There have been a lot of protests in New York City recently. Maybe you have already participated in some or are thinking about joining the next one. Whether you protest against police brutality, a decision by the President on immigration or something else, you should know your rights and what to do if things get ugly.
Even during peaceful demonstrations, it is possible that you can face arrest. Here is a guide for protesting lawfully and what to do if you end up under arrest.
First, you should do some research before the protest takes place. If you are taking part in a coordinated action, find out if the organizer has already obtained permits and what the parameters for the permits are. You should also figure out what actions may lead to legal trouble. Blocking streets, trespassing on private property or failing to comply with lawful orders from police officers can often lead to arrests during protests, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights.
If an officer starts putting you under arrest, resist the temptation to fight back. Do not make things worse, even if you believe the arrest is wrongful. If the police arrest you, they will likely handcuff you, search you and transport you to jail. You might spend a few hours, a night or even a few days in jail before a court hearing.
Get legal help
The best way to challenge excessive force or a false arrest is in court with the help of a lawyer. Avoid the urge to talk about the situation to inmates or police officers. You may not even receive criminal charges. In any case, an attorney can help get you out of jail and defend against any charges you may face.
As arrest is a possibility during acts of civil disobedience, make sure you are prepared if this happens to you.