone arrested for conducting peaceful protest activities that weekend.
The District of Columbia has dozens of law enforcement agencies. Some have made arrests in the past for various non-violent activities and we believe its important to support the First Amendment if any such arrests are made during inauguration weekend.
We urge protesters in the strongest possible terms not to antagonize law enforcement. Know your rights and assert them respectfully and peacefully. Never resist or assault law enforcement. We will not represent protesters who engage in acts of violence or destruction of property pro bono. In the District of Columbia, it may be illegal to resist even an unlawful arrest. If stopped by law enforcement, be respectful, cooperate, and assert your rights:
• Explicitly state: “I am asserting my right to silence”
• Specifically ask: “May I speak to an attorney”
• Understand you may refuse if asked to be searched.
Some potential crimes protesters could be arrested for:
Failure to Obey a Lawful Order
The District of Columbia Municipal Regulation 18-2000.2 provides as follows:
“No person shall fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of any police officer, police cadet, or civilian crossing guard invested by law with authority to direct, control, or regulate traffic. This section shall apply to pedestrians and to the operators of vehicles.”
Penalties for this offense may range from a fine of $100.00 to $1,000.00. You can be arrested for this offense even though it carries no potential jail time.
Incommoding or Blocking Passage
District of Columbia Code § 22-1307 prohibits blocking passage on sidewalks for pedestrians and protesters. A person who violates any provision of the incommoding statute may face a fine and/or be imprisoned for not more than 90 days.
Unlike arrests for crimes like DUI, hit and run, gun offenses, drug offenses, and others arrests in DC, failure to obey a lawful order and incommoding often can be resolved by “post and forfeit” procedure, which does not constitute an admission of guilt or conviction on one’s record. Contact us for more information.
(b) Whoever without justifiable or excusable cause intentionally resists an arrest by an individual who he or she has reason to belief is a law enforcement officer or prevents that individual from making or attempting to make an arrest or detain another person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, shall be imprisoned not more than 6 months or fined not more than the amount set for in § 22-3571.01, or both.
(c) It is neither justifiable nor excusable cause to use force to resist an arrest when such an arrest is made by an individual he or she has reason to believe is a law enforcement officer, whether or not such arrest is lawful.
An arrest for resisting does not have an option for “post and forfeit” and is a more serious offense in the District of Columbia.
The Metropolitan Police Department is the District’s local police agency. It keeps a copy of its Standard Operating Procedures for Handling First Amendment Assemblies and Mass Demonstrations online. These, however, do not apply to other law enforcement agencies like Park Police and the United States Capitol Police.
The American Civil Liberties Union has additional helpful information on knowing your rights online.
Additional inauguration 2017 specific information from the ACLU DC.