Crimes for Rioting in Florida
In 2021, the Florida legislature created several new laws related to rioting including:
- Rioting under §870.01, Fla. Stat. (2021);
- Aggravated Rioting under §870.01, Fla. Stat. (2021);
- Inciting a Riot under §870.01, Fla. Stat. under (2021);
- Aggravated Inciting a Riot under §870.01, Fla. Stat. (2021);
- Burglary offenses committed during a Riot or Aggravated Riot under §810.02, Fla. Stat. (2021);
- Theft offenses committed during a Riot or Aggravated Riot under §812.014, Fla. Stat. (2021);
- Unlawful Assembly under §870.02, Fla. Stat. (2021);
- Mob Intimidation under §784.0495, Fla. Stat. (2021); and
- Cyberintimidation by Publication.
Pursuant to Hillsborough County’s Administrative Order S-2021-025 entered on April 20, 2021, if you are arrested for any of these crimes related to riots, you will not be released on a bail bond before your first appearance hearing.
Instead, the judge presiding at the first appearance hearing will determine the appropriate amount of bail bond and conditions of pre-trial release.
Attorney for Rioting Crimes in Tampa, FL
If you were charged with any time of crime involving rioting, inciting a riot, mob intimidation, or unlawful assembly in Florida, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL.
Our four attorneys represent clients charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses related to acts of civil disobedience or protests.
Crimes for Affrays and Riots in Florida
The Florida legislature recently passed legislation that amended existing crimes or created new crimes to prohibit different forms of rioting.
Under the new legislation, a person is guilty of affray under §870.01, Fla. Stat., when the person willfully participates in a violent public disturbance involving an assembly of three or more persons, acting with a common intent to assist each other in violent and disorderly conduct, resulting in:
- injury to another person, damage to property; or
- imminent danger of injury to another person or damage to property.
The punishment for affray carries up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine when the crime is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor.
The crime can also be charged as a more serious felony offense under section 870.01(2). If any person is convicted of inciting or encouraging a riot is guilty of a felony of the third degree, the crime is punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Rioting, or inciting or encouraging a riot, is a Level 3 offense on the Criminal Punishment Code’s offense severity ranking chart. S. 921.0022(3)(c), F.S.
Crimes for Aggravated Rioting in Florida
The new legislation created the offense of aggravated rioting, a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen (15) years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Aggravated rioting is ranked a Level 4 offense on the Criminal Punishment Code’s offense severity ranking chart.
The elements of aggravated rioting, include proof beyond a reasonable doubt that in the course of rioting, the defendant:
- participated with 25 or more other persons;
- caused great bodily harm to a person not participating in the riot;
- caused property damage in excess of $5,000;
- displayed, used, threatened to use, or attempted to use a deadly weapon; or
- by force, or threat of force endangered the safe movement of a vehicle traveling on a public street, highway, or road.
Crimes for Inciting a Riot in Florida
In 2021, the Florida legislature enacted CS/HB 1 which defines the offense of inciting a riot. A person who willfully incites another to participate in a riot, resulting in a riot or an imminent danger of a riot, commits a third degree felony. Inciting a riot continues to be ranked as a Level 3 offense on the Criminal Punishment Code’s offense severity ranking chart (OSRC).
The legislature also created a new offense for aggravated inciting a riot as a second degree felony. Aggravated inciting a riot is ranked as a Level 4 offense on the offense severity ranking chart.
The elements of aggravated inciting a riot require proof beyond all reasonable doubt that the person accused of the crime either:
- incited a riot resulting in:
- Great bodily harm to another person not participating in the riot; or
- Property damage in excess of $5,000; or
- supplied a deadly weapon to another person or teaches another person to prepare a deadly weapon with intent that the deadly weapon be used in a riot for an unlawful purpose.
Crimes for Mob Intimidation in Florida
In 2021, the Florida legislature created a new crime for mob intimidation which is charged as a first degree misdemeanor.
The crime of mob intimidation prohibits any person from assembling with two or more other persons; and acting with a common intent to use force or to threaten to use imminent force; or compel or induce, or attempt to compel or induce, another person to do, or refrain from doing, any act or to assume, abandon, or maintain a particular viewpoint.
Crimes for Obstructing a Roadway in Florida
In 2021, the Florida legislature amended Section 316.2045, F.S., to remove portions held unconstitutional by federal courts while preserving the state interest of keeping roadways safe.
Under the new version of the statute, a person commits a pedestrian violation if he or she willfully obstructs the free, convenient, and normal use of a public street, highway, or road by:
- impeding, hindering, stifling, retarding, or restraining traffic or passage thereon;
- standing on or remaining in the street, highway or road; or
- endangering the safe movement of vehicles or pedestrians traveling thereon.
The statute continues to list an exception for commercial vehicles collecting solid waste and protects a person’s right to obtain a permit from a local government to organize an event such as a parade or a march by specifying that the prohibitions in this section do not prohibit a local governmental entity from issuing a special event permit as authorized by law.
Assault in Furtherance of a Riot or an Aggravated Riot
In 2021, the Florida legislature passed HB 1 – Combatting Public Disorder which impacted Florida Statute 784.011 for assault by increasing the criminal penalty for the crime when committed in furtherance of a riot or an aggravated riot, as follows:
- A person who assaults another in furtherance of a riot or aggravated riot prohibited under 870.01 commits a 1st degree misdemeanor (assault is reclassified from a second degree misdemeanor to a first degree misdemeanor);
- For purposes of sentencing under chapter 921, a violation of this section committed by a person acting in furtherance of a riot or aggravated riot prohibited under 870.01 is ranked one level above the ranking under s. 921.0022 for the offense committed (aggravated assault is re-ranked from a Level 6 to a Level 7 offense on the Criminal Punishment Code’s (CPC) offense severity ranking chart (OSRC)).
Battery in Furtherance of a Riot or an Aggravated Riot
The Florida legislature recently increased the criminal penalty for a battery when committed in furtherance of a riot or an aggravated riot, as follows:
- battery is reclassified from a first degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony and is ranked as a Level 2 offense on the OSRC;
- aggravated battery is re-ranked from a Level 7 to a Level 8 offense on the OSRC;
- battery on a LEO is re-ranked from a Level 4 to a Level 5 offense on the OSRC and a person convicted for the crime must be sentenced to a six-month mandatory minimum sentence.
This article was last updated on Friday, January 7, 2022.