There are laws in the United States that prohibit individuals from causing harm to others. For example, there are homicide laws that impose punishments upon defendants convicted of intentionally or negligently hurting others. Defendants who engage in harmful or damaging behavior to other people could be charged with a state or a federal offense, depending upon the specific circumstances of the case.
In some situations, there is an added complexity that occurs when a defendant behaves wrongfully in a violent or dangerous way towards others. That complexity can come from the fact that one of the victims the defendant may hurt is an unborn child.
Because a fetus in utero is not generally recognized as a full “person” with independent rights in the United States – which is one reason why abortion is permitted – it can be difficult to determine exactly what should happen to a defendant whose actions harm a fetus.
The federal criminal code addresses this issue, and defines circumstances where a defendant can be found guilty of an offense related to harming an unborn child. If you are accused of violating federal laws by hurting an unborn child, you should be aware that the penalties can be serious if you are convicted. Federal offenses tend to be much more serious than state offenses and defendants who are convicted could end up serving time in federal prison.
Not every defense attorney has the knowledge or authority to defend those who are accused of wrongdoing in connection with harming an unborn child. LV CriminaL Defense can help you to evaluate the law and the evidence being presented against you so you can make an informed choice on how to proceed with the case. With our guidance, you will hopefully make a choice that results in the most favorable outcome possible in light of the situation.
To find out more about how our federal criminal defense law firm can help you to respond to accusations that you violated federal laws protecting unborn children, give us a call today. We represent clients in Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and surrounding areas and we’ll put our decades of legal knowledge to work for you.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
Federal criminal laws that relate to the protection of unborn children are found in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 90A. There is just one statute within this chapter of the U.S. code. The statute that exists defines exactly when a defendant can be convicted of a crime associated with harming an unborn child as well as the punishment for a defendant who is found guilty.
According to the relevant statute, 18 U.S. Code section 1841, a defendant can be charged with a violation of federal laws protecting unborn children if the defendant engages in conduct that violates certain specific provisions of federal laws and if, by so doing, the defendant causes either the death of a fetus in utero or the serious injury of a fetus in utero.
18 U.S. Code section 1841 stipulates that a defendant who is found to have caused the harm or death of a child in utero can be found guilty of a separate offense, different from the crime of harming the mother or other related offenses. The punishment for the separate offense is going to be the same as the punishment that federal law stipulates should apply for misconduct that causes injury or death to the mother of an unborn child.
The statute also addresses specific elements of the crime that a prosecutor does, and does not, have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction. For example, as 18 U.S. Code section 1841 explains, a prosecutor does not have to prove that the defendant either knew or had knowledge of the underlying pregnancy at the time when the defendant harmed the pregnant woman and the fetus.
The statute also makes clear that prosecutors do not have to prove that a defendant intended to cause the death or serious bodily injury to occur to an unborn child. However, if a person who engages in prohibited conduct as outlined within Chapter 90A intentionally kills, or attempts to kill, the unborn child, the defendant will need to be punished in accordance with provisions of 18 U.S. Code section 1111, 1112, and 113. These are the statutes that establish penalties for a variety of offenses including homicide crimes and manslaughter.
Finally, the statute makes clear that, notwithstanding other provisions of the law, a defendant should not be given the death penalty solely for causing the death or serious injury of an unborn child.
A federal criminal defense lawyer at LV Criminal Defense has extensive experience providing representation to clients in Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and surrounding areas. Our legal team has a long history of representing clients facing challenging cases and we are trained, skilled negotiators who will help you to negotiate a plea deal or navigate the criminal justice system in the most effective way possible.
Allegations that you engaged in harmful behavior towards a pregnant woman and an unborn child are taken very seriously in the federal court system, and defendants could end up being faced with a lengthy prison sentence if they are convicted of violation laws protecting unborn children. Because of such high stakes and because of the controversy surrounding these types of cases, it is important for the defendant to be prepared and ready for court.
Our firm can provide the type of comprehensive assistance that you need to try to emerge from your involvement within the federal criminal justice system with the minimum of penalties or with a not guilty verdict. Every case is tailored to you and the representation we offer is personalized to meet your needs based on the evidence and the nature of the crime.
To find out more about how our federal defense law firm can help you if you’re accused of violating laws related to the protection of unborn children, give us a call today.