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Hobbs Act Lawyers

The Hobbs Act: Understanding Federal Criminal Regulations

The United States penal code governs federal criminal regulations. The Hobbs Act, which was passed in 1946, is a law that prohibits robbery or extortion that affects international or interstate commerce. Since the crime concerns other countries or multiple states, it falls into federal jurisdiction instead of state. Under the Hobbs Act, people can also be charged with attempting to use fear or force to commit a crime, even if they are not successful in the attempt.

Historical Context and Application

At the time it was passed, the bill was addressing the racketeering that happened during labor disputes. This isn’t as common nowadays as it was back then. There are some rare cases when the charge is used when a person is suspected of union corruption, but prosecutors are much more likely to use the statute to prosecute commercial disputes and public corruption.

Public officials are not allowed to acquire property by using their status to force others to give them the property. In addition, no one is allowed to make threats of violence or force to gain property.

Legal Process and Investigation

If someone is suspected of violating the Hobbs Act, the case is investigated by the FBI. They will compile the evidence and work with the US Attorney’s Office to bring a case against the defendant. If you have been accused of committing extortion or robbery, you need to get a skilled defense lawyer immediately.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
Nun yaNun ya
17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

Severity of Charges

When the Hobbs Act is involved in the charges, the situation becomes even more serious. Most people aren’t familiar with the Hobbs Act because they never expect to need to know how to mediate labor disputes and corruption issues.

According to the Hobbs Act, if you are the subject of an extortion or robbery charge, your sentence can become much more severe if it interrupted interstate commerce. You can be charged with robbery if you took their property through use of force or violence with no consent. Extortion is the charge used if you obtained consent, but only because the victim was too afraid to say no.

Elements of Proving a Violation

Every case of extortion is different. There have been cases that include additional charges of conspiracy, robbery, murder, assault, and attempted murder. Any act of violence that occurred during the situation might be charged as its own crime.

Proving a Violation

To prove a violation, the prosecutor has to provide hard evidence that the defendant committed certain elements of the crime. The jury cannot have any reasonable doubt that every aspect of the crime was committed. If the prosecutor is unable to prove every element, they might drop the charges to something smaller and more easily provable.

These are the things that the prosecutor must prove about the case:

  1. The defendant took property from someone else after they had given their consent, or they attempted to do this, or they conspired to do it.
  2. They used wrongful violence, intimidation, force, or threats of these things by leveraging their position.
  3. They intended to break the law.
  4. Their actions had some kind of effect on interstate commerce.

If a prosecutor can prove everything except the last bit, they might charge the person with extortion without the Hobbs Act.

You also don’t need to prove that a person made actual threats. If the person is a public official, the prosecutor can prove that they used their position for intimidation or fear. For example, they might imply that they have the power to get someone’s family deported, which would be a fear tactic.

Penalties and Defense Strategies

The punishment for violating this piece of legislation is a maximum of 20 years in prison. In addition, you will have to pay a fine that the court determines.

Defending Against a Violation of the Hobbs Act

If you are going to defend yourself against this charge, you have to make a case that you have not committed every element of the crime. You might end up admitting to a lesser crime and taking a plea deal instead. A defense attorney will review your case and build a strategy based on your unique situation.

Some potential defenses to the Hobbs Act include:

  • These actions didn’t have any effect on interstate commerce.
  • The defendant didn’t extort property, or even attempt to extort property.
  • The defendant was not using fear or violence to make the victim release their property.
  • The defendant didn’t benefit from the property they were given.
  • The victim didn’t suffer any losses as a result of giving up the property.

It is very difficult to prove a Hobbs Act violation because of the amount of evidence needed. A prosecutor needs to tell a compelling story that cannot be doubted or disproven. You will likely have the opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser charge instead of going to trial.

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