The federal government has a separate court system. You could face a harsher punishment if you are charged with a crime in a federal court. That is why you need an attorney who has experience representing people who have been charged with a federal crime.
Our Charlotte federal criminal lawyers know how high the stakes are. They will investigate all of the allegations that have been made against you. This will help them build the strongest defense possible.
Why Crimes are Sometimes a Federal Offense
Certain acts are classified as illegal under both federal and criminal law. However, you cannot be charged under both federal and criminal law. You must be charged under federal law or North Carolina law. In most cases, if you are charged with a crime in North Carolina, then it will be considered a state offense.
However, there are some incidents where it may be charged as a federal crime.
- A federal statute has been violated.
- You have committed a crime on federal property such as national park or government building.
- You have committed a state crime on national park, military base or other federal property.
- The crime has crossed state lines.
- You are being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration or Federal Bureau Investigation.
- A federal informant gave information that lead to your arrest.
The prosecutor will determine whether you are charged with a state or federal crime. It is a good idea to contact Charlotte federal criminal lawyers as soon as you find out that you are being investigated. You will already be prepared if you are charged with a criminal offense.
Common Federal Charges
Racketeering is a type of crime that involves interfering with commerce by using violence or threats. Robbery and extortion are examples of racketeering.
You may get a federal conspiracy charged if you and another person planned to commit a federal crime, and there is sufficient evidence to prove this.
You may get a federal drug if you are caught selling, trafficking or possessing an illegal drug. A drug crime is typically punished under state law. However, if you cross state lines, then you may face a federal charge.
If you are driving under the influence while at a national park, military base or other federal property, then you may be charged with a federal DWI.
Federal Gun Crimes
There are two main federal gun crimes that you can be charged with. They are felon in possession of ammunition or firearm and possessing a firearm in order to further a crime or drug trafficking.
Child Pornography Possession
If child pornography is distributed across the lines, then you can be charged with a federal crime. You may also be charged with a federal crime if the pornography is distributed outside of the United States.
The Federal Court Process
Federal court has a totally different process than state court. Federal prosecutors are required to have a grand jury. The grand jury has 12 to 23 people on it. The jury will give a federal indictment if they believe that you have committed a crime.
You will have to turn yourself or be arrested after you have been indicted. You will then make your initial appearance in court. You may appear before a federal judge. The judge will tell you about your charges and the rights that you have.
The court may then schedule a detention hearing. The discovery process is the next step. Each side will have the opportunity to present their evidence. Your attorney and prosecutors may come up with a plea deal. You should talk to your attorney before you accept a plea deal.
The pre-trial phase will move forward if you do not accept a plea deal. Your attorney will let you know whether you should admit anything to the court. The next step is the trial. The trial can last for several weeks. Both sides will be able to present their argument. After that, the jury will deliberate. The jury consists of 6 to 12 people. The jury has to unanimously agree guilty or not guilty.