Arizona governor Doug Ducey initiated a mandatory curfew for the state of Arizona in response to the unrest among citizens and subsequent riots and looting following the tragic death of George Floyd. 

Following peaceful, lawful protests in Phoenix on May 28th through 30th, some citizens escalated the demonstration, resulting in damage to police vehicles, federal buildings, local businesses, police officers, and citizens. 

The Declaration of Emergency was announced on Sunday, May 31st, 2020, requiring that citizens across the entire state of Arizona abide by the stated rules—including a mandatory curfew. 

Such an action is sanctioned by the Arizona Statutes. The purposes of the declaration and subsequent rules are protecting citizens, maintaining order, and balancing the rights of all individuals. 

To protect yourself and your freedom, it’s important to understand all of the rules currently in place, and to know how to respond if you are detained while involved in these banned activities. 

Key Rules for Arizona’s Declaration of Emergency 

The limited curfew is in order from Sunday, May 31st to Monday, June 8, though the end date may be updated if necessary. Here’s more detail on the rules:

  1. The limited curfew applies from 8:00 PM until 5:00 AM.
  1. During the stated curfew dates and hours, citizens are prohibited from “using, standing, sitting, traveling, or being present on any public street or in any public place.” This includes use for the purpose of travel. Citizens will still be held in breach of the rules if they are traveling on the streets with a purpose that does not involve protesting/rioting/etc.
  2. Violation of the Curfew will result in a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to six (6) months in jail and a fine of $2,500. 

Permitted Exclusions from the Curfew:

  • Traveling to and from work
  • Attending religious services
  • Commercial trucking and delivery services
  • Caring for a family member, friend, or animal
  • Patronizing a private business
  • Seeking medical care
  • Obtaining food
  • Fleeing dangerous circumstances

Banned travel during curfew includes travel by:

  • Foot
  • Bicycle
  • Skateboard
  • Scooter
  • Motorcycle
  • Automobile
  • Public transit, etc.

Banned public places include:

  • Public streets and roads
  • Alleys
  • Highways
  • Driveways
  • Sidewalks
  • Parks
  • Vacant lots
  • Includes any property privately or publicly owned that is accessible to the general public

Citizens are permitted to move freely during non-curfew hours (5:00 AM-8:00 PM). The number of police officers and state troopers patrolling the state has been increased. Additionally, Arizona has permitted National Guard members to patrol and enforce the curfew. The increased number of active officers is for the protection of citizens. 

Protesting from May 31st through June 8th

Protesting is legal. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right protected by the U.S. Constitution. Arizona citizens are encouraged to participate in peaceful protests. However, the right to protest has been limited by the emergency curfew. 

Protests must take place during hours outside of the curfew, 5:00 AM-8:00 PM. Remember to allow yourself sufficient time to arrive home by 8:00 PM. 

What to Do if You are Caught Breaking Curfew

During this time of heightened concern and awareness, it is important to make smart decisions. 

1. Cooperate with the Officers

Be aware that officers are permitted to use, and have utilized, additional measures for dealing with truants. This includes tear gas, rubber bullets, and restraints. Further, failure to cooperate can result in a resisting arrest charge, a class 6 felony.

2. Provide Your Reason for Being Out During Curfew

While you have the right to remain silent, if you believe you have a legitimate permitted reason for being out during curfew, it would be wise to share this with the officers. If you have been engaging in non-sanctioned curfew activities, consider utilizing your right to remain silent.

3. Call an Attorney

If you are arrested for breaking curfew, it is critical to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side to protect you and ensure you are not wrongfully charged or mistreated. 

Criminal Actions During Protests/Riots

The rioting and looting leading to the curfew have serious criminal ramifications. While many citizens are acting in outrage to the injustices being perpetrated by state governments and police departments, a worthy and legitimate cause, it does not excuse them from abiding by the laws. Citizens caught breaking Arizona laws will be prosecuted. 

Criminal Damage 

Public and private property has been damaged during the riots and looting over the past few days. These actions are illegal and come with serious consequences. A criminal damage charge in Arizona is a class 6 felony. 

Numerous factors are considered in a criminal damage charge:

  • damaged or defaced property
  • tampering with or impairing value or function of another’s property
  • drawing a symbol, sign, slogan, or message on a private or public building without permission

Property does not have to be significantly damaged for someone to be guilty of criminal damage. 

A criminal defense attorney can help you avoid an unwarranted criminal damage charge. The actions must have been reckless and caused some form of actual damage. Criminal damage charges are commonly added onto theft charges.

An experienced attorney can assist you in developing a strategy to minimize your charges or have them dismissed completely. If you have been arrested for criminal damage, contact us today at (480) 818-9943.

Disorderly Conduct 

Breaching curfew can additionally result in a disorderly conduct charge. Disorderly conduct is a class 1 misdemeanor, with penalties of up to six (6) months in jail, $2,500 fine, and probation. Disorderly conduct is one of the most common charges due to its broad nature. Many actions that citizens may feel are justified could be deemed disorderly conduct. This includes: 

  • refusing to disperse or loitering
  • disturbing or preventing others from conducting processes
  • using offensive language and gestures
  • making unreasonable noise
  • fighting
  • dangerous behavior

The actions of those involved in the riots and looting clearly fit within these broad regulations. A skilled criminal defense attorney can assist you in minimizing your penalties for a disorderly conduct charge and help you avoid jail time. If you are facing a disorderly conduct charge, contact us today at (480) 818-9943.

Criminal Trespass

The riots and looting have resulted in citizens entering public and private property without permission. These actions warrant a criminal trespass charge. 

Criminal trespassing can be a serious charge, depending on the severity of the circumstances. Criminal trespass has three degrees or levels of infraction, which range in penalties. Based on the specific circumstances, the charge can result in a misdemeanor or felony charge. The result of such charges include up to 18 months in jail and a fine of $150,000.

Due to the complexities of the different degrees and their corresponding penalties, it is crucial to have effective criminal defense attorney representation. If you are charged with criminal trespass, call us today at (480) 818-9943.

It is necessary to understand Arizona laws and how they correspond with your rights. Citizens must abide by the curfew and continue to respect the laws that govern our state and protect its citizens.

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