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The Law on Riot and its Punishments in Colorado

If a person participates in lawful protests in Colorado, he/she might find themselves arrested for rioting all of a sudden. Engaging in or inciting a riot is considered a criminal offense in the state with the possibility of being slapped with felony or misdemeanor charges based on whether a weapon was used or not and the kind of actions. Felony charges for being part of a riot can lead to a jail term of two to six years and a maximum fine of 500,000 USD.

Defining a Riot 

Riots are defined as public disturbances that involve at least three people and create damage to property, substantial obstruction to the normal functioning of a government body or a risk of causing injury.

The police may even refer to a group taking part in a peaceful protesting march a riot although there is no danger or threat to property or persons. On the other hand, two or more persons can take leverage of a protest for destroying someone else’s property making the police tag all the participants of a peaceful protest as rioters.

Colorado Riot Law
Rioting offenses in the state of Colorado

The state considers the following acts as an offense of criminal rioting:

  • Refuse to obey the orders of a police officer for dispersal from a riot
  • Participate in a riot
  • Incite a riot; or
  • Arm rioters

Inciting a riot

It is an act of urging some other people to take part in a dangerous or violent public disturbance. An individual is said to have incited a riot when he/she

  • Gives instructions, signals, or commands to at least 5 people to further a riot.
  • Urges or incites a group of at least five people to participate in a riot.

Even though a riot is yet to occur and is simply an impending riot, a person may be charged with trying to incite a conspiracy with other people, soliciting with another individual to incite the riot or incite a riot.

Riot Law Colorado


The state treats the offense of inciting the riot a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishments for the offense are a maximum fine of 5,000 USD and a prison term of 6 months to 18 months.

On the other hand, when someone gets injured or when the property gets damaged because of the offense, the offender may be slapped with charges of a Class 5 felony. The punishments for the felony are a maximum fine of 100,000 USD, compulsory parole of two years, and a jail term of one to three years.

Arming rioters

Although a person does not take an active part in a riot or refrains from inviting other people to riot, he/she can be slapped with the charges of arming rioters in case they furnish weapons to rioters. An individual is said to have committed arming rioters when they supply a destructive device or a deadly weapon to be used in a riot. Arming rioters also refers to teaching a person the use or preparation of a deadly weapon to use it in a riot in Colorado.


The state considers the offense of arming rioters a Class 4 felony. The punishments for the crime include a compulsory parole period of three years, a maximum fine of 500,000 USD, and a maximum jail term of 2 to 6 years in Colorado.

Punishments for engaging in a riot in Colorado

It is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor in Colorado although the defendant did not injure anyone else or no property was damaged. The punishments for engaging in the riot or misdemeanor include a maximum fine of 1,000 USD and a maximum imprisonment term of three to twelve months.

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