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Piracy and Privateering

Federal Defense Attorney Explains Piracy and Privateering

piracy and privateeringPiracy and privateering can result in federal criminal charges that carry harsh penalties. Piracy and privateering offenses can be complicated, as there are both U.S. and international laws that may apply depending upon the specific circumstances.

It is important for defendants to understand the specific charges they are facing and to develop an effective defense strategy for responding to claims of wrongdoing.

Finding the right federal criminal defense attorney can be a key part of avoiding conviction or reducing consequences if you have been accused of piracy or privateering. LV Criminal Defense can help. Our dedicated and experienced legal team represents clients facing federal charges in California, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona. We have decades of collective experience and a deep understanding of federal law so we can provide the help that you need to fight charges.

To find out more about the ways in which our firm can represent you in fighting for acquittal during trial or negotiating to get the most favorable plea deal possible under the circumstances, you should give us a call today.

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Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.


Federal Laws On Piracy and Privateering

Piracy and privateering are defined within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 81. This Chapter of the federal penal code contains a total of 11 different statutes that define different types of privacy and privateering crimes, establish what a prosecutor would be required to prove to secure conviction, and establish the potential penalties that can result if a defendant is found guilty of any of the offenses made illegal in Chapter 81. The relevant statutes within this part of the federal penal code include:

  • 18 U.S. Code section 1651: Piracy under law of nations: According to this statute, anyone who commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations while on the high seas who is subsequently found within the United States can be imprisoned for life.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1652: Citizens as pirates: This statute specifies that any U.S. citizen who commits robbery, murder, or any act of hostility against the U.S. or its citizens while on the high seas under color of a commission from a foreign state or under pretense of authority can still be considered a pirate and subject to life imprisonment.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1653: Aliens as pirates: Citizens or subjects of foreign states who make war upon the U.S., on U.S. citizens or on U.S. vessels contrary to the provisions of treaties between the U.S. and the foreign state where the alien is a citizen or subject, can be considered pirates and penalized with life imprisonment.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1654: Arming or serving on privateers: U.S. citizens who fit out and arm, or attempt to fit out or arm, or who otherwise become involved with fitting out and arming private vessels of privateers or vessels of war with the intent the vessel will bee used to commit hostilities against the U.S. can be fined and imprisoned for up to 10 years. Going aboard a vessel or taking command a vessel that will commit hostilities against the U.S. can also lead to charges.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1655: Assault on commander as piracy: If a seaman lays hands upon his commander to prevent the commander from defending his vessel or the vessel’s goods, that seaman is considered a private and can be imprisoned for life.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1656: Conversion or surrender of vessel: Captains or officers who run away with their vessels or with goods and merchandise valued at $50 or greater, or captains or officers who voluntarily give their vessel to pirates, can be fined and imprisoned for up to 10 years.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1657: Corruption of seamen and confederating with pirates: Attempting to corrupt, or corrupting, officers, mariners, or masters to run away with a vessel or goods or attempting to turn officers or mariners into pirates can result in a penalty of up to three years imprisonment and a fine. A defendant could also be charged for giving a pirate ammunition or provisions; for fitting a vessel with the intent to trade with or supply robbers; or for corresponding with pirates knowing they are pirates. Finally, seamen who confine the master of the vessel can be charged as well.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1658: Plunder of distressed vessel: Stealing or destroying money, goods or merchandise belonging to a vessel in distress or to a vessel that has been lost, wrecked, or cast away can result in up to 10 years of imprisonment. Willfully obstructing someone who is trying to escape from a vessel in distress can also result in a minimum of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1659: Attack to plunder vessel: Attacking a vessel in order to plunder it can result in 10 years imprisonment.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1660: Receipt of pirate property: Receiving property from a pirate without lawful authority, with knowledge the property has been unlawfully taken, can result in up to 10 years imprisonment.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1661: Robbery ashore: Anyone engaged in a piratical cruise or enterprise who lands the vessel and commits robbery on shore can be considered a pirate and could be imprisoned for life.

LV Criminal Defense can help you understand the specifics of each statute so you’ll know what you’ve been charged with and what prosecutors need to prove to secure your conviction.

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Getting help from a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

When you have been accused of piracy or privateering, you need federal criminal defense lawyers who understand the laws in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 81 and who can provide the aggressive advocacy you need to fight charges. LV Criminal Defense will work closely with you to evaluate the evidence against you, determine what prosecutors must prove to secure conviction, and develop the optimum approach to responding to criminal charges.

Whether this means negotiating a plea agreement or trying to introduce reasonable doubt in court so you can get acquitted on charges, our compassionate and knowledgeable can help. We know the law, understand how to present evidence in court, and have strong negotiating skills to help you get a deal with reduced penalties.

We have a long track record of representing clients in California, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, or surrounding areas, and we can put our extensive knowledge of piracy and privateering laws to work on your case if you give us a call today.


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