Espionage is a federal capital offense that typically involves gathering and/or distributing confidential information from the U.S. government to foreign entities, including other countries’ governments. This category of crimes under Chapter 37 of the United States Code can also take the form of concealing persons who have committed the aforementioned crimes. The Espionage Act of 1917 has provided a framework for prosecuting espionage crimes and the U.S. has amended those laws over time.
Espionage can also be cyber espionage when conducted via the internet, and generally uses hacking or malware against the targeted U.S. government entity. It may also take the shape of industrial or corporate espionage where trade secrets are stolen from a company, usually for the benefit of a competitor.
Potential Penalties for an Espionage Conviction
Each espionage case is unique, and penalties can vary greatly depending on the type and severity of the committed offense. 10 years in federal prison is a common minimum sentence. Espionage to directly support a foreign government can lead to a life sentence or even capital punishment. The Uniform Code of Military Justice authorizes the death penalty for armed forces personnel if they are convicted of espionage.
If you are convicted of committing corporate espionage, you can receive an incarceration sentence of 15 years and up to $5 million in fines.
A conviction for espionage has immigration consequences for non-US citizens. If you are even suspected of engaging in espionage, you may lose your visa eligibility and not be permitted to enter U.S. territory.
In addition to carceral sentences and fines, a conviction for espionage can have severe repercussions on your personal and professional life. For example, it can negatively affect your ability to secure employment or hold professional licenses.
Statutes of Limitation
Although most federal crimes have a five-year statute of limitation, prosecutors can generally pursue espionage cases up to 10 years after the alleged criminal offense took place. In certain cases, additional time may occur due to executive acts or other extenuating circumstances.
Hire Brad Bailey Law to Protect Your Interests and Future
If you face accusations of espionage, you need to hire a reputable criminal defense lawyer right away. Most federal cases result in convictions due to the complexity of the federal laws governing espionage and the extended resources federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have available for investigation and prosecution.
Brad Bailey Law has an extensive track record of successfully defending clients against federal charges. You can expect aggressive advocacy for your rights when you trust us with your criminal defense. Our team can help you navigate the process and assess the appropriateness of the prosecution’s evidence against you.
We strive to obtain a dismissal of charges no matter what accusations you are facing. If this is not an option, our team focuses on getting a reduction of charges. Our attorneys can also advise you on whether you should appeal a dissatisfying court decision and what strategy you should pursue.
If you are accused of espionage in the greater Boston area, contact Brad Bailey Law today at (617) 500-0252 to schedule a consultation to start building your defense.