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Inciting a Riot Laws (PC 404, PC 404.6) in California

PC 404.6: Inciting a Riot

Legal Definition: Any use of force or violence, disturbing the public peace, or any threat to use force or violence, if accompanied by the immediate power of execution, by two or more persons acting together, and without the authority of law, is a riot (PC 404(a)).

Every person who with the intent to cause a riot does an act or engages in conduct that urges a riot, or urges others to commit acts of force or violence, or the burning or destroying of property, and at a time and place and under circumstances that produce a clear and present and immediate danger of acts of force or violence or the burning or destroying of property, is guilty of incitement to riot. (PC 404.6(a)).

For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 404.6, the prosecution must prove the following:

1. You did an act or engaged in conduct that encouraged a riot/urged others to commit acts of force or violence/urged others to burn or destroy property;

2. You acted at a time and place and under circumstances that produced a clear, present, and immediate danger that a riot would occur/acts of force or violence would happen/property would be burned or destroyed;


3. When you acted, you intended to cause a riot.

What does this mean?

Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. A riot occurs when two or more people, acting together and without legal authority, disturb the public peace by using force or violence or by threatening to use force or violence with the immediate ability to carry out those threats. To be guilty of inciting a riot, you must urge others to commit acts of force or property destruction. It is not enough that you’re simply present at the time a riot is already, or about to occur.

It is also not enough to simply be participating in the riot, such as throwing items at police or causing damage. Being a simple participant does not meet the elements of “urging” others to commit a riot. However, it is also not a defense if you intended to incite a riot, but a riot did not occur, or you failed to achieve your goal. It is enough to show here that you intended to incite a riot.


A violation under PC 404 (rioting) or PC 404.6 (inciting a riot) is a misdemeanor offense. If you are found guilty under any of these sections, you could be sentenced to up to one year’s days in County Jail. You would be required to serve 50% of that sentence. In addition to jail time, you could be subject to harsh probation terms, fines and fees, and paying for any damages for your rioting. You could also be subjected to Stay Away Orders from the Court, not allowing you to return back to the place, even if it is a business, in the future.

This is not a strike under the Three Strike’s Law. It is also not a crime of moral turpitude, but people in the United States on a temporary basis, or people with a professional license, can be looked down upon for a conviction under this section.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Mistake of Fact
  4. Coerced Confessions

You cannot commit an act of rioting or inciting a riot by yourself. If you are in a room, by yourself there is no possibility a riot could start; simply because there are no other people. Understand also that a riot is different than something like a peaceful protest. There, you are peacefully demonstrating your disapproval of something or person. Rioting involves an aspect of danger, violence, burned or flipped over cars, or damage to shops.

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The repercussions of a criminal conviction extend far beyond the courtroom, potentially impacting every facet of your life from education and employment to your overall earning potential. The prospect of incarceration, coupled with substantial fines and the need to explain criminal records to future employers—especially charges as serious as rioting or inciting a riot—underscores the importance of a strategic and robust legal defense.

At Inland Empire Criminal Defense, our expertise in handling cases related to rioting and incitement under PC 404 and PC 404.6 is unparalleled. Our Ontario-based attorneys have a commendable track record of successfully defending clients against these charges, employing a deep understanding of the law to dismantle the prosecution’s case and safeguard your future.

Why Trust Inland Empire Criminal Defense for PC 404 and 404.6 Charges?

  • Focused Legal Expertise: Our attorneys specialize in rioting and incitement charges under PC 404 and PC 404.6, ensuring your defense is informed by specific legal knowledge and experience.
  • Proven Defense Strategies: With numerous successful defenses to our credit, we leverage our understanding of these cases to challenge the elements of the crime effectively and expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s arguments.
  • Comprehensive Support: Recognizing the significant stress and uncertainty that come with facing criminal charges, we offer 24/7 availability to answer your questions and provide the guidance and reassurance you need.

Start Building Your Defense Today

Facing charges of rioting or inciting a riot under PC 404 and PC 404.6 requires immediate, informed, and determined legal action. Inland Empire Criminal Defense, situated in Ontario, CA, is prepared to offer the experienced and specialized legal representation necessary to confront these serious allegations head-on.

Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense Today

If you or a loved one is facing rioting or incitement charges under PC 404 or PC 404.6, don’t hesitate to reach out for expert legal assistance. Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense at 909-939-7126 for a complimentary initial consultation. Our team, based in Ontario, is dedicated to providing the strategic defense and support you need to navigate through this challenging period and protect your future. Let our expertise and commitment serve as your advantage.

Frequently Asked Questions

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We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

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Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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