Penal Code 403 PC
PC 403 – Disturbing a Public Meeting
Disturbing a Public Meeting – Table of Contents
It is unlawful to willfully disturbs or breaks up any lawful public assembly or meeting.
What is a public meeting versus a public assembly as defined under PC 403?
A public meeting or public assembly congregates in public for a public question. A public question concerns an issue affecting the public and community at large. An assembly congregates informally for a public question. A meeting congregates formally for a public question with an agenda. An illustration of a public question that assembles is a group of several families showing up with a radio and banners in a park, with several friends, to promote the registration of more students in their school district by handing out fliers and t-shirts. A meeting would be, a local congress man, sending out emails to residents to meet the same park, to BBQ and help the registration of more students at their school district- the email should have an agenda with topics of discussion, and explain how people can help register students or promote the agenda.
What is not designated as a public meeting under Penal Code 403 PC?
Assemblies and meetings that do not qualify under Penal Code 403 PC are meetings or assemblies where electors, and electees congregate to further the electoral process or those that concern a place of worship or method of worship.
What is the mental state required for a violation of Penal Code 403 PC?
The mental state required for a violation of Penal Code 403 PC is Willfully. The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused wanted to disturb a public meeting or public assembly on purpose; knew the disturbance was against the law; and disregard the completion of the disturbance for the result of affecting the peace and enjoyment of the public meeting or public assembly. As applied to Penal Code 403 PC, the State must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused intentionally committed the acts that violated the purpose of the public meeting or assembly; the accused knew or reasonably should have known that his acts would violate the purpose; that the acts substantially interfered with the conduct of the meeting or assembly.
What is defined as a disturbance for a violation of Penal Code 403 PC?
The disturbance must substantially impair the purpose or function of the public assembly or meeting. The actual impact of the misconduct on the course of the meeting or assembly is the question to be proved, beyond a reasonable doubt by the State. The reaction of the attendees is not so much important is the disruption of the concreate purpose of the meeting or assembly. If the purpose of the meeting, the facilitation, the speech, celebration, and overall communication of the larger group is stalled, then a disturbance is defined as it substantially impairs the meeting’s purpose.
A violation of Penal Code 403 PC is a misdemeanor. Punishment includes confinement not exceeding 1 year in jail with fines not exceeding $1,000 dollars.
What is an example of a violation of Penal Code 403 PC?
- Dumas did not like that the Angeles Softball League took up the last slot to BBQ in the park. He wanted to BBQ to promote his car service. During the League BBQ he drove up in his cars and blasted music to the point that no one could her each other speak nor hear the chairperson of the League make the points on her agenda. After 15 minutes of trying to get him to lower the music some of the parents called the police. Dumas was arrested.
- Sara was driving by a school car wash after going to the grocery store. She was with her 19-year-old daughter. The carwash was to benefit the scholarship programs for the local college. The young women there were her daughters age and were dressed in revealing cut skimpy jean shorts and bikini tops and using roller stakes as a means for movement to wash the cars. Several notable actors showed up to get their car washed and get photos with the young women. Because of the celebrity occasion several Sherriff personnel were present. Sara was upset because she felt this was a poor demonstration of morals. She stopped her car, took out the 3 dozen eggs she purchased from the grocery store and started throwing them at the girls, the cars, and actors. The Sheriffs detained Sara. Sara was arrested.
- Mistake in Law –
a) There is no agenda or law purpose concerning a public need or concern for the statute to apply.
b) The meeting and or assembly was for the electoral process or one for a religious vocation or purpose.
- Mistake in Fact – The accused in fact intended to disrupt the meeting or assembly but the act did not substantially impair the objective of the meetings or assembly’s purpose.
- Diminished Capacity
If you are charged with a violation of Penal Code 403 PC, call The Esfandi Law Group, APLC. Contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Seppi Esfandi, principal attorney of The Esfandi Law Group, APLC.
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