The Occupy D.C. protest movement is still going strong, even though news reports have faded off in recent months.
As the news agencies turn their attention toward the political season, the Occupy movement has lost some steam in news coverage, but not in effort. There are still many people in many cities who are trying to make a difference and improve our country. Yet, for many people, these protests have led to legal problems.
Washington D.C. criminal defense lawyers have scoffed at the way city leaders and police have treated these people -- the same people whose rights they are sworn to uphold. Some have been beaten and others have simply been treated unfairly. Many cases have involved juveniles charges in Washington D.C., while others are young adults in or just out of college.
According to a recent story by Agence France-Presse, protesters have said the movement "will never die," vowing to ensure the people in power still feel their pressure.
Some protesters have said that if city officials attempt to evict them from encampments, they will simply grow, as it will show that authorities are trying to abuse their power. Outrage over economic inequities and power over everyday citizens is what has led the protests to go strong now since October.
Groups have since grown to Occupy DC, Occupy Washington and Occupy Congress, among others. Groups are still trying to remain strong despite city leaders trying to evict protest camps nationwide.
While eviction is a major concern for protesters, it isn't the only issue they face. Criminal charges have been been levied against Occupy protesters in D.C. and in other cities across the nation. This is another tactic that police and others have used as a way to intimidate people into leaving.
While this may cause the movement to expand, it also has worked to disrupt many lives. While a majority of the charges have been misdemeanor charges in Washington D.C., they still can cause major problems. A criminal record for a high school student trying to get into college can be devastating. A college graduate who is trying to make their voice heard could end up with fewer job and career prospects if they are arrested and convicted.
That's why fighting these charges, regardless of how minor they may seem, is important. Job applications often ask about convictions, even for misdemeanor charges. If a person answers yes, they could end up being eliminated from many job opportunities or promotion chances.
While the movement is powerful and necessary, the protesters themselves must ensure that they have sound legal representation if they are in trouble with the law. Peaceful protests are allowed by law and law enforcement should respect that. Many of the arrests made have been on false pretenses and can be cleared up by prosecutors dropping the cases.
But even an arrest can be damaging and police are using their power to intimidate, in many cases. Make sure your voice is heard and you protest peacefully. But if officers trying to break it up through unlawful arrests, contact an experienced Washington D.C. criminal defense lawyer immediately. You have rights and they must be respected.