It’s not uncommon to hear the term “terrorism” thrown about in reference to bombings, mass shootings, or attacks on the general public. But what is actually considered an act of terrorism according to federal law? In general, terrorism refers to any act perpetrated for the purpose of causing terror. These actions are usually fueled by a political, ideological, religious, or economic objective. They also tend to target a large group of people.
Any use of violence, threats, or intimidation to incite fear or coerce action for political purposes would be considered terrorism. Likewise, the use of violence as a means of achieving a goal is also under the umbrella of terrorism.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines the act as any activity that is violent, dangerous to human life, violates state and federal law, and is intended to do the following:
- Intimidate or coerce a civilian population
- Influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion
- Affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, kidnapping, or assassination
The National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals has also grouped terrorism into six different types:
1. Civil disorder: groups of people conducting civil disorder in the form of a protest that turns into a riot
2. Political: acts perpetrated against citizens with the goal of making a point with governmental leaders
3. Non-political: acts committed by a group for any purpose other than a political objective
4. Quasi: actions that use tactics of terrorism for different motives
5. Limited political: one-time acts of violence to make a statement in response to a government policy or action
6. State: violent act perpetrated by an existing government
Any action that fits the above categories could be tried as terrorism, whether it is international or domestic. Being convicted of such a crime usually leads to a long prison sentence served at a maximum security prison. In cases of extreme violence, terrorism can actually lead to the death penalty.
If you’re being investigated for terrorism, make sure to hire an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Charges of terrorism are tried in federal court, which means you could face penalties from the state and the federal government without triggering double jeopardy. Musca Law has more than 150 years of combined legal experience to offer your case. Let us use our aggressive advocacy to defend your rights and your freedom.
Contact us at (888) 484-5057 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.