Colorado Springs Federal Criminal Lawyers
Federal legislation in the United States makes certain acts illegal. These acts are referred to as federal crimes or federal offenses. Most federal cases are opened by agencies such as the Secret Service, Internal Revenu Service, or the Federal Bureau of Investigations. If you’re under investigation, you’ll face charges once substantial evidence is gathered. At that point, the United States Attorneys office will charge you. Federal crime charges are serious, and legal representation is recommended.
What Qualifies as a Federal Crime?
Several crimes are considered federal offenses. Carjacking, mail fraud, bank robbery, and tax evasion are all federal crimes. But some of the most common federal offenses include the following:
1. Drug Trafficking
You could face up to 40 years in prison for a federal drug trafficking conviction. Drug trafficking is importing, transporting, or selling illegal substances. Heroin, cocaine, and marijuana are the most commonly trafficked drugs. It’s possible to face a state-level charge, and then have the charges moved up to the federal level.
Federal weapons charges cover a wide range of situations. You could face a federal charge if you own, use, sell, or distribute deadly weapons or guns.
According to federal law, it’s illegal to import or sell firearms or deadly weapons across state lines. The only exception is if you’re federally licensed as a firearms dealer. It’s also illegal to directly sell or provide an out-of-state individual with a firearm or deadly weapon. If you know the person lives out-of-state, and you do the transaction, then you’ve just committed a federal crime. However, there are some exceptions.
A licensed firearm dealer can sell to another licensed firearm dealer, even if that dealer lives out-of-state. It’s also legal to loan a firearm to someone else for legal sporting purposes. Another exception is if you’re exchanging the firearm because of a deceased person’s legally binding will.
In addition to firearms, it’s illegal to transport any destructive weapons across state lines. These include but aren’t limited to grenades and bombs.
3. Counterfeiting Money or Products
Counterfeiting is the act of copying a product or currency with the intent to deceive. In addition to money, it’s also illegal to counterfeit items such as shoes, purses, computers, and many other products.
Kidnapping is illegally taking a person against their will. This crime is often committed in order to gain a ransom. But parental kidnapping sometimes happens during child custody battles. It either case, kidnapping is a federal crime.
5. Child Pornography
Child pornography includes writings, video games, videos, images, and other forms of media that use children for the purpose of sexual gratification. The same applies to media that presents children in a sexual manner or engaged in sexual acts. It is illegal to own, create, or sell child pornography.
Generally speaking, federal crimes are those that can affect people or organizations beyond state boundaries.
The Importance of Legal Representation
When facing a federal criminal charge, it’s smart to have legal representation. This isn’t the time to take a chance by representing yourself. Dealing with the federal government isn’t an easy task. You have to remember they’ve had months or even years to build a case against you. You need an attorney who knows how to handle everything the Feds will throw your way.
Handling a federal case also requires a lot of work. There are motions to write, research to perform, and much more required to build your defense. This can include looking for inadmissible evidence, throwing out testimony, contacting expert witnesses, and suppressing evidence. Additionally, you’ll need to find witnesses to speak on your behalf.
A good attorney knows how to handle a federal case. No attorney can guarantee your freedom, but a good attorney will put up a good fight. And in a worst-case scenario, a good attorney will know how to advise you on the best course of action.
Colorado Springs Federal Appeals Lawyers
For many of the same reasons why a skilled and experienced federal criminal defense lawyer is an asset in the trial phase of a criminal case, the Colorado Springs appellate process can be much less intimidating with the assistance of a federal criminal appeals advocate fighting for you or your loved one. What makes this process especially foreign to criminal defendants is that the appellate judges make their decisions in chambers rather than in front of the court. They read and analyze the motions and briefs that the parties file to drill down on discrete legal issues to consider. This is very different from a trial where judges and juries listen to the oral testimony of witnesses to make decisions about the facts of the case.
What are the Major Differences Between the Processes of a Federal Criminal Trial and a Colorado Springs Federal Appeal?
In a trial, your defense attorney makes oral arguments to a jury and/or judge. In an appeal, a panel of judges reads the briefs filed by both sides and decides on the legal issues raised based on the research and arguments of the attorneys. The judges are not concerned with new evidence that the defense attorney may want them to consider. They are analyzing the record of the trial for instances of legal errors that entitle the defendant to a new trial or the reversal of his conviction, such as a judge refusing to admit evidence that would have been helpful to the defense, a judge allowing an expert to testify who was not qualified or the prosecution engaging in some sort of misconduct. Appellate attorneys spend a lot of time researching case law to argue their cases on appeal.
You may have the chance to give oral argument in an appeal, but the talking will be done by the defense attorney instead of the defendant taking the stand to testify like at trial. Witnesses will not appear at oral argument on appeal. Judges will ask specific questions about the facts and the law on appeal for the attorneys to answer in court. The judges will issue a decision in writing after all of the argument has concluded. It can take a long time to get word of a final decision.
Colorado Springs Federal Appeals Lawyers
If the final decision is not favorable, you can decide whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or seek to have your sentence modified in some other way. Appeals to the Supreme Court can be expensive and are not likely to be heard by the Supreme Court.
What Possibilities Exist to Have a Federal Sentence Reduced or Modified?
Unlike a federal criminal appeal, a motion to have a sentence modified or reduced is filed in district court. It is decided by a district court judge and can be based on a variety of factors. It allows you and your attorney the opportunity to demonstrate to the judge why you should not have to serve the full sentence that was handed down.
What are the Immediate Steps to Take in Figuring Out the Basics of a Colorado Springs Federal Criminal Appeal?
Simply put, the sooner you speak with a federal criminal appeals attorney you are comfortable with, the better chance you will have of not missing deadlines or otherwise damaging your chances of a potentially successful appeal. Many defendants choose to work with a different lawyer or firm than the one who handled the initial phase of the case because appeals take a special set of legal knowledge, skills and experience. Given that federal criminal appeals revolve around the details of the record at the trial court, you need to give your attorney enough time to become familiar with the facts of the case and the proceedings below. Do not delay in beginning your Colorado Springs federal criminal appeal with the help of a trusted lawyer.