In today’s political climate, no allegation is more serious than that of terrorism. The offense conjures up memories of attacks on U.S. soil and American losses abroad. If you have been falsely accused of committing an act of terrorism, you must work to defend your reputation immediately. Media campaigns may make you appear guilty before you go to trial, and prosecutors will strive to prove their case by any means in order to be seen as patriotic and tough on crime. When prosecutors charge you with terrorism, you need a very capable Houston terrorism defense lawyer who is not afraid to go head-to-head with the prosecutors in court.
Attorney Ned Barnett has more than 30 years of experience as both a state and federal prosecutor and criminal lawyer. He understands the consequences of being charged with terrorism and how important it is to prove your innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt. To schedule a free confidential consultation, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767.
Terrorism is discussed on the news and at home; however, if you are facing charges of terrorism, you must understand the legal definition of the crime. Title 18, Chapter 113B of the U.S. Code defines both domestic and international terrorism. Domestic terrorism includes activities that are:
- dangerous to human life,
- a violation of the criminal laws of the U.S. or a state,
- occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. and
- appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce the populace, influence government policy, or affect government action by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.
International terrorism is defined as:
- any violent acts or actions dangerous to human life,
- a violation of the criminal laws of the U.S. or a state, or would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the U.S. or a state,
- occurs primarily within the U.S. or goes beyond national borders, and
- appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce the populace, influence government policy, or affect government action by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.
Federal Terrorism Laws
Terrorism covers a broad range of criminal activities. Some of the acts of terrorism defined and outlawed by Chapter113B of Title 18 include:
- The use or threat of weapons of mass destruction
- Acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries
- Conducting a financial transaction with a government known by the U.S. to support international terrorism
- Bombing public places, government facilities, transportation, and infrastructure
- Possessing, building, using or threatening to use a rocket or missile with a guidance system and intended to destroy aircraft
- The possession, use or threat of radiological dispersal devices
- The possession, use or threat of nuclear active materials, devices or weapons
- Providing material support to terrorists or foreign terrorist organizations
- Financing terrorism
- Harboring or concealing terrorists
The Patriot Act
You have likely heard of the Patriot Act, which was first signed into law in 2001 after the attack on the World Trade Center. The Patriot Act created new federal laws as well as expanded and modified numerous other statutes, including Chapter 113B of Title 18. The definitions and penalties for the crimes above include modifications from the Patriot Act.
The potential consequences of an act of terrorism will depend on the specific law you are charged with and whether any American citizens were seriously injured or killed. If Americans were killed, whether the deaths are defined as murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter influences the punishment.
Numerous crimes under Chapter 113B can lead to the death penalty or life in prison. For example, an American who uses, threatens, or conspires to use a weapon of mass destruction can be imprisoned for life or sentenced to death. Or if an act of terrorism leads to the murder of a U.S. national, you can be punished with life in prison or death. An attempt to commit murder can lead to 20 years in prison while a conspiracy to commit murder by at least two individuals can result in life in prison. However, if a killing is defined as voluntary manslaughter, you face 10 years in prison.
Whatever your specific circumstances, it is likely the charges can result in a minimum of 10 years in prison.
Collateral Consequences to a Terrorism Conviction
Individuals accused of committing acts of terrorism in the U.S. face both criminal and civil consequences. In addition to federal criminal charges, you can be sued by any person, business, or municipality that suffered personal injuries or property damage due to the act. If the plaintiff wins a civil suit, you would be charged three times a number of compensable damages calculated by the court, as well as court costs and attorney’s fees.
If you are convicted of a terrorist offense, you will have a criminal record with a felony on it. Upon release from prison, you will likely have a difficult time finding employment and a place to live. Your felony conviction for terrorism is viewable through a background check, which can lead to your being ostracized by your community.
A Houston Terrorism Defense Lawyer Can Help
When you are facing federal charges for terrorism in or against the U.S., you need more than an over-worked public defender can provide. You need a Houston federal attorney who is both highly experienced in criminal proceedings and skilled in the courtroom. Ned Barnett has practiced law for more than three decades. Having started his career as a prosecutor, he brings a well-rounded and perceptive approach to defending his clients. Attorney Barnett understands how the minds of prosecutors work and can anticipate their strategies. He will build you the strongest defense possible under the law in order to uphold you Constitutional rights and fight for your freedom.
To discuss your legal options during a free, confidential consultation, call the Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767.