What Is the Hobbs Act?
The Hobbs Act is a federal law that prohibits extortion or robbery by wrongful use of force or conspiracy to commit either crime used as a tactic to stop or delay commerce. Keep reading to learn more.
Robbery is the unlawful taking of a person’s property without consent through threats, force, or violence. This crime can be elevated to a more severe degree if it occurs with a firearm or if the robbery results in severe injury or death. In New Jersey, burglary is punishable by a possible prison sentence of up to five years and fines up to $15,000.
Extortion involves obtaining property that belongs to someone else without their permission by force, threats, or under the guise of official permission. This crime may involve robbery to some extent but in general it is punishable by up to ten years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
Inhibition of Commerce
If a person uses extortion or robbery to stop interstate commerce or participates in commerce while having a criminal record that includes either crime, they could be prosecuted under the Hobbs Act. When a person inhibits commerce, they could affect consumer fairness and may also impact the integrity of the free market.
The Hobbs Act is intentionally broad and exists to prevent dishonest dealings. In some cases, a person may impersonate an official in order to extort others which could jeopardize the integrity of government agencies.
Proving a Violation
To prove a Hobbs Act violation, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements of the crime. These elements include whether:
- An individual attempted to obtain or obtain property from another person without consent or conspired to do so
- There was intent to commit a crime.
- There was wrongful use of threats or actual violence or fear under the guise of official right
- During the course of the crime interstate commerce was inhibited
If the prosecutor cannot prove each of the factors listed above, they may not be able to use the Hobbs Act to support their case against the defendant.
The Hobbs Act is intentionally broad as a catch-all method for a series of criminal acts that may impact interstate commerce. It is crucial that individuals choose a qualified attorney for their case. Brickfield & Donahue is committed to providing premier legal services for our clients. Our award winning team of legal professionals can investigate the circumstances surrounding the charges and build a strong case based on experience and extensive legal knowledge.
When you need trustworthy legal support, choose Brickfield & Donahue.