What Is A Federal Crime?
The United States has two types of criminal prosecutions: state and federal. State charges are handled in state court, while federal crimes go through a different set of procedures and regulations in federal court. If you’re facing federal charges, it’s crucial that you find a Las Vegas federal criminal defense attorney who specializes in this area to help with your case.
Not only do federal crimes result in more significant penalties, but prison sentences are usually harsher than those resulting from state crimes. The length of the prison sentence depends on how severe the crime is and whether it’s classified as a felony or misdemeanor. Federal felonies are divided into classes and someone convicted of a Class A federal felony, for example, can receive a maximum prison term of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Our Las Vegas federal criminal defense attorney can assist clients who need help with the following:
- Drug Conspiracy, as prohibited by 21 U.S.C. § 846 – Conspiracy to
- Medicare and Medicaid Fraud, as prohibited by 18 U.S.C § 1347 – Health Care Fraud
- Money Laundering, as prohibited by 18 U.S.C § 1956 – Money Laundering
- Mortgage Fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1341 – Wire Fraud Statute and 18 U.S.C. § 1343 – Mail Fraud Statute
- RICO Act and Racketeering Crimes, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961–1968
- Tax Fraud, 26 U.S.C. § 7201 – Attempt to Evade or Defeat Tax
- Internet Crimes Defense, 26 U.S.C. § 7201 – Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”)
- Securities Fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1348 – Securities and Commodities Fraud and 18 U.S.C. § 3301 – Securities Fraud Offenses
- Insurance Fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1033 – Federal Insurance Fraud
- Immigration Consequences, 18 U.S.C. § 1546 – Immigration Fraud and Misuse of Visas
- Forgery, 18 U.S.C. § 1324(c) – Document Fraud and Uttering Forged Instruments
- Embezzlement, 18 U.S.C. § 641 – Theft of Money, Property or Other Items of Material Value
- Federal Appeals, 28 U.S. Code § 1291 – Final Decisions of District Courts – 28 U.S. Code § 2107 – Time for Appeal to Court of Appeals
What To Do When You Learn You Are Under Investigation For A Federal Offense
Realizing that the federal government might criminally charge you is daunting, but there are steps you can take to defend yourself. Unlike state court proceedings, federal prosecutors heavily research and prepare their cases before filing any formal charges. This means that by the time you learn of the investigation, they have likely already decided on your involvement. When you are under investigation for a federal crime, it is important to keep a few things in mind. In many cases, prosecutors will have already presented their case to a grand jury, which found that there was probable cause to believe you committed the crimes in question.
Defenses To Federal Crimes
Almost every federal crime has one or more defenses that can be used to demonstrate your innocence. These defenses show the court that you were not guilty of the crime, or even if you are guilty, your actions were justified and punishable. Some possible defenses for a federal case include:
Misconduct During The Investigation Of The Crime
Federal law enforcement officials often charge someone with a crime only after completing an in-depth investigation. During this process, they must adhere to many of the same rules as state and local police follow when investigating potential state crimes. This includes executing proper search warrant protocol to ensure searches and seizures of evidence fall within constitutional confines. If not, a court can deem the evidence invalid, which puts your case at a significant disadvantage.
Failing To Read You Your Miranda Rights
If you are arrested for violating state law, federal agents must read you your rights. Your Las Vegas federal criminal defense attorney can ask the court to ignore any statements or evidence gathered as a result of the agents’ not letting you know of your right to remain silent.
A Lack Of Evidence
Though a case may be charged federally, this does not mean it will be easy to prove in court. The prosecutor is still responsible for proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If there isn’t enough evidence to support this claim, you could be acquitted. Evidence law and procedure are notoriously complex, so don’t entrust your defense to anyone who is inexperienced in the field. Despite its challenges, having a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer on your side remains one of the best defenses against federal crimes.
Federal law also provides an excuse for committing crimes such as murder if you were defending yourself from imminent death or serious bodily injury. There are certain conditions to be met before self-defense will cause the charges to be dropped (or for you to be acquitted), and your qualified Las Vegas federal criminal defense attorney will explore ways to ensure that self-defense can be used to avoid a conviction.
The federal government may use “sting” operations or other methods to arrest and prosecute individuals who have committed crimes. There are times, however, when these attempts go too far. If you believe this is the case for you, your attorney may be able to demonstrate that the police tricked you into committing a crime through their actions or persuasion.