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PC 405a: Taking a Person from Custody by a Riot

Legal Definition: “A person who participates in the taking by means of a riot of another person from the lawful custody of a peace officer is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment…”

To be found guilty under PC 405a the prosecution must prove that you intentionally:

  1. You participated in a riot


  1. The purpose of your rioting was to take or remove a person from lawful police custody.

What does this mean?

A riot occurs when a minimum of two individuals employ force or violence to disrupt public order or pose a credible threat of force. It should be noted that not only the individuals involved in removing someone from police custody, but also the person being removed, if they influence or provoke the removal, can be held accountable for this offense. The knowledge of whether the person in custody was lawfully detained is considered irrelevant, as long as it can be demonstrated that the person was under lawful custody before being removed.

For instance, if a person or a group of people is apprehended during a riot, and you and others attempt to obstruct law enforcement in order to free those who were arrested, you would be in violation of this provision. Likewise, if you are the person in custody and request assistance, you would also be considered liable under this section. Our extensive experience, expertise, and authority in legal matters guide us to assert these circumstances with utmost trustworthiness.


A violation under PC 405a is a felony offense in California. This means you cannot receive a misdemeanor plea bargain if you are convicted by this charge. If convicted, you could be sentenced to State Prison for up to 2, 3, or 4 years. You would have to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. Also, as a felony offense, you would lose voting rights, as well as your 2nd Amendment right to own or possess a firearm for life. You could also be fined up to $10,000.

This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you could face deportation in Immigration Court since the offense could be considered an aggravated felony.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence
  4. Coerced Confessions

Generally speaking, a person who confesses to a crime that is forced out of them by police conduct, it would be inadmissible to be used against them in Court. This makes logical sense, if the police force a confession out of a person illegally, it should not be able to be brought into Court to be used against them. Generally, this can happen during police interrogations where police, believing they have their person, do whatever it takes to make you confess. They can do this through physical abuse or psychological abuse. If the police force your admission to commit a violation under this section, your confession can likely be suppressed through your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney.

If there is no riot, then there is no violation under this section. Remember, you need two to tango, and also need at least two to riot. If you act alone, you cannot possibly be rioting. Failing to show that there is a riot going on, would make the charges against you for this section fail. A DA being unable to show the necessary element that there was a riot, would act as a defense, since there would be insufficient evidence to find you guilty of this charge.

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Facing felony charges, such as those under PC 405, is a serious matter that can dramatically alter your life, influencing your employment, job stability, and financial well-being. These charges should never be taken lightly, as they carry the potential for lasting consequences. However, it is crucial to remember that these charges are not definitive and can be vigorously defended against.

With the right legal counsel, there is a viable pathway to negotiate a reduction of charges and possibly avoid both custody and a felony conviction on your record. The expertise and strategic approach of your attorney in these situations cannot be overstated.

At Inland Empire Defense, our Ontario PC 405 attorney is renowned for their extensive experience and success in defending against PC 405a cases. We understand the gravity of your situation and are committed to providing you with the most robust defense possible.

If you’re dealing with such charges, don’t delay in securing the legal support you need. Contact your local Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Defense Attorney at Inland Empire Defense at 909-281-0391. You can trust that you are in capable hands with our team. Our office, located conveniently in Ontario, is ready to help guide you through this challenging process.

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Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

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