Federal crimes are those which violate Federal criminal law and are prosecuted by United States Attorneys before Federal Judges. When you are charged with a Federal offense, it is vital to have a strong and effective defense to avoid an inevitable prison sentence under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Your lawyer must be conversant in the Federal Judicial Process, which differs substantially from the State process.
The list of federal crimes grows each year. Only the United States Attorney is authorized to prosecute some of these crimes; for example, killing a Bald Eagle or illegal reentry of an alien. However, in many situations, both the State and the U.S. Government has jurisdiction to prosecute a particular crime. Drug cases are a good example. No matter the amount, it is a violation to possess cocaine under both Texas and United States statutes.
Types of Federal Crimes
In drug cases, the Federal prosecutors have a tendency to look at the bigger picture. Since their focus is on the country at large, the agencies that normally investigate for the Attorney General (FBI, DEA, ATF, ICE or IRS), interest themselves in large amount delivery cases or historical conspiracies involving many co-defendants. However, the magnitude of the crime is more important to the local U.S. Attorney than the investigative agency that made the case. We have had several large drug cases investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Federal offenses include:
- Illegal possession of controlled weapons under the National Firearms Act
- Money Laundering
- Tax evasion
- Immigration offenses
- Drug trafficking
- Mortgage Fraud
- Bank, Wire and Mail fraud
State and Federal prosecutors often share jurisdiction in theft and embezzlement cases as well. Mortgage fraud is a good example. False statements to a bank will usually implicate the United States Bank and Wire Fraud statutes, but also may may fit within the definition of Theft under the Texas State statutes. but whether it winds up in Federal Court will depend on the complexity of the scheme to defraud or the amount of loss. We have had several situations, where the case started in State court and the Feds took over, either because of the complexity of the case or because it was attached to something the FBI was already working on.
Federal Agents are well trained, and well educated. Since many of the cases they are working on don’t involve the immediate need to stop a crime in progress, they are in no hurry to arrest. Their investigation may take years before it is ripe for indictment. They are particularly good at getting targets to talk to them, since their manner is not at all coercive. Our suggestion is, when an agent knocks on your door, get representation. Any conversation you have with these agents could result in evidence against you.
We are accomplished in defending our clients from overburdensome Federal charges. When available, we move to suppress statements or evidence taken in violation of our client’s Constitutional rights. At trial we energetically present our defenses and make the government prove its case. We challenge gaps in their evidence. We thoroughly investigate the evidence in possession of the United States, and conduct our own investigation. We rigorously cross-examine their witnesses and expose misidentifications, inconsistencies, exaggerations and lies. Our purpose is to create a reasonable doubt requiring acquittal or dismissal.
Contact Chernoff Law if you get an inkling that there is a federal investigation involving you, your associates, or your company. We don’t charge for an initial consultation and it may be the most important call of your life!