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It is a crime under federal law if you destroy any structure that commemorates the service of any person in the U.S. armed forces. The offense is a serious felony that can lead to imprisonment in federal prison for up to 10 years. Please consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you are facing any charges of a federal crime.
What is the Federal Law on Destruction of Veterans’ Memorials?
18 U.S.C. 1369 is the federal statute on the destruction of veterans’ memorials. Per this law, you commit a crime if you:
- Willfully injure or destroy, or attempt to injure or destroy, any structure, plaque, statute, or other monument that commemorates the service of any person in the armed forces of the U.S., and
- Do so either using the U.S. mail system or when the structure, plaque, statute, or other monument is located on property owned by the federal government.
Note that you are only guilty of this crime if you acted “willfully.” This means you can try to contest a charge under 18 U.S.C. 1369 by showing that while you may have damaged a veterans’ memorial, you did so by accident.
What are the Penalties?
The destruction of a veterans’ memorial is a serious felony under federal law. The crime is punishable by:
- Confinement in federal prison for up to 10 years, and/or
- A fine.
Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?
Yes. You have the right to challenge a destruction of a veterans’ memorial charge with a legal defense. A common defense is to show that your actions were not willful. Recall that you are only guilty of this crime if you damaged a memorial on purpose. This means you are not guilty of a crime if your actions were committed on accident.
You can also contest a charge by your criminal defense attorney showing that the police somehow violated your rights. For example, maybe the authorities:
- Arrested you without probable cause,
- Coerced a confession, or
- Conducted an unlawful search and seizure.
In either of these instances, your criminal lawyer can move to have your charges reduced or even dismissed.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help
While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge an 18 U.S.C. 1369 charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various criminal charges under federal law. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!