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What is the Law on Riot in Alabama and What are the Punishments for it?

A kind of civil order, riot usually refers to a group of people causing a substantial public disturbance against other people, property, or lawful authorities. Typically riots comprise of damage of property, vandalism, and theft. The property damaged due to a riot can be either private or public. Also, the kind of property that is targeted may vary based on the rioters’ inclinations and the riot. Targets of a riot can be state-owned institutions, eateries, religious buildings, cars, and shops. Most of the time, a riot occurs as a result of dissent or a grievance.

While people may try to control or lead a riot, they usually comprise of disorganized groups, which usually exhibit herd and chaotic behavior. Ideally, it is the police that deals with riots deploying techniques that vary from nation to nation. The risk of getting arrested for participating in a riot is more commonplace in comparison to severe penalties.

Alabama Riot Law
According to federal law, a riot has been described as a public disturbance that involves any or more of the following:

  • Acts or an act of violence where at least one person out of a gathering of 3 or more persons whose acts may comprise a present and clear risk of or can lead to injury or damage to a property owned by another person or an injury caused to any other person; or
  • Threats or a threat to commit acts or an act of violence by at least 1 person belonging to an assembly of a minimum of 3 persons, who collectively or individually have the ability to instantly execute such threats or threat and the execution of such acts of violence or the threatened act could lead to injury or damage to the person or the property of another person.

However, it is imperative to note here that every state in the United States of America defines a riot differently.  

Definition of a Riot in Alabama

The state of Alabama defines a riot as follows:

An individual in Alabama is said to have committed the criminal offense of a riot if he/she wrongfully engages in violent and tumultuous conduct with at least five other persons and thus recklessly or intentionally creates or causes a serious risk of public alarm or terror.

Punishment

The state regards a riot as a Class A misdemeanor.

Incite a Riot in Alabama

The phrase “to incite a riot” refers to carry on, participate in, encourage, promote or organize a riot and also comprises while not being limited to instigating or urging other people to participate in a riot and yet means that simply written or oral expression of belief or advocacy of ideas and not constituting acts of violence does not mean that the person is inciting a riot.

In Alabama, a person is said to have committed the criminal offense of inciting to riot when he/she urges, incites, solicits, or commands another individual to engage in violent and tumultuous conduct of a nature that could lead to a serious risk of public alarm or riot.

Alabama Riot Law
Punishment

The state of Alabama considers inciting to riot as a Class A misdemeanor.

Related law: Disorderly Conduct

An individual in Alabama is said to have committed the offense of disorderly conduct when they have an intention to create public alarm, annoyance, or inconvenience or recklessly creates a risk by doing any of these activities:

  • Makes an unreasonably loud noise.
  • Gets involved in threatening or violent tumultuous behavior, or fighting.
  • Uses obscene or abusive language in a public site or gestures in an obscene manner.
  • Disturbs any lawful meeting or assembly of people without legal authority.
  • Gathers with other individuals in a public location and disagrees to adhere to the legal order of dispersal.
  • Obstructs a transportation facility or pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

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