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Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when the statute refers to an offense that 'by its nature' involves a substantial risk of force?

When the statute refers to an offense that 'by its nature' involves a substantial risk of force, it is referring to a type of crime that inherently carries a significant likelihood that physical force may be used during its commission. This is part of the definition of a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. section 924(c)(3). The legislative history of this section indicates that Congress intended a categorical approach to this language. This means that certain offenses are considered to inherently involve a substantial risk of physical force, regardless of the specific circumstances of the crime. For example, the Senate Report mentions burglary as an offense that would fall into this category, as it inherently involves a substantial risk of physical force against another person or property. This is because the act of burglary often involves breaking into a property, which could lead to confrontations with occupants or damage to property.
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