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5 More Tips for Protesting (Legally)

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

In the wake of mass demonstrations during the 2016 Republican National Convention, we prepared a little primer on protest related laws. And after the tragic and horrifying events in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, we thought it might be time to round up some more questions, answers, and tips for keeping your protest activities legal.

So here are five more legal aspects to protests and public demonstrations to consider before taking it to the streets.

Any time you get a large enough group together, there's going to be some people in the streets. And many public demonstrations are marches, specifically designed to mobilize protesters on the road. But are these traffic disruptions legal? And can police use traffic laws to shut down un-permitted protests and marches?

2. Is It Illegal to Record Police Without Telling Them Why?

In often chaotic political clashes, video is king. In some cases, perhaps someone recording the police at a protest is hoping to deter or record police brutality. In other cases, video can capture acts of violence against police. And, in some jurisdictions, you may have to announce your reasoning behind the recording.

If demonstrations get out of hand, police need effective, non-lethal means of dispersing the crowd. But are 120-decibel sound cannons that can cause nausea, migraines, ringing ears, and hearing problems really the best (or legal) alternative?

4. 7 Facts About Criminal Law Every College Student Should Know

Colleges and universities have long been the epicenter for political protests. But does the law regarding public demonstrations change on campus? Does it matter if the school is private or public? And what if campus police are involved?

5. Arrested for Resisting Arrest: What You Need to Know

Perhaps the most important thing to remember at a protest is that if you refuse to obey police orders, you risk getting arrested. And resisting arrest can be a distinct offense in and of itself.

If you've been arrested at a protest -- or are just trying to make sure you avoid that fate -- call an experienced civil rights attorney today.

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