As an American, you want to know that your right to protest is being upheld. In a democratic nation, concerned citizens have the right to take to the streets and make their voices heard. When governments stop their citizens from protesting, it is no longer a fair and open society. But what happens when protests become violent? When are the authorities justified in shutting down these protests, and where exactly do we draw the line?
If you have been charged with violence during a political protest, it is important to enlist the help of a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer will help you fight for your rights, and they can help you mitigate any legal consequences you might be facing. With the help of a skilled lawyer, you can avoid harsh penalties for simply exercising your freedom of expression.
Is COVID-19 Being Used as an Excuse to Take Away Our Right to Protest?
Across the United States, there is a growing concern that COVID-19 is being used as an excuse to take away our rights. Human Rights Watch has reported that governments across the world are no longer guaranteeing citizens’ rights to protest. Many nations have taken away the right to protest, especially if these individuals are protesting about the way their country is handling the pandemic. The exact response to this issue varies from state to state in America, but it is certainly a concern here in the United States.
Georgia Protest Laws Being Altered
In February of 2021, Georgia introduced Senate Bill 171. This bill would essentially make it a felony to commit acts of violence during a protest. These acts might include blocking a highway, committing property damage, and other things of that nature. In addition, local municipalities who explicitly order their law enforcement officials not to intervene in these protests could open themselves up to civil lawsuits from citizens who suffered property damage as a result of the protests. Finally, local municipalities that cut funding to law enforcement by more than 30% would have state funding withheld. Essentially, this bill would redefine what constitutes a “peaceful protest.”
It is important to understand these potential changes, especially if you plan on attending protests in the future. In the past, acts like setting fire to cars or throwing objects at police officers might have gone essentially unpunished. Today, protestors in Georgia may no longer enjoy the same types of freedom given to activists in the past.
Enlist the Help of a Criminal Defense Attorney in Georgia Today
If you have been searching Georgia for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney, look no further than Lankford & Moore Law. We have been fighting for the rights of various individuals for many years, and we can help you avoid unnecessary jail time or fines. With the passing of new legislation in Georgia, penalties for violent protests are more serious than ever before. Do not make the mistake of thinking you will “get off easy.” Make sure you have the assistance of a skilled attorney, and this situation will be much easier to resolve.