What is the Defense for Terrorism Accusations?
There is perhaps no criminal offense that the United States government takes more seriously than terrorism. Because of American’s concepts of patriotism combined with a strong culture of fear, it can be difficult for a person who is accused of terrorism to get a fair trial. This is just one of many challenges when defending against accusations of terrorism.
Whether facing federal or state criminal charges for a terroristic act, it is imperative you are represented by a federal terrorism lawyer who understands how to handle these complex cases.
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC. has represented clients facing allegations of involvement in high-profile terrorist attacks. We are here to help whether you have been accused of domestic or international terrorism.
Federal Laws on Terrorism
Most alleged acts of terrorism will result in federal criminal charges. Laws on terrorism at the federal level are found in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 113B. Within this Chapter, both international and domestic terrorism are defined in Section 2331.
International terrorism is defined as:
- Acts of violence or acts dangerous to human life that violate U.S. criminal laws or that would violate U.S. criminal laws if committed within U.S. jurisdiction.
- The acts must be intended to use mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or intimidation and coercion to influence government policy or to affect the public or civilians.
- The acts must transcend national boundaries in terms of who they hope to coerce or intimidate, or the acts must occur outside of the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
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Domestic terrorism is defined as:
- Acts that violate U.S. criminal laws and/or that are dangerous to human life.
- Acts that are intended to use assassination, kidnapping, mass destruction, or intimidation and coercion to influence government policy or civilians.
- The acts must occur primarily within U.S. jurisdiction.
- 18 U.S. Code Section 2332 imposes a penalty of death or life imprisonment for killing a national of the United States who is outside of the country. If the killing is a voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, there are lesser penalties.
- 18 S. Code Section 2332a imposes a penalty of life in prison for using, threatening to use, attempting to use, or conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals abroad or against anyone within the United States. If the offense occurs within the United States, this federal law applies only if interstate commerce was affected in some way by the offense, such as the mail system being used to further the offense or state lines being crossed in furtherance of the offense.
- 18 S. Code Section 2339c imposes a penalty of up to 20 years in prison for directly or indirectly funding terrorism with the knowledge that the money will be used, in full or in part, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian in order to compel government action or intimidate the population.
Federal authorities tend to be very aggressive when charging people who may have some involvement with terrorism.
New York Laws on Terrorism
Article 490 of the New York Penal code establishes the state laws on terrorism offenses. Under the laws of New York, you may be charged with:
- Second degree soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism. Under Penal Code Section 491.10, it is a Class D felony to raise, solicit, collect, or provide any money or materials with the intent that the resources will be wholly or partly used to plan, prepare, carry out, or aid terroristic behavior.
- First degree soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism. Penal Code Section 490.15 indicates that it is a Class C felony to solicit or provide support for an act of terrorism when the total value of the support exceeds $1,000.
- Making a terroristic threat. Penal Code Section 490.20 makes it a Class D felony to threaten to commit an offense and cause a reasonable fear of that offense in order to intimidate or coerce the civilian population or to impact the conduct or policy of government.
- Criminal possession of chemical or biological weapons. You may be charged with first, second or third degree criminal possession of chemical or biological weapons. A First Degree offense is a Class A-1 felony under Penal Code Section 490.45. You may be charged with this offense if you have a chemical or biological agent and you intend to use it to cause injury or death; to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; or to affect a government unit, government agent, government worker, or government policy.
- The criminal use of a chemical or biological weapon. You may also be charged with first, second or third degree criminal use of a chemical or biological weapon. Code Section 490.55 defines the First Degree offense to be a Class A-1 felony. You can be charged with this offense for using, deploying, or releasing a chemical or biological weapon, or causing it to be released. You must act with the intent to cause death or serious injury, or to coerce the civilian population or government agencies and policies.
In some cases, you may be charged with multiple offenses under New York’s terrorism laws and will face penalties for each separate charge. The consequences of conviction are serious, with potential penalties for an A-1 felony including up to life in prison even with no prior offenses. A NYC terrorism lawyer will review your charges and help you to understand the possible outcome if found guilty.
How a New York Terrorism Lawyer Can Help You
A New York terrorist defense lawyer will fight to ensure you get due process of the law. This means being viewed as innocent until proven guilty and getting a fair trial. Your attorney can help you to raise defenses or introduce evidence to make the jury doubt whether you violated state or federal laws prohibiting terrorism. While prosecutors are often not open to leniency for crimes of terrorism, your attorney also may be able to negotiate a plea bargain to limit penalties and consequences of conviction if you do not wish to go to court.
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC. will be there at every step to provide you with legal representation after you are accused of domestic or international terrorism. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.