Federal crimes are subject to their own legal process and can have more serious consequences than non-federal criminal charges. For individuals charged with a federal crime in New York, retaining the services of a federal criminal lawyer could make the difference between freedom and incarceration.
Definition Of A Federal Crime
Federal crimes are those malfeasant acts that are deemed illegal by the United States government. When said actions are alleged, they are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBO) and other government entities. Additionally, those charged with these types of crimes and prosecuted by federal courts.
The Federal Crimes Process
Those arrested on suspicion of committing a specific federal offense are subjected to a specific legal process that encompasses several steps.
When federal prosecutors collect what they feel is substantial evidence that an individual has or is committing a federal offense, a complaint is filed. This complaint includes the specific alleged act the suspect is thought to have been committing and the reasons (evidence) needed to convince government authorities that the person in question should be arrested.
Once the prosecutors document this information, government authorities put out an arrest warrant and apprehend the suspect in question.
Initial Appearance Of The Suspect
Shortly after their arrest, the suspect appears before a judge, who will determine of the government possesses enough evidence to indict said individual and set bond. A bond hearing is typically held within three days of the arrest to determine of the suspect should be free to exit custody provided they can pay bond.
Usually, no more than 10 days following the alleged perpetrator’s arrest, a federal court will hold an initial hearing at which prosecutors will provide evidence proving the suspect committed the act in question. This procedure also enables the suspect’s attorney to refute charges. If prosecutors choose to pursue an indictment, the initial evidence is presented to a grand jury. This adjudicating body will ultimately decide whether to grant the indictment.
Should the grand jury grant the indictment, a federal arraignment is held. During this proceeding, formal federal charges are levied against the suspect, the suspect is informed of their rights, the accused enters a guilty or non-guilty plea and a trial date is established.
Should the defendant plead not guilty, the case will be tried in federal court. This proceeding will determine the suspect’s fate. However, in certain instances, the prosecution and defense might agree to a plea deal.
If at the conclusion of the trial, an adjudicating body finds the accused guilty, said individual can make an appeal. Appeals must be made within ten days of a guilty verdict.
Types Of Federal Crimes
Common federal offenses include:
Federal Drug Charges
Among the more common federal drug charges include drug trafficking, which is the act of transporting illicit substances across state and international boundaries.
Federal Weapons Charges
Possession of certain firearms or weapons are federal offenses.
White Collar Crimes
These offenses are typically financial in nature and are designed to cheat victims out of money. Common white collar crimes include Ponzi schemes.
These acts (which are typically violent) are often committed by extreme political or religious zealots as a means of intimidation against peoples and institutions whom share views inconsistent with their own.
Other potential federal offenses include cybersecurity crimes (computer hacking, identify theft), kidnapping, counterfeiting, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
The Importance Of Hiring A Federal Criminal Lawyer
Defending a case against the government is usually a daunting task. In most instances, federal prosecutors do not take action against an alleged criminal perpetrator unless they possess serious evidence. it us a federal defense attorney’s responsibility to put as much doubt and uncertainty into the federal authorities case as possible.
Accomplishing this feat requires an extensive knowledge of federal criminal law and significant experience trying federal cases. Though skilled in typical criminal law, a non-federal criminal defense attorney may simply lack this knowledge and experience. Furthermore, the punishments rendered for federal crimes could be harsher than non-federal offenses. Therefore, anyone charged with a federal crime is strongly advised to retain the services of an experienced federal criminal lawyer.