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 What is the Hobbs Act?

The Hobbs Act makes it criminal for anyone “in any way or degree” to obstruct, delay, or affect interstate commerce by committing robbery or extortion.  In other words, in addition to the penalties for robbery or extortion, if your criminal actions also have a detrimental effect on interstate commerce, the Hobbs Act allows for the imposition of more severe penalties.

What Might Constitute a Violation of the Hobbs Act?

The Hobbs Act is rather broad and does not require that the person or company being robbed or extorted be personally involved in interstate commerce, but only that the crimes committed affect interstate commerce in some way.  Actions that could result in a conviction for violating the act might include the following:

  • use of violence or threats to obtain money and/or property from business or sales people;
  • use of violence or threats by a union agent to further union objectives;
  • any illegal conduct that negatively affects transportation or communication facilities;
  • causing a depletion in assets of a company that engages in interstate business

What Must Be Proven In Order To Convict Me Under the Hobbs Act?

In order to convict someone for robbery or extortion in violation of the Hobbs Act, the prosecution must prove that you have:

  1. induced or attempted to induce the victim to give up money or property;
  2. used the victim’s fear of physical harm or economic injury in order to obtain money or property;
  3. affected interstate commerce in some way by your alleged extortion or robbery

Should I Contact an Attorney?

If you are accused of violating the Hobbs Act or of committing robbery or extortion, you should contact a criminal attorney with experience in criminal defense immediately.  He or she will be able to represent you in any action brought against you and advise you of the defenses that are available to you.

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