24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196




When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

Can Hobbs Act charges lead to mandatory minimum sentences?


Can Hobbs Act Charges Lead to Mandatory Minimum Sentences?

The Hobbs Act, which prohibits robbery or extortion affecting interstate or foreign commerce, is a frequently used federal criminal statute. A common question is whether a Hobbs Act conviction can trigger mandatory minimum sentences. The answer depends on the specific circumstances of the case.

Overview of the Hobbs Act

Enacted in 1946, the Hobbs Act (18 U.S.C. § 1951) prohibits actual or attempted robbery or extortion that affects interstate or foreign commerce. The Act covers not only the actual taking of property, but also obtaining property under “color of official right,” which essentially means through the abuse of one’s public office or position.

To be convicted under the Hobbs Act, the government must prove two elements: (1) the defendant induced a victim to part with property; (2) through the “wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence or fear, or under color of official right.” Additionally, the act must have at least a “de minimis” effect on interstate commerce, although this requirement is broadly interpreted.

The maximum sentence for a Hobbs Act violation is 20 years imprisonment. Fines and supervised release may also be imposed. Unlike some statutes, the Hobbs Act does not contain mandatory minimum sentences except in certain specific circumstances.

Mandatory Minimums Under 924(c)

The most common way for a Hobbs Act charge to trigger a mandatory minimum sentence is through a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). Section 924(c) imposes mandatory additional penalties for using or carrying a firearm in relation to a “crime of violence.”

The mandatory minimums under 924(c) are:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
  • First conviction: 5 years
  • Second conviction: 25 years
  • Third conviction: Life imprisonment

These penalties must run consecutively (or “stack”) on top of any other sentence imposed, including for the predicate crime of violence itself. So a defendant convicted of both a Hobbs Act robbery and a 924(c) charge would face a minimum of 5 years consecutive to whatever sentence is imposed for the Hobbs Act violation.

Whether a Hobbs Act conviction qualifies as a “crime of violence” under 924(c) has been the subject of much litigation. In 2019, the Supreme Court held that Hobbs Act robbery constitutes a crime of violence. However, the status of Hobbs Act extortion as a crime of violence is less settled.

Mandatory Minimums for Brandishing or Discharging Firearm

Section 924(c) also contains enhanced mandatory minimums when the defendant brandishes or discharges a firearm in connection with a crime of violence:

  • Brandishing: 7 years
  • Discharging: 10 years

Like the 5-year mandatory minimum, these penalties must run consecutively to any other sentence.

Mandatory Minimums Under Certain Statutes

There are a few other federal statutes under which a Hobbs Act violation could also lead to mandatory minimum sentences. For example:

  • 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), the Armed Career Criminal Act, imposes a 15-year mandatory minimum on defendants with 3 prior “violent felony” convictions who are convicted of unlawfully possessing a firearm. Some courts have held that Hobbs Act robbery qualifies as a violent felony under this statute.
  • 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c) contains a mandatory life sentence for certain defendants with two prior “serious violent felony” convictions who are convicted of a new “serious violent felony.” Hobbs Act robbery likely qualifies as a serious violent felony here as well.

However, it is relatively rare for these statutes to come into play in a Hobbs Act prosecution.

Sentencing Guidelines Enhancements

While not mandatory minimums, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines do contain several provisions under which a Hobbs Act violation may result in an enhanced recommended sentencing range:

  • Possession of a dangerous weapon adds 2 offense levels
  • Brandishing or discharging a firearm adds 3-7 levels depending on conduct
  • Bodily injury adds 2-6 levels depending on severity
  • Abduction of a person adds 4 levels
  • Loss greater than $20,000 adds enhancements on a sliding scale

Because the Guidelines are advisory, these enhancements do not automatically increase the defendant’s sentence. But they may lead to longer sentences within the statutory range if adopted by the court.

Defenses to Mandatory Minimums

For defendants facing a mandatory minimum sentence in connection with a Hobbs Act charge, there are a few potential defenses to keep in mind:

  • Challenge the “crime of violence” status – Argue that the specific Hobbs Act violation does not qualify as a crime of violence under 924(c) or other statutes with mandatory minimums.
  • Challenge the firearm conviction – Contest that the defendant did not actually use, carry, brandish, or discharge a firearm under 924(c).
  • “Safety valve” provision – 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f) eliminates mandatory minimums for certain non-violent first-time drug offenders. May apply in cases where Hobbs Act charge is related to drug trafficking.
  • Substantial assistance departure – Providing “substantial assistance” to the government in investigating or prosecuting others may warrant a sentence below an otherwise applicable mandatory minimum.
  • Constitutional arguments – Mandatory minimums may sometimes be challenged as cruel and unusual punishment or a violation of separation of powers.

However, mandatory minimum sentences are notoriously difficult to avoid. Having experienced defense counsel argue against their applicability is critical.


While the Hobbs Act itself does not contain mandatory minimum sentences, such sentences may come into play through:

  • A conviction under 924(c) for using a firearm in connection with a Hobbs Act robbery or extortion.
  • Application of other statutes such as 924(e) or 3559(c) in limited circumstances.
  • Sentencing Guidelines enhancements that increase the recommended sentencing range.

Defendants facing the prospect of a mandatory minimum sentence should explore defenses focused on the inapplicability of such sentences to their specific case. But in general, Hobbs Act charges should be taken very seriously given the potential sentencing implications.

Schedule Your Consultation Now