Law Offices of Steven P. Berne
Federal Defense
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What does “Inciting a Riot” mean in Georgia?

Many people are unsure of the differences between affray, riots, and inciting a riot in Georgia. All of these crimes are a disturbance of the peace, but they are all different. It is important to know the subtle distinctions between each crime. All of them are charged as misdemeanors in Georgia. 

Georgia Law O.C.G.A. § 16-11-31 reads as follows:

The offense of inciting to riot occurs when a person who with intent to riot does an act or engages in conduct which urges, counsels, or advises others to riot, at a time and place and under circumstances which produce a clear and present danger of a riot.

There are three essential elements of inciting to riot:

  1. Engaging in conduct which urges, counsels, or advises others to riot
  2. With intent to riot, and
  3. At a time and place and under circumstances which produce a clear and present danger of a riot.

Georgia Case Law

An example of inciting to riot can be found in the case of Powell v. State. Powell was upset at a girl for denying to sleep with him, so he encouraged another woman to confront her. He encouraged the fight and yelled, “don’t stop the fight.” He also shoved and bullied people that were trying to break up the fight. The Court found there was sufficient evidence that Powell intentionally urged, counseled, or advised others to riot. 218 Ga. App. 556, (1995).

The Penalty for Inciting a Riot in Georgia

A person convicted of inciting to riot will be guilty of a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor convictions in Georgia come with a maximum of one year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, or both. Even though a misdemeanor may seem like a minor blemish on your record, you should still seek experienced representation. We can help get you a reduced sentence and keep a conviction from going on your criminal history.

Georgia Defenses to Inciting a Riot

There are always defenses we can use to defend your case. Evidence that you were coerced in acting such a way would be helpful to your situation. In addition, proof that your conduct did not amount to urging, counseling, or advising others to riot would also be beneficial.

Lastly, the accused must have had the intent to incite a riot. We can help demonstrate that you did not have the intent to start a riot and that it was instead a misunderstanding.

Every situation is different and there is no defense that fits every situation. We investigate very detail of your case and then build your defense.

Locations We Serve

Law Offices of Steven P. Berne is located in Atlanta, and serves clients in federal courts throughout the United States and all Georgia cities and counties, including in and around Decatur, Atlanta, Lawrenceville, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Stone Mountain, Tucker, Smyrna, Jonesboro, Marietta, Mableton, Forest Park, Duluth, Norcross, Austell, Cherokee County, Clayton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Douglas County, Fayette County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County and Rockdale County.

Law Offices of Steven P. Berne

1441 Dunwoody Village Parkway, Suite 100
Atlanta, Georgia 30338


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