If you have been arrested, charged with, or are under investigation for a federal criminal offense, it is imperative that you contact a federal crimes attorney with experience and expertise in the federal court system. The consequences of being convicted of any crime under the federal criminal justice system can be enormous and life-changing. You need an attorney familiar with the complex and unique laws and protocols that apply in federal courts – you need Blass Law. The Houston-area federal case defense lawyers at Blass Law will rigorously defend your rights and fight for the best possible result in your fed case. Call Blass Law or request a consultation online!
Understanding the Federal Criminal Justice System
Facing criminal charges is always stressful, but if you’ve been charged with a crime that brings you under the purview of the federal justice system, the situation can be even more difficult. Federal courts differ significantly from state courts, with an entirely different set of rules and procedures.
Most significantly, most federal crimes are subject to the United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG). These guidelines are often considered draconian and unreasonable, as the suggested punishments frequently include mandatory minimums, lengthy prison sentences, significant fines, and high required restitution.
Another key difference between the state and federal criminal justice systems: the system generally employs the most experienced and aggressive prosecutors and law enforcement agents in the country. The federal prosecutors also get to pick and choose which cases they want to prosecute, sending the weak cases to state court. For obvious reasons, having your case investigated and prosecuted by zealous agents and prosecutors (who may have biases and agendas of their own) is unlikely to favor you as a defendant.
Why Do I Need a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney?
Investigations into allegations of federal crimes can be lengthy and involved. Often, multiple suspects and acts must be investigated, and the entire process can last months or years before any charges are actually filed. That’s why it’s fairly common for those under investigation for a federal crime to suspect or know that they are being investigated. Indeed, federal agents often approach federal criminal investigation suspects and ask for a “voluntary” interview before any charges are actually brought.
This extended investigation process can benefit those accused of federal crimes in one key way. This advanced notice before charges are filed can provide potential defendants with the opportunity to seek out a qualified federal crime lawyer and craft a legal strategy BEFORE any criminal charges are filed. This can change the entire outcome of a case. Having legal representation that is experienced with the federal justice system while your case is still under investigation can maximize your chances of avoid charges altogether.
The complexity of the federal justice system can make it incredibly difficult to navigate on your own, and making mistakes when talking to federal law enforcement agents can significantly impact your finances and your freedom. Simply speaking to agents from the DEA, ATF, IRS, FBI, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Customs and Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Joint Terrorism task Force or other federal investigation agencies without legal representation can irreparably damage your case–even if you are innocent and think you have nothing to hide.
That’s why it’s important to engage an experienced federal crimes lawyer immediately if you are ever contacted by a federal law enforcement agent. In such cases, every second can count in avoiding serious and life-changing federal charges.
Types of Federal Criminal Charges
There are thousands of potential crimes that can fall under the federal system, but among the most common are:
White Collar Crimes
Certain white collar crimes are prosecuted at the state court level, but many serious white collar offenses are pursued in federal criminal court. Such cases can cover millions (or billions) in alleged losses–and accordingly, conviction of such offenses can carry enormous fines and long prison sentences that can span decades or even life. Bank, health care and mortgage fraud are examples of common white collar charges brought at the federal level. Federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents have also recently focused on corporate crimes, money laundering, identity theft and embezzlement.
Many minor drug offenses such as possession of small amounts of illegal substances are typically prosecuted by the Texas criminal court system. However, higher level drug crimes that involve complex drug cartels, large conspiracies or significant amounts of money or drugs are handled by the federal court system. In general, because of mandatory minimums, the possible punishment for drug crime charges brought at the federal level is much more serious than for similar charges brought by the State of Texas. Indeed, many federal drug convictions carry high mandatory minimum sentences–particularly if firearm charges are brought alongside the drug charges.
Common federal drug crimes include conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver a controlled substance,drug trafficking, drug importation, drug manufacturing and money laundering related to drug activities. The specific consequences you may face for conviction of a federal drug charge can vary, but being found guilty of such crimes typically involves long prison sentences and heavy fines.
Many sex crime offenses do fall under the jurisdiction of Texas’ state criminal court system; for example, sexual assault is often prosecuted at the state level. However, federal law does specifically cover certain types of sexual misconduct crimes, particularly those that involve children. Frequently charged federal sex crimes include online solicitation of minors; foreign or interstate travel with the intent to commit a prohibited sexual act; interstate prostitution and sex trafficking; trafficking underage minors for sexual acts; and production or possession of child pornography. Committing an offense that involves sexual misconduct while in federal prison can also result in federal charges. The potential consequences for conviction of a federal sex crime can be severe with possible punishment of up to life in prison.
Child Pornography Charges
It’s worth pointing out federal child pornography charges specifically, as such crimes are so frequently pursued and charged at the federal criminal court level. Federal law classifies child pornography as any visual depiction (including photos, videos or digital images) of any sexually explicit acts that involve a minor under 18 years old. Possessing, distributing or selling any form of child pornography is illegal under federal law. Being found guilty of any child pornography offense can bring serious punishment such as heavy fines, significant required restitution and long prison sentences.
Request a consultation with a Houston Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are under investigation or charged with a federal crime, you need to call Blass Law as soon as possible. The federal defense attorneys at Blass Law have the experience and tenacity to fight federal prosecutors and get the best possible outcome for your case. Call the Houston-are federal crime attorneys at Blass Law or request a request a consultation online today.