U.S. federal law says you commit a federal crime if you break or enter a “carrier facility” with the intent to commit theft once inside. The offense is a serious federal felony that is punishable by up to a decade in federal prison. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you are facing any type of federal criminal charge.

What is Breaking or Entering a Carrier Facility Under Federal Law?

Federal law defines a “carrier facility” as any railroad car, vessel, aircraft, motor truck, wagon, or other vehicle or any pipeline system that contains shipments of freight or other property.

18 USC 2117 is the federal statute that sets forth the federal crime of breaking or entering a carrier facility. Per this law, you commit a crime if you knowingly and willfully break or enter any carrier facility with the intent to commit theft.

You can generally be charged with this crime by doing one of two things:

  1. Breaking the seal or lock of a carrier facility with the intent to commit theft, or
  2. Physically entering a carrier facility with the intent to commit theft.

Consider, for example, the situation where you sneak up to a beer delivery truck that is parked for the night. You break the lock on the truck to steal a case of beer. You commit the crime of breaking or entering a carrier facility as soon as you break the lock because you broke the lock of a truck that contained shipments and you did so with the intent to steal those shipments.

What are the Penalties?

A violation of 18 USC 2117 is a federal felony. The crime is punishable by:

  • Custody in federal prison for up to 10 years, and/or
  • A fine of up to $250,000.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. People charged with breaking or entering a carrier facility can contest the charge with a legal defense. Recall that you are only guilty of this crime if you break and enter a carrier facility with the specific intent to commit theft. This means you can always raise the defense that although you break into a carrier facility, you did not do so with this particular purpose.

Your criminal defense attorney can also try to raise a mistake of fact defense. Per this defense, your attorney can try to show that you reasonably believed that you had permission to enter the carrier facility.

Your criminal lawyer can also try to prove that the police somehow violated one of your constitutional rights. Your lawyer can generally make this showing if the police:

  • Coerced a confession,
  • Arrested you without probable cause, or
  • Conducted an unlawful search or seizure.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a breaking or entering charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced federal crime attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various breaking or entering offenses. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!