Sedition is a felony crime that seeks to oppose or overthrow the US government. Punishments for sedition can be up to 20 years in prison as well as serious fines. In this article, we will discuss the definition of sedition and how it is tried.
Federal Sedition Law
Title 18 of the US Code gives the federal law for sedition, rebellion, and treason. The crime of sedition is defined as the following:
Two or more people under the jurisdiction of the US government who conspire to:
- Overthrow the government
- Destroy the government by force
- Level a war against the government
- Hinder the US government authority or execution of US law by force
- To take US government property by force
While discussing ideas or sharing information is protected by rights to free speech, if steps are taken to execute the plans, then this crosses into sedition and is a crime.
Right to Free Speech and Sedition
The First Amendment protects the rights to free speech,s and simply talking about overthrowing the government by force or advocating for the use of force is not a crime. Sedition occurs when steps are taken towards the plan, such as discussing logistics or purchasing or distributing weapons.
Sedition and treason are complementary crimes but very different. Sedition is conspiring to rebel or attack the government, but treason is actively doing so or just aiding the US’s enemies.