Federal Defense Attorney Explains Biological Weapons Crimes
Biological weapons are considered to be extremely dangerous and the consequences of involvement with biological weapons can be very serious. Involvement with biological weapons is strictly prohibited and those who engage with prohibited biological weapons in any way, including facilitating others in their endeavors with these types of weapons, can expect to face criminal charges and very serious penalties upon conviction.
Cases involving biological weapons are very complicated, and many attorneys do not have the background or knowledge to provide representation to defendants accused of offenses involving these serious weapons.
You need to ensure you have a legal advocate who understands the law, who has experience providing defenses to individuals accused of similar crimes, and who is fully prepared to put together the best possible defense.
Federal Laws on Crimes Involving Biological Weapons
18 U.S. Code Chapter 10 is the part of the federal code that deals with criminal conduct in connection with biological weapons. There are seven statutes within this section that relate to crimes related to biological weapons:
18 U.S. Code section 175 establishes what types of conduct are prohibited in connection with biological weapons. According to the statute, knowingly developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, acquiring, retaining or possessing any biological toxin, agent, or delivery system for a biological weapon is unlawful. It is also unlawful to knowingly assist a foreign state or any organization to obtain, develop, or otherwise interact with a biological weapon. Even conspiring with, threatening to, or attempting to become involved with a biological weapon or to help a foreign entity become involved with such a weapon can be grounds for charges. The consequences of conviction can include life imprisonment and there is extraterritorial jurisdiction if someone commits this offense who is a U.S. national outside of the country or if someone commits this offense against a U.S. national.
18 U.S. Code section 175a gives the attorney general the authority to request that the Secretary of Defense provide assistance in response to an emergency situation related to a biological weapon.
18 U.S. Code section 175b prohibits restricted persons from shipping or transporting biological toxins or agents in interstate commerce. Restricted persons are also prohibited from receiving biological toxins. Transfers to unregistered persons or possessing biological agents you are not registered to possess can also result in charges. Restricted persons who are prohibited from shipping, transporting, or receiving biological agents include individuals with certain types of criminal records.
18 U.S. Code section 175c specifically prohibits receiving, transporting, possessing, importing, exporting, or using Variola virus. Penalties for violating this statute could include a fine up to $2 million and a minimum term of imprisonment of 25 years. The maximum term of imprisonment is life in prison. If anyone dies as a result of a violation of laws prohibiting involvement with Variola virus, then the penalty to be imposed is life imprisonment if a defendant is convicted of violating 18 U.S. Code section 175c.
18 U.S. Code section 176 establishes the law on seizure, forfeiture, and destruction of biological agents, toxins, and delivery systems. These agents can be seized and forfeited to the United States after notice to potential claimants and an opportunity for a hearing to be held. If a hearing is held, the government bears the burden of proof and must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the biological agent is either prohibited under 18 U.S. Code section 175 or is possessed in so large a quantity that there cannot be a legitimate purpose for the possession.
18 U.S. Code section 177 establishes the circumstances under which the United States government is able to seek an injunction. An injunction is a court order that, in this particular case, seeks to enjoin or prevent conduct prohibited under section 175. The injunction can also seek to enjoin conspiracy, solicitation, preparation, or threats to engage in prohibited conduct; or the development, production, stockpiling, transferring, or other similar conduct for which there is no innocent explanation.
18 U.S. Code Chapter 178: This is the statute that establishes the definitions of the words that apply throughout the entirety of Chapter 10 addressing biological weapons. The definition statute defines five key words applicable to determine if you have violated the laws related to biological weapons. It defines what a biological agent is, what a toxin is, what the term delivery system means, and what the term vector means. All of these definitions help to establish whether or not you have a prohibited substance. The statute also defines the term national of the United States. This definition is important because it is necessary in order to determine whether or not the federal government has jurisdiction to bring a case against you for biological weapons crimes.
If you are facing charges, it is important to fully understand each of the statutes with 18 U.S. Code Chapter 10 so you will be aware of the laws related to biological weapons and will be able to determine how to effectively respond to the accusations against you.
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Getting Help from a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
LV Criminal Defense has extensive experience providing representation to clients accused of offenses related to biological weapons. When you have been accused of a serious crime involving biological agents, toxins, delivery systems of biological weapons, or other related offenses, you need to take the charges serious and find a federal criminal defense attorney with the knowledge to aggressively defend your future.
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