Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Explains Civil Disorders

There are certain types of conduct that are considered civil disorders and that are illegal within the United States. There are federal laws addressing civil disorders and imposing penalties for prohibited conduct. This means that if you violate these laws, you could be charged with a federal offense.

You’d be tried in federal court by prosecutors who typically have access to many more resources for investigations than state prosecutors and you could end up in federal prison if you are convicted.

Being charged with a federal crime is very serious because of the difficulty of fighting charges and the harsh penalties that could be imposed upon you if you are convicted. If you are accused of civil disorders, you need to ensure that you understand the nature of the offense that you have been charged with and that you know what a prosecutor must prove in order for you to be found guilty of the offense. You also need to be strategic in determining how you will respond to the charges that you are facing so you can reduce the likelihood of conviction or can limit the possible penalties that you will end up facing.

LV Criminal Defense can help you. Our federal criminal defense attorneys provide representation to clients in Arizona, Utah, California, Nevada, and surrounding states who have been accused of federal offenses. We understand the laws related to civil disorders inside and out and we can provide the assistance you need to cast doubt on the accusations and get acquitted. We can also provide help negotiating a plea agreement that limits penalties or even results in you being charged with a less serious crime.

You need to make the right choices from day one about how you respond to a federal investigation into your conduct and what you do when faced with federal charges. LV Criminal Defense can offer you help and support in fighting serious accusations, so give us a call as soon as you come under investigation or are arrested for crimes related to civil disorders.

Federal Laws on Civil Disorders

18 U.S. Code Chapter 12 is the part of the federal penal code that deals with civil disorders. There are three statutes within this chapter. The first, 18 U.S. Code section 231, deals with the types of civil disorders that can result in federal charges. The second, 18 U.S. Code section 231, defines key words that are used within Chapter 12 so it is clear exactly what specific words mean that help to define criminal conduct. The third, 18 U.S. Code section 233, explains the rules for when federal laws on civil disorders preempt state laws addressing similar types of criminal misconduct.

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Under 18 U.S. Code section 231, there are different types of behaviors that are considered civil disorders and that can result in criminal charges. The prohibited behavior includes:

  • Teaching or demonstrating to any person how to use, apply, or make a firearm, explosive, or incendiary device with knowledge that the firearm, explosive, or incendiary device will be unlawfully used in a civil disorder or in furtherance of a civil disorder that obstructs, delays, or adversely affects commerce; the movement of any article or commodity in commerce; or the conduct or performance of any federally protected function.
  • Teaching or demonstrating to any person how to use or apply any technique capable of causing injury or death to persons with the knowledge that the technique will further civil disorder to obstruct, delay, or adversely affect commerce, the movement of items in commerce, or the performance of federally protected functions.
  • Transporting, or manufacturing for transport in commerce, any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device with knowledge the item will be used unlawfully to further civil disorder or with reason to believe that the item will be unlawfully used to further civil disorder.
  • Committing, or attempting to commit, any action that obstructs, impedes, or interferes with fireman or law enforcement officers who are performing official duties while committing a civil disorder or in any conduct incident to a civil disorder – provided that the interference in some way obstructs, delays, or affects commerce, the movement of items in commerce, or any federally protected functions.

A violation of these laws and the commission of civil disorders can result in fines as well as imprisonment fro a period of up to five years. However, the law makes clear that it does not apply to law enforcement officers who engage in conduct that is a part of their official duties.

18 U.S. Code section 232, the definitions statute, explains exactly what civil disorder means for purposes of this statute. Civil disorder includes any public disturbance that involves acts of violence by a group of three or more people that causes immediate danger or that results in any person or property suffering injury or damage. In other words, rioting could be a form of civil disorder if there are at least three people and there is a risk to the safety of persons or to property.

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Getting Help from a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

There are strict rules against civil disorder because of the strong public policy goal of maintaining peace and preventing people from engaging in dangerous criminal conduct that causes a disturbance. If you are accused of engaging in prohibited acts, such as promoting weapons to be used in instances of civil disorder, you could face a lengthy jail sentence and a large fine so it is important to respond assertively.

LV Criminal Defense can help you to fight accusations related to civil disorder by working closely with you to decide how best to respond to charges.

What Our Client are saying

When I initially met with Mr. Wooldridge, he took the opportunity to sit and go over my problem with me. He described details in my case which he found disturbing and explained why he I should have him on my side.

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Whether your best course of action involves negotiating a plea agreement, trying to get charges dropped, or fighting for acquittal, our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team will provide the support and advocacy you need as you navigate the criminal justice system. Give us a call today to find out more.