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.