With over two centuries of nationhood, the United States of America has fought for certain rights and freedoms that seem like such a part of daily life to modern citizens, living without them would be incomprehensible. Among these, and considered by many to be the most important, free speech has been cited as one of the hallmarks of American culture. Despite how useful free speech is to discuss unpopular solutions to particular problems, it can also shield discussion that seems destructive. However, the government has charges such as seditious conspiracy, which provide a criminal code for those who abuse their free speech rights to the point of possibly threatening the state.
Seditious conspiracy is a criminal charge that affects a group of individuals who take free speech too far for authorities to feel safe. While the first amendment usually protects people who have differing ideas from rest of the population, the law does not extend these rights to those who make threats. As the Supreme Court has verified, free speech extends to protests, the exchange of ideas, and points in debate, for some examples, but does not include direct threats to a person’s safety.
The same rules apply for the federal government, which employs millions of people. With all of these people under the scrutiny of what government is defined as, potential dangers against the government as a physical body are taken extremely seriously. Although sedition charges have been used to attack those who threaten the idea of the government in the past, which is a policy that has mostly been abandoned, such charges are now usually reserved for physical threats.
To learn more about the criminal penalties for being convicted of seditious conspiracy, contact a criminal lawyer.