Common Maryland federal criminal charges include drug trafficking, fraud, conspiracy, and sex crimes. When someone is charged with committed a federal crime, they are potentially looking at harsher penalties than if they were just being prosecuted by the state. If you have been arrested for a federal crime, you may need a seasoned attorney who has experience handling federal cases. It is important that you have a legal advocate on your side who can stand by your side and ensure that your rights are being protected.
One of the most common Maryland federal criminal charges is drug trafficking. This can happen when an individual may be stopped for a traffic violation and then the police may find drugs in their drugs. As the state authorities investigate the case, they may uncover connections to drug trafficking across state lines. At this point, the state investigators notify federal authorities. Federal investigators may then uncover additional information that suggests a violation of federal drug law. The individual would then be charged with a federal criminal drug offense.
In many circumstances, federal criminal law only applies to activities that cross state lines. However, the interstate connection can be minor, may constitute only a small portion of the overall activity, and does not have to involve the offender’s actual physical appearance outside of the state.
For example, the individual may never leave the state but they may have made phone calls or sent emails to a person in another state or country. Also, when someone completes a bank transaction or uses a credit card, electronic information is almost always transmitted across state lines, which may be a sufficient amount of out-of-state connection to constitute as a federal offense. As long as there is some actual activity, however how small, that connects a person with another state or country, then there is usually grounds for federal jurisdiction.
The federal government prosecutes both major and minor crimes. The major big criminal investigations may receive more press coverage and attention, but the federal government does have the authority to prosecute any violation of federal criminal law. The federal offense could be one act by a single person, which may seem insignificant compared to major criminal operations and the federal government could still prosecute the crime. When the federal government is alerted of illegal activity, the federal government will go after it.
Attempt and conspiracy are two insularity charges. They must be related to an inherent violation of the federal law, but they are just as serious as the underlying offense. If a person is charged with conspiracy, they face the same punishments, or additional punishments, sanctions, and criminal penalties as if they are charged or convicted of the underlying offense. Conspiracy to commit a crime occurs when two or more people make a plan to commit a crime and someone commits at least one overt act in furtherance of the plan.
The same is true with attempt. It means the government alleges that the underlying offense was not completed or successful. But if a person is charged with attempt, they can face the same penalties as if they were charged with committing the underlying offense. There is also the independent federal crime of conspiracy. This applies to a conspiracy to commit any specific federal crime or to commit any offense against the United States or to defraud the United States. The maximum penalty for a conspiracy conviction is five years in prison.
Depending on the facts of the case, a person can be charged with attempt to commit the underlying offense in addition to conspiracy. Conspiracy adds an additional layer to the underlying offense, and means at least one other person is involved. There is nothing to prevent the government from charging a person with committing the underlying offense as well as with conspiring or planning with another person or other people to commit the underlying offense.
Attempt is more fact-specific. When a person is convicted of the underlying offense, they are generally not convicted of attempt because the government proves or the person admits that the underlying offense was successfully completed or was not completed. When a person is proven guilty or pleads guilty to the underlying offense, the attempt charge can be merged with the actual offense. To learn more about the common Maryland federal criminal charges, speak with an attorney today.