The federal government has its own court system, where the stakes are much higher. To protect your rights and your freedom, you’ll need a federal criminal attorney with the licensing and experience to work within the federal system. The federal court system’s rules and procedures are different than in state courts, and in most cases, federal offenses have harsher punishments, higher fines, and longer prison terms.
Federal criminal lawyers know just how high those stakes are, and they’ll thoroughly investigate the accusations against you and gather supporting evidence. From then on, we’ll build the strongest case possible and work as hard as we can to achieve a positive outcome.
When Crimes are Charged as Federal Offenses
Criminal acts are usually illegal under state and federal law, but you can’t be charged with both. In most cases, if you’re accused of an offense within the state, you’ll face charges at that level. However, some factors lead to federal charges, such as:
- Violations of federal statutes
- Committing crimes on federal property, such as within a national park or federal building
- Committing a state crime on federal property, such as a national park or military base
- Criminal activities that cross state lines
- Being investigated and arrested by the FBI or DEA
Whether you’re charged with a federal or state crime may be at the prosecutor’s discretion. Once you’re under investigation, though, it’s important to contact a federal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Common Federal Charges
Defense attorneys with federal experience can represent and defend clients against the following charges:
- RICO/racketeering: Generally, racketeering charges involve interference with legal commerce using threats and violence. RICO encompasses several offenses and allows criminal ringleaders to be charged for things they ordered others to do.
- Conspiracy: Under US code, you may face conspiracy charges if federal authorities gather proof that you and another person planned and took steps toward the commission of a specific federal offense.
- Drug crimes: Drug possession, manufacturing, trafficking, and selling are all federal crimes. However, simple sales and possession are usually charged under state law. When offenses involve trafficking allegations, the crossing of state lines, or large quantities of drugs, they’re more likely to be charged on a federal level.
- Federal DUI: If you’re driving in a national park, on a military base, or on federal property and your BAC is above the legal limit, you may be charged under multiple federal laws.
- Gun crimes: Along with state firearm offenses, there are federal charges to consider as well. Federal gun charges are often pursued aggressively, and a conviction may result in a long mandatory prison sentence.
Federal Court: The Process
Federal court processes are significantly different from state procedures. For a federal prosecutor to charge you with a felony, a grand jury must be called. The grand jury will review the evidence and decide whether you will be charged, and if they believe there’s probable cause, you’ll be federally indicted.
After the indictment, you will likely be arrested or you’ll turn yourself in. From there, you’ll appear in front of a judge, where you’ll learn which charges you’re facing. If the government is requesting pretrial detention or if the case involves charges with rebuttable presumptions, the court will set a detention hearing date. Next comes the discovery phase, where the defense and the prosecution request evidence and share information. At that time, your attorney and the prosecutor may negotiate for a plea deal. Always consult a federal defense attorney before making a plea agreement.
Contact a Federal Lawyer for Help
Whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, every federal charge should be taken very seriously. The best way to increase your chances of avoiding conviction is to work with an experienced and skilled federal attorney who will build a solid defense and protect your rights.