Legal


7
Important Things To Know If You Are Contemplating Risking Arrest


    If you intend to risk arrest, you must attend a training on either November 2 or on the evening before the first morning you will be participating in the action at FERC. What follows is no substitute for that, but is merely provided to help you make the best, most informed decision about your participation.

    1. If you join the action and block access to the FERC building, you may be arrested. There will be three warnings given by the police to move away from the area before any arrests are made. You can heed these warnings and move away at any time up until just after the third warning. If you choose to remain anyway, the area will be cordoned off and you will not be allowed to go (i.e., you will be under arrest and will leave in handcuffs).
 
    2. We have secured the services of an experienced lawyer to advise us prior to the action, to be present during the action, and to shepherd us through the legal system if necessary in the most simple and direct way possible. There should be no added cost to you as a participant for this representation, though donations to coverage the overall costs of this initiative are needed and welcome.

    3. There may be costs to you, however, depending on the outcome of the cases. Without going into great detail about the various scenarios which exist, the cost to you could range from $0 to $500 or a little more. It's highly unlikely that any of us will see penalties at the top of that range, but it pays to be prepared. 
   
   4.  At the July 14th civil disobedience action at FERC, the 25 people arrested all were processed by the police a couple blocks away from FERC and given a $50 ticket, which had to be paid in person at a local DC police station. This could be what happens November 3-7, but it is not guaranteed.
 
    5. If we are charged and given a court date, it will be necessary to appear, but our lawyer will investigate whether or not each of us is eligible for diversion (community service). In general, the less you have previously run afoul of the law, the more eligible you are. If you qualify for diversion--and you likely will if this is your first arrest--then after a certain period of time (often six months), the case will be dismissed as long as you have not gotten into further legal trouble.

    6. If you have an extensive record of convictions from prior actions (or otherwise), you could possibly be disqualified from diversion and you may be more exposed to the higher end of the monetary penalties. It should go without saying that if you have outstanding warrants, are currently serving parole, or you have immigration status issues, then there may be better avenues for you for taking action on climate than risking arrest at this time.
 
    7. You must be prepared to assume the cost of any penalties arising from the action, although the organizers of this action are prepared to help you raise money from people you know to cover those costs. This could mean $0, but it could mean $100 or more. There are also travel costs to consider should it be necessary to return to court.



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