Espionage and Censorship Crimes Explained by Federal Defense Lawyer

Espionage is strictly prohibited and there are serious penalties imposed upon anyone in the United States who is found to be engaging in espionage. In fact, a defendant accused of engaging in espionage can face federal charges and can be sentenced to very harsh penalties.

Many different kinds of conduct could result in federal espionage charges, so it is vital that defendants who are charged with a federal offense understand the specifics of what a prosecutor must prove in order to secure a conviction.

A federal criminal defense lawyer at LV Criminal Defense can offer assistance in understanding espionage charges and developing the most appropriate response to accusations of wrongdoing.

LV Criminal Defense has successfully represented clients in Arizona, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, and California who have been charged with espionage crimes or other serious federal offenses. We know how prosecutors approach these cases, we understand the types of federal investigations that take place, and we have the skill and experience to help defendants fight charges or negotiate a favorable plea agreement.

To understand more about the ways in which our legal team can help you to respond to espionage charges and reduce the likelihood you’ll be convicted of a serious offense with life-changing penalties, give us a call today.

Federal Laws on Espionage and Censorship

Federal laws on espionage are found within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 37, which is the part of the federal penal code that defines espionage and censorship offenses. There are 10 statutes within Chapter 387, one of which has been repealed and another of which – 18 U.S. Code section 798A – is an extension of another section within the same Chapter.

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The nine statutes found within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 37 that have not been repealed include:

  • 18 U.S. code section 792: Harboring or concealing persons
  • 18 U.S. code section 793: Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information
  • 18 U.S. code section 794: Gathering or delivering defense information to aid foreign government
  • 18 U.S. code section 795: Photographing and sketching defense installations
  • 18 U.S. code section 796: Use of aircraft for photographing defense installations
  • 18 U.S. code section 797: Publication and sale of photographs of defense installations
  • 18 U.S. code section 798: Disclosure of classified information
  • 18 U.S. code section 798A: Temporary extension of section 794
  • 18 U.S. code section 799: Violation of regulations of National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Each statute explains what a prosecutor must prove for a defendant to be convicted of a particular crime within Chapter 37, as well as what the penalties are for the particular offense.

For example, 18 U.S. Code section 792 defines the offense of harboring a person to include concealing a person who he knows, or has reason to suspect, is about to violate 18 U.S. code section 793 or 794. The offense, in other words, involves harboring someone who is going to gather or transmit defense information or who is going to deliver defense information to a foreign government. Penalties simply for harboring a person who will transmit defense information could include up to 10 years of imprisonment.

Penalties, obviously, are much more serious for those who actually gather, transmit, or lose defense information – and are even harsher if a defendant is convicted of gathering or delivering defense information to foreign governments.

If a defendant is convicted of violating 18 U.S. Code section 794 and providing aid to a foreign nation, with the intent that aid be used to the foreign nation’s advantage or with the knowledge such information could be used to advantage the foreign nation, the defendant could potentially be sentenced to death if the court finds that the information was used in a way that led to the death of a U.S. or if the information related to nuclear weapons, early warning systems, military spacecraft or satellites, war plans, cryptography, or communications intelligence.

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Even something as simple as photographing or sketching defense installations could result in criminal charges under Chapter 37. For example, 18 U.S. Code section 795 imposes a penalty of up to a year of imprisonment for making photographs, sketches, pictures, drawings, maps, or graphical representations of military or naval installations or equipment if such installations or equipment have been defined by the President as requiring protection against the dissemination or revealing of information.

A year of imprisonment is also imposed under 18 U.S. Code section 796 if a defendant is convicted of using an aircraft to photograph defense installations or of permitting an aircraft to be used to photograph defense installations, provided those installations have been designated by the President as requiring protection against the dissemination of information.

These are just several of many examples of laws found within Chapter 37 that punish defendants who engage in behaviors defined as espionage. Whenever you are charged with a violation of the laws within Chapter 37, you need to understand the specifics of the accusations against you, the nature of the evidence, what a prosecutor must prove, and what your options are for fighting against conviction. LV Criminal Defense can help.

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Getting Help from a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Because espionage charges are so serious, it is vitally important for defendants to understand their rights and to get help from a federal criminal defense attorney familiar with federal laws found in Chapter 37 of Title 18.

LV Criminal Defense has an extensive track record of successfully representing clients in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California, and Oregon in fighting against criminal charges. Our legal team will put our knowledge of the federal criminal justice system to work on your case in order to help you develop a strategic response to charges aimed at getting the best outcome possible.

If you need a committed, compassionate, and knowledgeable legal advocate to fight for your future, our firm is the one to turn to. Give us a call today to find out more about the assistance we can offer if you’ve been accused of espionage or censorship crimes.