Being charged with any form of crime can have serious repercussions, but facing federal charges can be especially devastating, especially if you’re innocent of the crime.
In general, federal offenses are prosecuted a lot more aggressively than state crimes, and the penalties for federal crimes tend to be a lot harsher compared to those prosecuted at the state level. Many federal criminal offenses carry long prison sentences with the most serious crimes being punishable by a life sentence in federal prison or even the death penalty.
If you or a loved one is facing federal criminal charges, it’s essential to hire a Toledo federal crimes lawyer who will be capable of handling your case. The stakes here are high, and you want to work with a lawyer who has the experience, knowledge, and skills to fight for you.
At Patituce & Associates, our team of Toledo criminal defense lawyers is always ready to fight for your rights and protect your interests. We don’t shy away from doing whatever is necessary to give you the most significant advantage in court, and we have a proven track record of success in federal cases.
What Is a Federal Crime?
A federal crime is any criminal act or behavior that violated the U.S. federal laws or legislation, or any criminal act committed against the U.S. federal property or the U.S. federal government. Federal crimes are usually investigated by federal government agencies like the CIA, FBI, DEA, etc. They are also prosecuted by federal prosecutors and heard in federal courts.
If you’re accused of committing a federal crime, you should seek knowledgeable and experienced counsel promptly. Don’t forget that the federal government is powerful and it has all the money and resources to conduct a thorough, lengthy, and even invasive investigation against you.
You will also likely be brought into custody where you may be subjected to intense questioning by federal agents who know how to get the answers they need from people.
Contact an experienced federal crimes lawyer in Toledo, OH today. You can rest assured that the team at Patituce & Associates will work to protect your rights and vigorously defend you against the actions of the federal government.
How Is a Federal Crime Different From a State or Local Crime?
You might be wondering what are the differences between federal and state crimes. Most criminal offenses in Ohio are state crimes and are therefore tried in the local or state courts. However, some criminal acts violate both state and federal laws, and these can be prosecuted in federal or state courts (or both), with some crimes being always tried in federal courts.
Laws and Jurisdiction
The federal criminal courts were created under the United States Constitution and the courts have jurisdiction over any criminal charges that are brought by the federal government against an individual. Federal criminal charges can be brought against anyone accused of illegal conduct that happens on federal property, crosses international borders or state lines, involves a federal agent, or violates federal law.
There are many federal statutes covering a great variety of criminal offenses, which may result in federal charges, including violent crimes like homicide and murder, white-collar crimes like money laundering and embezzlement, as well as drug-related crimes like drug trafficking and smuggling. The provisions for these come from the federal criminal code, which is the main criminal code for the federal government.
Different Court Procedures
The criminal court procedures for federal criminal charges are different from those for state crimes. For instance, the court proceedings of federal charges are held in a different courthouse than state charges and are presided over by federal judges.
The federal criminal courts also have complicated procedures, usually involving multiple federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol, the Secret Service, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Even if you’ve been charged with a crime at the state level before, facing a federal charge will be a different issue altogether. It requires the expertise of a Toledo federal crimes lawyer who is familiar with the most effective strategies to use.
Federal Crime Cases We Handle
Our team is experienced in handling the full range of federal criminal defense, including the following cases.
- White-collar crimes, such as bank fraud, wire fraud, tax fraud, etc.
- Weapons and firearm offenses, such as trafficking or transferring firearms without a license, possession of ammunition or firearm by a convicted felon, etc.
- Drug, financial, or criminal conspiracies
- Felonies involving the FBI, DEA, Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives, etc.
- Federal drug charges, such as trafficking and possession
- Corporate crimes
- Environmental crimes
- Murder and homicide charges, including matters with extensive forensic evidence
- Internet sex crimes, including possession of child pornography
If you’re convicted of a federal crime, you face strict punishment and limitations on your freedoms. It’s likely that you will lose the right to own or possess firearms, as well as your voting rights. You may also face obstacles when seeking housing or employment.
Our team has substantial federal criminal defense and courtroom experience to vigorously fight on your behalf. Work with someone with the experience and willpower to fight for you in the most difficult circumstances of federal criminal defense. Give us a call today.
What to Expect in a Federal Crime Case
People facing federal criminal charges typically want to know what to expect in the process, so that they can work with their legal counsel better and make better decisions. Here are some of the things to expect in a typical federal criminal case.
In federal cases, a grand jury listens to the witnesses and the prosecutor and then votes in secret whether they believe there’s enough evidence to charge the individual with a crime. The grand jury might decide not to charge the person depending on the available evidence, and no indictment would come from the grand jury.
These are formal agreements between the federal prosecutor and the defendant where the defendant chooses to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence or reduced charges.
Before the federal criminal trial starts, both the prosecution and the defense lawyer will submit pretrial motions. These are requests for the judge to hear arguments before the trial begins. Most of the pretrial motions are submitted to either exclude or admit specific evidence at trial. When successful, pretrial motions can help the accused to avoid potentially severe consequences.
The trial phase is a structured process where all the facts surrounding the case will be presented to a judge and jury, who will then decide whether the defendant is guilty of the charges brought. During the trial, the prosecution will use evidence and witnesses to prove to the jury that the defendant committed the crime. The defendant will also tell their side of the story using evidence and witnesses.
In case a conviction is made, the defense can file several motions following the trial. These are referred to as post-trial motions. Some examples of post-trial motions include motions for judgment of acquittal, motions for new trial, and motions to set aside, vacate, or correct a sentence.
Federal Crime Penalties
As mentioned earlier, federal crime convictions carry strict sentencing guidelines. In fact, there are guidelines in place that put limits on the amount of discretion that a judge has when issuing a sentence. These sentencing guidelines work alongside the maximum and minimum penalties set by Congress.
If convicted, sentencing usually happens months after the trial. The federal officials have to investigate and prepare a presentence report for the defendant’s challenge and judge’s review. The judge will then hold a sentencing hearing, where the defendant and prosecution or victims may present statements.
If the judge gives a prison sentence, the defendant is taken to a federal prison. The defendant may also be forced to pay huge fines and restitution to the victims. In the most extreme of cases, the defendant may be sentenced to the death penalty.
Moreover, having a federal criminal conviction on your record could be detrimental to your personal life. Your relationship with family and friends may be destroyed permanently, and you may no longer be welcome in your community. This is why you can’t afford to place your case in the hands of an inexperienced lawyer.
How Our Toledo Federal Crimes Lawyers Can Help You
The best thing you can do when facing federal criminal charges is to retain the best legal counsel you can find. Federal criminal proceedings can confuse or mystify lawyers who are only experienced in defending clients in a state court.
You want a lawyer experienced in navigating the federal system, one with an excellent reputation, track record, and working relationships with the federal officials that will be handling your charge. We believe that we are the best choice for you and we can help you get the best possible outcome.
Call a Toledo Federal Crime Attorney Today!
When dealing with a federal criminal case, we can develop and build a personalized defense technique to help you avoid the possibility of conviction at trial. At Patituce & Associates, we always work hard to level the playing field at a time when it feels like you are against the world.
Patituce & Associates is a nationally recognized law firm serving clients in Ohio and throughout the U.S. Call us at 419-737-4556 to schedule a free and confidential case assessment with a Toledo federal crimes lawyer.