In recent years, anti-protest laws have been passed in Mississippi. One law passed in June prevents individuals from protesting against oil and gas pipelines, as well as other “critical infrastructure projects.” Those guilty of protesting these projects could face up to seven years in prison. Mississippi is also considering new anti-protest laws, including those which would prevent protestors from blocking traffic, damaging monuments, and more
When protests get out of hand, looting is a common occurrence. This is one of those instances where a “protest” has clearly crossed into the territory of a “riot.” Looting is a serious crime in Mississippi, and it is classified as a felony with a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of a protest, but you should avoid looting at all costs in Mississippi.
First of all, it is important to understand the difference between a protest and a riot. A protest is an organized demonstration of disapproval, while a riot generally involves a disturbance of the peace with violence and overall terror inflicted on members of the public. Federal law makes it illegal to travel across state lines to participate in a riot, and it also bans anyone from inciting or aiding others who want to participate in a riot.
One of the core tenants of any free, democratic nation is the right to protest. Mississippi citizens should always have the freedom to protest and hold lawful assemblies, but they should also be aware of the potential legal consequences if they engage in this behavior. Understanding your rights helps you protest in a safer way without fear of arrest.
However, if you have been arrested after participating in a protest, it is time to get help from a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney. A Mississippi criminal defense attorney can assess your unique situation and recommend the best course of action. The Constitution might give you the right to protest and voice your opinion, but it cannot protect you against certain criminal charges. On the other hand, a skilled lawyer can definitely help you in this situation.