NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 15th September 2023, 07:46 pm
Finding yourself facing federal charges can be an incredibly scary and overwhelming experience. When the full force of the U.S. federal government comes after you, it can feel like your life is spinning out of control.As a Kansas City federal defense lawyer with over 15 years of experience, I know how critical it is to have strong legal counsel on your side during this difficult time. The stakes are high and you need someone who understands the complexities of the federal system.In this article, I’ll provide an overview of federal crimes, penalties, and defense strategies to give you a better idea of what to expect. My goal is to educate and empower you during this challenging season.
Common Federal Crimes Prosecuted in Kansas City
Kansas City sits on the border between Kansas and Missouri, so our location makes us a hotbed for certain federal criminal prosecutions. Here are some of the most common federal charges I see in my practice:
Drug Trafficking and Distribution
With Kansas City positioned along the I-70 corridor, large quantities of illegal drugs are transported through our region. Federal agencies like the DEA aggressively prosecute drug trafficking and distribution crimes under Title 21 USC 841 and 846. Penalties are severe, especially when large quantities are involved.
Fraud and Financial Crimes
White collar federal crimes like wire fraud, money laundering, embezzlement, tax evasion, and Ponzi schemes are prosecuted under Title 18 USC 1341 and other statutes. These non-violent offenses still carry stiff sentences.
With the internet making access easier, federal law enforcement has cracked down hard on downloading, distributing or producing child pornography under 18 USC 2252. These crimes carry a high social stigma in addition to lengthy prison terms.
Kansas City has a high rate of gun violence, so federal agencies are active in prosecuting firearms violations like illegal possession, straw purchases, and selling to prohibited persons. Harsh mandatory minimums apply under 18 USC 922.
This list just scratches the surface, but these are some of the most common federal cases I see in Kansas City. Almost any crime crossing state lines or using the mail can potentially be charged federally.
Severe Penalties for Federal Convictions
The single biggest difference between state and federal charges is the sentencing. Federal crimes carry much stiffer penalties across the board.For example, possession with intent to distribute 5 kilograms of cocaine carries a 10 year mandatory minimum federally. In Missouri, the same amount of cocaine may lead to just 3-7 years in state prison.Other common federal penalties include:
- Decades long sentences under federal sentencing guidelines
- Massive fines in the hundreds of thousands or millions
- Asset forfeiture
- Long periods of supervised release after prison
- Loss of civil liberties
As you can see, the potential consequences for a federal conviction are severe. That‘s why building an aggressive defense is so critical.
Crafting an Effective Federal Criminal Defense Strategy
Federal cases move quickly, so you need experienced counsel on your side immediately. Skilled federal defense lawyers begin their work right away, analyzing the prosecution‘s approach to uncover weaknesses.Here are some of the most common strategies I employ when defending federal criminal cases:
File motions to suppress evidence
If evidence was obtained illegally in violation of your 4th or 5th Amendment rights, we can file motions to suppress, keeping it out of court. This can deeply damage the prosecution‘s case.
Dispute federal jurisdiction
Not every crime truly belongs in federal court. If the government is overreaching, we can fight to get the case dismissed or sent to state court.
Negotiate for plea bargains
Often we can negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or sentencing recommendations through plea agreements. This avoids the risk and expense of trial.
Present exculpatory evidence
We dig deep to uncover evidence and witness testimony that contradicts the government’s accusations against you. This introduces reasonable doubt.
Seek pretrial diversion
For first-time offenders facing less serious charges, we may seek pretrial diversion programs that avoid conviction altogether.
File discovery motions
We aggressively file motions seeking access to the prosecution‘s evidence. This allows us to build a stronger defense.
Seek charge dismissals
In cases with technical errors or little evidence, we push hard to convince prosecutors to drop charges pre-trial.As you can see, an experienced federal defense lawyer has many strategies to employ right from the start. The key is developing a defense theory and action plan tailored to the unique circumstances of your case.
Sentencing Mitigation Strategies
If we cannot get charges dropped pre-trial, my focus as your attorney shifts to minimizing penalties upon conviction.Federal judges have latitude to issue sentences below the guidelines. We present mitigating factors to argue for leniency. For example:
- Minimal criminal history
- Cooperation with prosecutors
- Mental health or addiction issues
- Charitable works
- Family impact of long sentence
Even a year or two of reduced prison time can mean everything. I know how to present these factors to judges in the most compelling light possible.
Appealing a Federal Conviction
If convicted at trial, filing an appeal may potentially overturn the verdict or reduce the sentence. Common appeal grounds include:
- Improperly admitted evidence
- Incorrect jury instructions
- Prosecutorial misconduct
- Ineffective assistance of counsel
The appeals process has strict deadlines and complex rules. You need an attorney well-versed in Appellate Procedure to litigate federal appeals effectively.