Federal Defense Attorney Defines Civil Rights Offenses
Protection for civil rights is one of the bedrock foundations of the U.S. Constitution and U.S. society plays a very high premium on ensuring that no civil rights violations occur. Not only is it possible for those who have their civil rights violated to use the civil justice system to pursue remedies, but there are also certain circumstances in which violating a person’s civil rights could actually result in criminal prosecution.
If you are accused of a civil rights violation that has been criminalized, you could face federal charge.
The penalties could be serious and defending yourself could be difficult because federal prosecutors have extensive resources to pursue claims against those who they believe have violated civil rights laws.
Not all attorneys have the knowledge, wherewithal or legal ability to provide representation to defendants facing civil rights violations in connection with criminal charges so it becomes imperative for those who are accused of wrongdoing to get the right legal help to protect their interests.
LV Criminal Defense can provide the representation you need. We defend clients facing federal criminal charges in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California and surrounding areas and we can put our extensive knowledge of federal civil rights crimes to work to help you get the best outcomes possible for your particular situation.
You should give us a call as soon as you come under investigation by federal authorities so we can begin working on your case. We can help you to determine how best to respond to charges, to fight accusations in court, or to negotiate a plea agreement. Call now to talk with a federal defense lawyer to find out more.
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Federal Laws on Civil Rights Offenses
18 U.S. Code Chapter 13 is the part of the federal penal code that addresses unlawful conduct in relation to civil rights violations. There are nine statutes within Chapter 13 that address different issues related to criminal violations of civil rights. These include the following:
- 18 U.S. Code section 241, which makes it a crime to conspire to injure, suppress, threaten, or intimidate anyone in the United States into being unable to exercise or enjoy his or her constitutional rights. It’s also unlawful to injure, suppress, threaten, or intimidate someone in connection with that person’s exercise of his constitutional rights. Those who go onto the highway in disguise or onto the property of another to hinder the free exercise of constitutional rights could be fined and imprisoned for up to 10 years. If death occurs, or if the defendant’s actions include kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, or sexual abuse, defendants could be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.
- 18 U.S. Code section 242, which makes it unlawful to deprive someone of rights under color of law. This statute also prohibits subjecting someone to different penalties because of race, religion, immigration status, or other protected status. Penalties can include up to a year of imprisonment, or up to 10 years imprisonment if the unlawful acts include the use of a dangerous weapon, explosives. If kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, or sexual assault offenses are involved in the deprivation of rights under color of law, penalties could include life imprisonment or a death sentence.
- 18 U.S. Code section 243, which prohibits excluding people from serving on the jury on account of their race or color. The penalty for violating this law is a fine up to $5,000.
- 18 U.S. Code section 244, which prohibits those in public places in the U.S. from discriminating against people wearing a U.S. military uniform. The penalty for discriminating against a person wearing a uniform of the U.S. armed forces is a fine.
- 18 U.S. Code section 245, which prohibits intimidating or interfering with people’s lawful right to vote, obtain lawful benefits, apply for or become employed by U.S. agencies, attend court, or participate in any federal programs. The statute also prohibits preventing people from enrolling in school or taking advantage of other benefits on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin.
- 18 U.S. Code section 246, which makes it unlawful to directly or indirectly deprive individuals of their employment, position, work, or other benefits made possible by Acts of Congress or funding appropriations on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, or political affiliation. The potential punishment for depriving people of their employment or benefits, or for threatening to do so, could include up to a year of imprisonment and a fine.
- 18 U.S. Code section 247, which addresses criminal conduct in connection with destroying religious property because it is religious. The statute also addresses any actions that intentionally obstruct others from exercising their freedom of religion. The penalties vary, but if death results, the defendant could be sentenced to life imprisonment. If bodily injury occurs, the maximum sentence is 40 years imprisonment if fire or explosives were used or 20 years imprisonment when weapons were used. In cases where no injury occurs, the maximum penalty is one year imprisonment.
- 18 U.S. Code section 248, which prohibits blocking access to reproductive health services through the use of threats or force, Intentionally causing injury or damaging clinic property is also illegal under this statute. Penalties could include imprisonment for up to a year for a first offense where no one is hurt and become much harsher for repeat offenders or when injury or property damage occurs.
- 18 U.S. Code section 249, or the federal hate crime statute which classifies certain offenses as hate crimes if they are motivated by race, religion, color, or national origin. Penalties for hate crimes can be more serious than a defendant would normally be faced with if charged only with the underlying offense and not motivated by racial or religious animosity.
Getting Help from a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of engaging in unlawful civil rights violations that have been made illegal under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 13, you could face a lengthy prison term and other serious consequences. You need to take the accusations against you very seriously.
If you live in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California or surrounding ares, contact a federal criminal defense lawyer at LV Criminal Defense for help today.