Riot Law and Legal Definition

A riot occurs when a defined number of people, usually a minimum of three, intentionally or recklessly causes or creates a grave risk of public terror or alarm. A person commits the crime of inciting to riot if he commands, solicits, incites or urges another person to engage in tumultuous and violent conduct of a kind likely to cause or create a grave risk of public terror or alarm. Riots disturb public peace and safety and require police action.

A person may be often arrested for rioting after being informed by police officers that they are participating in an unlawful assembly and are ordered to disperse. If the crowd does not disperse, its members become subject to arrest for the crime of rioting, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest or other crimes.