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Protester Rights in Arizona

According to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Americans have the right to freedom of speech and peaceful protests, which have been used for decades as a catalyst for change. From participating in marches or sit-ins to boycotting certain products and services, there are many ways to voice grievances about certain issues. 

You have the right to engage in the following actions during a peaceful protest: 

  • Chant, sing, or otherwise display free speech 

  • Display signs 

  • Collect donations and petition signatures 

  • Distribute books, pamphlets, or other forms of literature 

  • Set up a table on a walkway that doesn’t obstruct foot traffic 

In general, you are allowed to protest in public spaces such as streets, sidewalks, parks, plazas, or even in front of government buildings (if you are not disrupting government operations). On the other hand, you cannot protest on private property unless you have the owner’s permission to do so. 

Keep in mind, you may need a permit to protest if it involves a large group of people and the use of amplified sound or public facilities. However, if the government does not like a certain speaker’s or group’s message, they are prohibited from imposing permit restrictions. 

The following are several other limitations of the First Amendment regarding action and speech: 

  • Engaging in civil disobedience or otherwise violating state or federal laws 

  • Inciting imminent violence 

  • Making hateful statements about public officials and obscene speech 

  • Endangering other protesters 

  • Blocking an entrance to a building or physically harassing others 

Law enforcement officials may issue an order to disperse if the there is a government-mandated curfew, the gathering interferes with traffic or the protest is becoming violent and a threat to public safety. Such an order needs to include a clear exit path, a reasonable chance for compliance, and sufficient time to adhere to the order. 

If you are arrested for protesting in Yuma, contact our legal team at Bowman, Smith & Kallen, P.L.L.C. today at (928) 783-8879 for a free consultation. More than 40 years of criminal defense experience!