Melanson Law Office P.C. Aug. 31, 2022

In New York, domestic terrorism – committing a terrorist or dangerous act against fellow citizens – is a serious offense that is often punished severely. If convicted, you could face devastating punishments, including massive fines, life imprisonment without parole, a permanent criminal record, and other life-altering consequences. A highly-skilled New York State criminal defense attorney can inform you about the implications of a domestic terrorism charge and help build your defense.  

For more than 10 years, I have been providing aggressive representation to individuals wrongfully arrested and charged with serious violent crimes. In addition, I can analyze all of the facts of your case, argue the allegations against you with factual evidence, and strategize an effective defense in pursuit of the best available outcome for your specific situation. My firm is proud to serve clients across Kingston, Catskill, New Paltz, Poughkeepsie, and Highland, New York. 

Domestic Terrorism 

Actually, domestic terrorism is a controversial concept which is often defined in terms of different elements or characteristics. According to 18 U.S. Code Section 2331 (5), a person commits the crime of domestic terrorism if he or she engages in an act that is "dangerous to human life" and a violation of the criminal laws of a state or the United States. Also, domestic terrorism involves an act intended to: 

  • Coerce or intimidate a civilian population. 

  • Affect government conduct by kidnapping, assassination or mass destruction.  

  • Influence government policy by coercion or intimidation. 

Additionally, domestic terrorism happens majorly within the United States' territorial jurisdiction. Here are some common examples of crimes that are associated with domestic terrorism: 

  • Biological attacks 

  • Chemical attacks 

  • Possession of biological or chemical weapons 

  • Spreading radioactive materials 

  • Possessing bomb-making materials 

  • Building or detonating bombs 

  • Harboring a terrorist 

  • Providing financial support to terror attacks 

A competent attorney can review every aspect of your case, educate you about the key elements of terrorism, and help craft your defense strategy. 

Key Elements of Terrorism 

Furthermore, terrorism is usually characterized by these four crucial elements: 

Violence – The use of violence or threat of harm 

Political Objective – A political objective, cause, or the desire to change the status quo. In some cases, the objective may be religious. 

Fear – The intention to propagate fear or terror in the victim's mind by committing violent acts publicly or on a large scale. 

Civilian Targets – Intentionally targeting innocent civilians. 

A talented criminal defense attorney can inform you about some of the laws addressing terrorism in the state and the consequences of a terrorism charge. 

Laws Addressing Terrorism 

Here are some of the laws addressing terrorism in New York State and the United States: 

The USA Patriot Act 

In response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, the USA Patriot Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush – to provide security authorities with new techniques for detecting and preventing terrorism. The USA Patriot Act was designed to improve the country's counter-terrorism measures through the following ways: 

  • By allowing police officers to use video surveillance against more terror crimes. 

  • By allowing investigators to investigate drug trafficking and organized crime using existing tools. 

  • By allowing federal agents to seek a court order to get business records in national security terrorism cases. 

  • By allowing law enforcement to carry out investigations without alerting terrorists. 

  • By allowing law enforcement officials to obtain a search warrant anywhere a terrorist-related activity occurs. 

  • By allowing federal agents to follow sophisticated terrorists trained to evade detection. 

  • By enabling seamless information sharing and cooperation among government agencies to help authorities "connect the dots" better. 

  • By allowing victims of computer hacking to seek the help of law enforcement to monitor the "trespassers" on their computers. 

  • By increasing the punishment of individuals convicted of committing terrorist crimes. 

Though, the USA Patriot Act is a federal law. However, there are some New York state-specific laws that address domestic terrorism as well. 

New York Law  

In the wake of Buffalo Attack that occurred on May 14, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul issued Executive Order 18, which required each county and the City of New York to do the following: 

  • Perform a comprehensive review of current practices, procedures, policies, and strategies.  

  • Develop and maintain a plan for identifying and confronting threats of domestic terrorism, including ethnically or racially motivated violent extremists. 

  • The DHSES shall establish a new unit within its Office of Counter Terrorism dedicated to preventing domestic terrorism. 

  • The New York State Police shall establish a new unit within the New York State Intelligence Center (NYSIC) that is dedicated to tracking domestic violent extremism. 

  • The New York State Police shall improve social media monitoring to investigate leads of online promotion of violent extremism. 

Possible Penalties 

In New York State, domestic terrorism charges usually carry severe punishments. Depending on the surrounding circumstances, a convicted defendant could face any of these penalties and ramifications: 

  • Prison sentences (ranging from months, years, or decades) 

  • Massive fines 

  • Probation 

  • A criminal record/history 

  • Loss of your rights to own, carry, or possess a firearm 

  • Increased difficulty in getting government assistance or public benefits 

  • Increased difficulty in securing housing or employment opportunities 

  • Ineligibility for certain financial loans 

  • Increased difficulty traveling to other countries 

  • Possible deportation or inadmissibility to the United States. 

A loyal attorney can review the surrounding facts of your case and determine the best defenses to avoid the devastating penalties and consequences of a criminal conviction. 

Domestic Terrorism Defense
Attorney in Kingston, New York 

Facing domestic terrorism charges can potentially jeopardize your personal reputation, quality of life, liberty, and future opportunities. Unfortunately, trying to defend yourself could easily expose you to the risk of suffering the maximum penalties. Therefore, when arrested for domestic terrorism, having an aggressive criminal defense attorney is critical for thorough advice and to help build your defense.  

At Melanson Law Office P.C., I enjoy providing aggressive representation and knowledgeable direction to clients facing domestic terrorism charges. As your legal counsel, I can consider and investigate every element of your individual situation and outline a strong defense to help fight your charges. Contact my firm – Melanson Law Office P.C. – today to schedule a simple case assessment with a dependable domestic terrorism defense attorney. My firm is proud to serve clients across Kingston, Catskill, New Paltz, Poughkeepsie, and Highland, New York.