Read the riot act
These days, to read somebody the riot act is to scold or warn them to modify their behaviour and this figurative usage and meaning dates from the early 19th century. Back in 1715, however, when the original Riot Act was passed in Britain, it was a far more serious matter. It was the time of the Jacobite conspiracies and rebellions and The Riot Act was put in place to deny the right of assembly to groups of more than 12 persons meeting for more than one hour. The penalties for not obeying The Riot Act in those days were severe, including penal servitude with hard labour.