Federal Criminal Defense
While some criminal offenses are prosecuted at the state or local level, crimes that violate the United States Code (U.S. Code) are prosecuted in federal court. Federal prosecutors have the ability to bring a number of charges against a defendant including, but not limited to, narcotics offenses, computer crimes, child pornography, weapons charges, tax fraud, money laundering, and white collar crimes. Incurring a federal record can have profound consequences for those convicted of such crimes. Given the gravity of the charges and the potential for lasting damage, it is imperative that anyone facing such a charge retains the services of a federal criminal defense attorney.
Federal Court Procedure
Procedure in federal court is different than that in many state court systems. Many state systems allow for bail in most, if not all, offenses; the more serious the offense, the higher the bail amount. In federal court, bail is used to ensure someone’s return to court if a judge finds that a potential risk of flight can be eliminated. But the judge making the release decision must also make a finding that there are conditions that can assure the safety of the community before granting bail or release. There is a “presumption” against release for charges that carries a maximum penalty of ten or more years in prison. This means that the deck is automatically stacked against someone who has been arrested; to overcome the presumption, information has to be presented that shows that the person is neither a danger to the community nor a risk of flight.
Federal cases are prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office. Individual prosecutors, or Assistant United States Attorneys, have lower caseloads and the help of well-resourced federal investigative agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). While in state court there are some cases that will be dismissed because the prosecutor is simply overwhelmed with work and cannot prepare in time, that does not occur in federal cases.
Federal offenses are often subject to lengthy, mandatory minimum prison sentences. Even upon release, those convicted of federal crimes face further restrictions including, but not limited to, extended monitoring, exclusion from certain activities and occupations, suspension of voting privileges and prohibition from owning firearms.
Common Federal Crimes
Among the most frequently prosecuted federal offenses are those that have been given the informal nickname of “white collar crimes.” The term was coined in 1939, and has come to be used as a label for all sorts of crimes involving lying, cheating, and stealing that are related to business, commercial, and financial enterprises. Offenses such as fraud, embezzlement, and bribery are generally committed by professionals and executives, thus lending them the name white collar crimes. These types of crimes include, but are not limited to:
- Wire Fraud
- Insurance Fraud
- Medicare/Medicaid Fraud
- Identity Theft
- Money Laundering
- Government Contracting Fraud
- Procurement Fraud
- FCPA Violations
Congressional Investigations Lawyer
Though congressional investigations are not strictly federal criminal defense matters, being subpoenaed to testify before Congress is a serious matter than requires dedicated and well-qualified counsel. Testimony given in these investigations can, and often does lead to federal criminal charges including, but not limited to, false statements, contempt, perjury, and obstruction of committee proceedings. If you have been summoned to testify, or if you suspect you may become the subject of a congressional subpoena, please visit our website here for more information.
Aggressive and Experienced Counsel
A federal criminal record can haunt those convicted of such crimes for the remainder of their lives. With such serious, life-altering consequences hanging in the balance, it is critical for anyone accused of a federal crime to protect themselves, their family and loved ones, and their future by obtaining experienced and aggressive defense counsel. Please click here to schedule an office consultation with a federal criminal defense attorney.
Sweta Patel In Her Own Words
Below are several links to question-and-answer pages excerpted from an interview with Sweta Patel in which she discusses federal crimes.