NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 2nd October 2023, 05:31 pm
There are multiple instances in which a person might be accused of violating New York law without realizing that they have also violated federal criminal laws and regulations. It’s important to speak with an experienced New York attorney who can evaluate the case against you and determine whether you stand accused of violating both state and federal laws. Spodek Law Group is a group of expert New York lawyers with extensive experience in criminal defense.
Understanding the Interaction Between State and Federal Laws
Your attorney will advise you that a large amount of discretion takes place in cases that involve both federal and state laws. The Offices of the United States Attorney might not prosecute a case for a variety of reasons, even if that case would ordinarily fall under their jurisdiction. That said, they’ll have the option of passing the case to a District Attorney in the state of New York. If the District Attorneys believe the case warrants the attention of the federal government, the office might turn the case to the United States Attorney.
There are rare instances when the State District Attorney, State Attorney General, and United States Attorney will agree that the defendant should be charged both under state law and under federal law. In places where the New York state law overlaps with the federal law, a defendant must be charged either according to the state law or according to the federal law. This is because of the rule of double jeopardy. Double jeopardy refers to a defendant being tried twice for the same crime. Two trials are prohibited in the Constitution of the United States.
That said, there are times when the state law does not have a direct overlap with federal laws. Different acts are required to have been committed before a defendant is able to be charged by both the state and federal courts. This heightens the importance of a skilled criminal lawyer who knows how to distinguish between multiple cases and handle the demands of each case with expertise.
The Power of the Federal Government
The federal government has an unusual amount of power regarding criminal law. One example is in the use of marijuana. Some states have legalized the use of recreational marijuana and permit its sale. But federal law still prohibits the distribution and possession of marijuana. Even though selling and possessing marijuana is no longer prohibited by state law, the federal government has the right to prosecute people for the selling and possessing of marijuana because it does not comply with federal regulations.
The federal government has historically had the ability to use its extensive resources to prosecute crimes that are too big for one state to handle. It’s also been used to prosecute related crimes that occurred in several states, so that there wouldn’t need to be a separate trial in each individual state. Double jeopardy prevents the federal government from prosecuting a person when that person is already being prosecuted through the state, but it’s important to have an attorney who can navigate the complexities of these charges.
How Immunity Works in Federal Criminal Cases
If you were involved in a crime, albeit even indirectly, you may be facing the fact that you have a lot of jail time ahead of you. Since no one really wants to spend time in jail, it’s understandable that you may be seeking a way to reduce your sentence if not free yourself from punishment entirely. After all, you don’t want to be torn away from your family and livelihood. One method you may have heard about is immunity. This article will discuss immunity and its function in federal criminal cases.
What Is Immunity?
Essentially, there are three kinds of immunity. At its heart, however, immunity is a deal that can be negotiated with officers under certain circumstances. If the officers are desperate enough for information, they may be open to negotiation immunity terms with you. This is provided that you have information that is of worth to them. However, it’s important to distinguish the three different types of immunity, so you can be sure that you’re receiving the best deal.
Proffer Letter Immunity
The first kind of immunity is known as proffer letter immunity. This is also known as a King or Queen for a day letter. This requires you to speak to the government and inform them of the information that you have. This information you provide cannot then be used against you in court with two exceptions. The first exception is that they can collect evidence that the information you provided leads them to against you. So, if you disclose a location to them, they can investigate the area and if they find evidence, they can use that against you. Second, is that if you say something different in court than what you previously stated, they can use the previous information against you. This is the weakest form of immunity.
The second kind of immunity is known as letter immunity. During this form of immunity, you’ll tell the government what you know, and they promise not to use what you say against you. This also includes not being able to use evidence that they find based on the information you provided against you. Essentially, you’ll not face prosecution. Otherwise, the government will have to go through an ethics hearing to ensure that the evidence they discovered wasn’t because of the information you provided, and they’re often too busy to go through with that. This is a stronger form of immunity.
The last kind of immunity is known as statutory immunity. This type of immunity means that the judge examined the case and the possible testimony that you could provide. After their examination, they decided that you have a Fifth Amendment right that is considered to be legitimate. This means that you have the right not to say anything, but the judge orders you to tell what you do know to the jury. In return, everything you say won’t be held against you because of your Fifth Amendment right. Essentially, the information you offer cannot be used directly or indirectly against you. This includes if the government finds evidence that would otherwise incriminate you. Statutory immunity is also a strong form of immunity.
How You Can Receive It
Immunity can be rare to achieve and depends typically upon the case in question as well as the skill of lawyer that you have. For many law officers, they are being pressured by the family–in the case of murder–to locate a body. If you happen to know where the body might be and you didn’t do the killing yourself, you may be able to negotiate immunity. You can inform them where to find the body and everything you know about her killer, and you can walk away free. Another example is that if you are part of a drug ring, a government official might grant you immunity for revealing other members of the ring–particularly those in executive positions within the ring.
Essentially, it comes down to the details of the case and if your lawyer is savvy enough to negotiate for it. Immunity may be rare but it isn’t impossible to be granted. If you’re looking for a defense, you may consider immunity.