Facing criminal charges in federal court is both intimidating and daunting. That’s because the most serious crimes originating in a state that ultimately crosses a state line will more often than not be prosecuted at the federal level way.
Recently, several men in Nashville, Tennessee were charged in by federal authorities with a kidnapping that resulted in death, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and using firearms in furtherance of a crime of violence.
Federal prosecutors these crimes were committed to prevent the exposure of a relationship between one of the involved men and a woman, and it resulted in the death of an individual.
Here’s what you need to know about these types of federal charges and the penalties that can be imposed following a guilty verdict.
Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping and Kidnapping
When most people think of kidnapping, they think of children , like the Lindberg Baby, being taken – but the law does not confine itself to children.
Kidnapping is defined under federal law as transporting someone across state lines against their will – and they are not released within a 24-hour period. The penalties associated with kidnapping are quite serious and can be anywhere from 20 years in federal prison to life, depending on the circumstances involved in the case. If a ransom was demanded or a dangerous weapon used, then the penalty can go even higher. And in cases where a person is killed, it can result in the death penalty.
Conspiracy to commit kidnapping occurs if two or more people conspire to violate the law by kidnapping another person. The penalties for conspiracy are the same as if the kidnapping occurred.
There is no statute of limitation in federal court for kidnapping. That means that charges can be brought against someone who has committed this crime, or is suspected of it, at any point – even if years or decades have passed since the offense.
Federal Firearm Possession in Furtherance of a Violent Crime
Using or possessing a firearm in order to commit a crime is also against federal law. It’s actually quite common for this charge to be included in cases involving guns and violent crimes.
The charge for this crime is quite serious, as it can result in penalties that are required to be carried out consecutively along with any other sentencing. This means that this sentence cannot be served at the same time as a sentence for another crime. You can see how the years would add up.
Under federal law, anyone found guilty of this crime can be sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison. However, if the firearm is brandished during the commission of the crime, the penalty is increased to seven years. For a firearm that is discharged, the penalty then rises to a minimum of 10 years imprisonment.
Brandishing a weapon occurs when it is shown to another person as a crime is being committed. It should also be noted that anyone found guilty of this crime who already has a history of other violent crimes can be considered a career offender. That designation can carry with it even more penalties and longer sentences in prison.
Federal crimes are quite serious and often carry stiff penalties. That’s why, if you find yourself facing them, you absolutely need to understand the charges against you fully so that you can mount the best defense.