Many people are very outspoken about how they feel about the federal government. Speaking out against the government is protected by the First Amendment. However, some people take it a step beyond just speaking out.
When a person is trying to act against the federal government, they might overstep the bounds of the law. One federal charge that a person might face is sedition.
How does freedom of speech apply?
Speaking out against the federal government, even calling for the use of force, isn’t sedition. It’s when you actively move to make violence happen that you can be charged with sedition. One example of sedition is if you start handing out guns or making actual plans for a violent attack.
In order to charge a person with sedition, the authorities have to be able to show that there is a conspiracy to use force. This has to go beyond what’s protected by the First Amendment, so things like speaking at a rally won’t lead to these charges.
A conviction for a sedition charge can lead to a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. There are also fines associated with this crime. Because of this, preparing your defense against these charges is imperative.
Anyone who’s facing federal criminal charges should ensure they understand their options for a defense strategy. Ideally, you will do this early in the case so that you have time to consider the choices you have. It’s best to consider how you might be impacted now as well as how it might affect you in the future.