In the United States, the criminal justice system allows most prosecutions to occur at the state level.
These will often happen in the county or municipal courts. However, there are several situations where the federal government can step in over criminal manners, usually when the states lack jurisdiction. Crimes like terrorism would fit into this and the federal government would handle the case. In some cases, federal authorities will take over the crime, even though it is generally handled by the state because the defendant crossed state lines.
Illegal drugs, crimes that happen across state lines, tax fraud and other types of fraud, and crimes that are committed on federal property are all examples of federal crimes that the government will handle. These types of crimes are often harder to defend and can carry stiffer penalties that most other cases.
If you are being charged with a federal crime, no matter what type of federal crime it is, it is important to have the right legal team on your side. Handling a federal crime charge on your own is never a wise idea. Our team understands how these federal crime charges work and can help walk you through the process to help limit your charges and get your record cleared.
Types of Federal and Criminal Charges
There are a number of different types of crimes that you can be charged for on the federal level. Understanding what falls under this category can help you come up with the best defense for your needs. Our team of professionals can step in and provide you with the best defense possible, making sure you can limit the charge and even get it erased. Some examples of types of federal charges include:
- Terrorism: Any act of terrorism or threat of terrorism is considered a federal crime. These are taken seriously and any type of terrorism, whether big or small can become a federal crime.
- Cybercrime: There are a variety of cybercrimes available out there that would fall under this category. Whether it is identity theft, bullying online, or tricking others or scamming them can be counted in this kind of crime.
- Organized crime: This type of crime is a category of local groupings, national, or transnational groupings of enterprises run by criminals to engage in activities that are illegal, usually to make a profit. Some of these criminal organizations, including terrorist groups, will be motivated by politics. These organizations will often force people to do some kind of business with them to provide protection while they make money in the process.
- White collar crime: White collar crime is often known as corporate crime. It will refer to a financially motivated, often nonviolent crime, that is committed either by government professionals or businesses. This can include options like Ponzi schemes, insider trading, cybercrime, embezzlement, wage theft, fraud, money laundering, and copyright infringement.
- Immigration offenses: There are several immigration offenses that can become federal crimes as well. While the list is long, some of these include tax evasion or fraud that has more than $10,000 attached to it, violent crimes, money laundering, child pornography, sexual abuse of a child, firearm or drug trafficking, rape, and murder to name a few. Many immigrants do not understand the system and may be charged with a federal crime they did not commit due to their immigrant status. Hiring the right attorney can help with this.
- Drug trafficking: Drug trafficking of any kind of illegal substance across state lines or across the border from Mexico to the United States or in any other direction is a federal crime. It does not matter the amount or type of substance, though certain types of substances and larger amounts can make the charges more severe.
- Airplane hijacking: Airplane hijacking is the unlawful seizure of an aircraft by either a whole group or an individual. Since this type of hijacking can put the lives of many individuals at risk quickly and will require specialists to handle, it is considered a federal crime.
- Trespassing on federal property: Trespassing on any federal property, including on any military area, can cause you to be charged with a federal crime. It can also include other government buildings and areas where you do not have authorization to enter at all, or if you trespass on that area after hours.
- Child abuse, exploitation, and pornography: Each of these cases on their own can be considered a federal crime and when you are charged with more than one, it can become a big charge that is hard to fight. Child pornography, whether you participated in creating it or you were someone who purchased and had it on a computer, can be one of the largest charges on the federal level for this kind of issue.
- Attempting to overthrow the government: Any attempt to overthrow a government is seen as a federal crime. When this happens and you are accused of this type of crime, it is important to get a good federal crime attorney on your side.
- Identity theft: Identity theft is when someone knowingly steals information and poses as another person in order to get money or other benefits. This is easier to do with online means than ever before and often the person committing identity theft can get away with it for a long time before it is caught. It takes time to untangle all of this and often the perpetrator is unfound. But if they are found, then it becomes a federal crime.
- Wire fraud: Most people who need to wire money need to send off a decent amount of money at the time. This could be for buying a home or something similar. Because the monetary amount is so high, it is not uncommon for wiring fraud to happen and the money to get sent to the wrong place in the process. This is what makes it such a high-level crime.
- Credit card fraud: Credit card fraud has cost millions of dollars through the years for those who find their cards are being charged too much money for purchases that they did not make. This can also cost many hours of time for those individuals who then need to try and get the money back.
- Kidnapping, rape, or murder that goes across state lines: When these things happen within one state, it is often up to the state to handle the case and figure out what is going to happen with the individual in charge. There are still some stiff penalties and jail time available for them. But once they happen and cross state lines, they turn into a federal crime that can be much worse.
What is a Federal Crime for Violence?
When a federal crime is considered violent, it will include any use, or even attempted use or threatened use, of physical force that is against property or a person. This can also include any time there is a substantial risk that physical force is going to be used while the felony is committed.
This means that while burglary is considered an ordinary felony, if the burglar in the process threatens to beat the homeowner or has a weapon out, the crime could be elevated up to a crime of violence. This results in a harsher punishment. Just by carrying a firearm during the crime can add up to 30 years to your sentence. The law is harder on career criminals who have committed one of these crimes before.
Who Investigates and Punishes These Federal Crimes?
In most situations, the FBI will investigate all federal crimes. Depending on the type of crime being investigated, the Secret Services, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the IRS, and the DEA can be included in this as well.
If the offender is charged and sentenced, they will do time in a federal prison for that felony. Because of the nature of these types of crimes, federal prisons often house mostly white-collar and non-violent crimes. On the other hand, state prisons are more likely to house those offenders who were convicted of violent crimes.
Hiring an Attorney to Serve You
If you are facing a federal crime, it is best to have a good attorney on your side. These cases are often harder to defend on your own and many defendants who try to go it on their own end up failing. Hire an experienced attorney to be on your side through the whole process.
Our team is here to help serve you. When facing a federal crime charge, it is difficult to know what is going to happen next and what steps you should take. Our team will help walk you through the process, explaining what happens at each step and what you should expect. We can come up with the best defense for your case, finding the right evidence and speaking for you during the case. Often we can reach a settlement or agreement that is in your best interest.
If you are being charged with a federal crime, contact us today so we can get started on your case.