The Hobbs Act

The Hobbs Act is used to federally prosecute robbery and extortion affecting commerce. The act was initially designed to target racketeering in labor- management disputes, but today it’s commonly used in cases alleging public corruption and commercial disputes.

Violations of the Hobbs Act are investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They will have more time and resources to devote to your case than state prosecutors, so legal representation is imperative. Attorneys at the Coolidge Law Firm are licensed in the Eastern District of North Carolina and understand the challenges you will face.

Founding attorney David Coolidge is known and respected by federal prosecutors for his trial advocacy. Exercise your right to legal counsel and contact the Coolidge Law Firm today.

Call (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free consultation. We take pride in being a full service, 24/7 law firm. The Coolidge Law Firm defends clients of federal crimes in Wake County areas include Raleigh, Apex, Cary, Wake Forest, Garner, and various others.

Robbery and the Hobbs Act

Simply robbing a man waiting for the bus is not enough to be prosecuted under the Hobbs Act. For starters, robbery under the Hobbs Act is reserved for organized crime, wide-ranging schemes, and gang activity. Examples of robbery violating the Hobbs Act include the following:

  • Robbery of business selling products originating in another state
  • Robbery resulting in a business having to close down temporarily
  • Robbery that depletes the assets of a business
  • Robbery of a drug dealer

The Hobbs Act definition of robbery is built upon the common law definition. It involves taking property from another against their will through actual or threatened force, violence, or fear of injury. Attempt and conspiracy are also condemned under the act along with aiding and abetting a Hobbs Act robbery.

The Hobbs Act isn’t just reserved for individuals. Corporations, labor organizations, firms, or other legal entities may be liable for Hobbs Act violations committed by officers, employees, or members acting under the scope of their employment.

Hobbs Act Extortion

Hobbs Act extortion comes in two forms. One is similar to robbery and involves the use or threat of force, and the other involves bribery while acting under the color of official right.

Traditional extortion is similar to robbery except for one element; consent. Extortion involves taking something from a consenting individual while robbery does not require consent. However, the consent must have been granted through the use of force or threats to be considered extortion. For the extortion to be a violation of the Hobbs Act, the crime must affect commerce in some way.

Extortion through color of official right is aimed towards government officials or other government employees. Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right occurs when a public official accepts payments they are not entitled to, knowing the payee will want something in return. This can include a public official accepting bribes from a businessman in return for passing trade laws in his favor or a police officer directing victims of a traffic accident to a certain body shop for a kickback.

Hobbs Act Penalties and Related Crimes

Hobbs Act robbery and extortion can be punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. Rarely, though, is the crime charged on its own. Both robbery and extortion under the Hobbs Act are charged alongside other federal crimes.

Firearms are often involved in a robbery. For the use of the firearm to result in additional charges, the weapon must have been displayed or used to further a violent crime. Almost every United States Federal Court has considered robbery under the Hobbs Act a violent crime.

Hobbs Act extortion, on the other hand, is rarely considered a violent crime. The offense is, however, often charged alongside racketeering, money laundering, and Travel Act violations. The Travel Act makes it a federal crime to travel across state lines or use the mail service or any other interstate commerce to promote or distribute the funds of an extortion offense.

Additional Resources for the Hobbs Act

The Hobbs Act – Follow this link to read through the Hobbs Act. You can read the precise legal definition of both robbery and extortion; learn more about under color of official right and who has the authority to investigate the crime. The act can be read on the official website of the United States Department of Justice.

Raleigh Man Sentenced for Hobbs Act Robbery – Read an article from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tabaco, Firearms and Explosives over a Raleigh man sentenced for robbery under the Hobbs Acts. The man was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison for Hobbs Act robbery while armed with a gun.

Raleigh Federal Defense Attorney

It is imperative you contact legal counsel if you are under investigation for violating the Hobbs Act. There’s a chance you may be charged with additional federal crimes that will result in additional time in federal prison. The Coolidge Law Firm will stop at nothing to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved for your situation.

We treat clients with the upmost respect and never as a criminal.  Take the first step in building your defense and contact the Coolidge Law Firm today.

Call (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free consolation. The Coolidge Law Firm defends clients of federal crimes in Wake County areas such as Raleigh, Apex, Cary Wake Forest and Garner.


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