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Riot and Public Disorder in Iowa

What is a riot?

Iowa Code Section 723.1 defines a riot as “three or more persons assembled together in a violent manner, to the disturbance of others, and with any unlawful force or violence by them or any of them against another person, or causing property damage.” In Iowa, rioting is an aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $6,250.

Iowa Code Chapter 723 also includes several other crimes similar to rioting, such as:

  • unlawful assembly,
  • failure to disperse,
  • and disorderly conduct.

Each of these crimes is only a simple misdemeanor, and a much less serious charge than riot. Simple misdemeanors are only punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $625 fine. In fact, a lot of the time a simple misdemeanor sentence is only a fine of $65. That’s a huge difference from an aggravated misdemeanor with two years in prison.

What should I do if I’ve been charged with rioting?

First of all, assert your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and ask to speak with an attorney immediately. In any case, what you say to the police immediately after you are arrested will make or break the outcome, so keep your mouth shut. Don’t say anything beyond what’s required, like giving your name, address, etc.

Because riots involve large groups, the police often charge people with the crime en masse. As your attorneys, we can help you by investigating the facts of why you were arrested. Just because you were part of the crowd doesn’t mean you committed the crime. Charges of riot oftentimes sweep up a lot of people who are innocent, or only guilty of a lesser crime. You don’t deserve to be convicted of a riot for someone else breaking a window.

If you’ve been charged with rioting, disorderly conduct, or any other crime, give Stowers & Sarcone a call today at 515-224-7446! Let us help you in standing up for your cause and freedom of speech!

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