Most crimes which occur in the United States are prosecuted under the laws of the state where the crime occurred or the local jurisdiction within that state. However, crimes of certain types are classified and prosecuted under the federal system.
Any crime that’s commission occurred involving the crossing of state lines will be prosecuted as a federal crime although certain crimes committed within a state can fall under the category of a federal crime charges by definition. Some of these offenses are kidnapping, violation of an individual’s civil rights, conspiracy to defraud the government, terrorism and many others. A federal crime can also be charged if any U.S. Congressional statute is violated.
Since 1987 the Federal Sentencing Guidelines were adopted as a guide to penalize individuals convicted of crimes tried in the federal courts. Before that year, there was no centralized model for punishing and instituting sentences for those convicted of federal charges, leaving it to individual judges to decide their fate. This practice led to major disparities in sentences handed down depending on which judge ruled on the sentence.
The new guidelines now installed a distinct method to follow removing the resolution by the judge’s sole inclination. It made the system more rational, uniform and nondiscriminatory.
These guidelines are based on two major factors. The first being the severity of the crime and the other weighing the criminal history of the individual found guilty of it.
An arrest for a federal crime can be carried out by law enforcement without a warrant if the officer believes that there is probable cause to do so. They also have the right to make an arrest if they witness a crime themselves or if a feasible suspect is identified by an eye witness at a crime scene. They are also given extreme latitude to make an arrest if they believe not doing so would allow ample time for their suspect to destroy evidence or escape from the scene.
However, in most cases, a federal law enforcement officer who has probable cause to make an arrest would request a warrant from a federal magistrate or judge. To do so, he would layout his case; displaying all substantiating evidence and documentation as well as any statements made about the suspect by third party witnesses relating to who they believe committed the crime. If the judge feels that the officer has presented credible justification he will grant the warrant based on the presented facts.
If you are arrested or have discovered you or someone you care about is under investigation for a federal charge it is crucial to choose an attorney who is an expert in the field of federal law. My law firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, specializes in this field of law and can guide someone accused of a federal offense through the process of proper conduct throughout a federal investigation. As your advocate, I will explain the rights which will offer protection as well as how to answer questions to federal law enforcement during the course of an investigation. In the event that an arrest hasn’t occurred but an investigation is underway, as a rule, you should never answer questions asked by any federal authority without an attorney present.
Making false statements to a federal officer or investigator is a crime.
A few years ago, a case that dominated the headlines involved Martha Stewart, the founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and a well know television personality among her many other accomplishments.
Ms. Stewart was charged with Securities Fraud, specifically involving illegal insider trading of ImClone Systems a stock she owned. She sold the stock, avoiding a loss of more than $45,000 after receiving nonpublic information from her broker just before the stock fell precipitously. Although the government did not have enough evidence to convict her of the charges she was found guilty of making false statements, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and perjury. She subsequently spent five months in a federal prison for women in West Virginia. Not telling the whole truth to SEC and FBI investigators during questioning is said to have contributed to the government’s hard press for maximum sentencing.
In this particular case, Stewart’s lawyer has been accused of giving her questionable representation even though she was insistent on the story she wanted to tell, when he allowed her to tell her tale to Justice Department investigators, allowing her to take a colossal legal risk.
At trial her codefendant’s attorney along with two witnesses including her personal assistant undermined her story and ultimately caused her to be found guilty by a federal jury after three days of deliberations. She faced one to two years of imprisonment under the sentencing guidelines but got off lightly when she received the minimum possible sentence of five months in prison and an additional five months of house arrest by the judge. When handing down the lenient sentence, the judge said to Stewart that it was her belief that it was "apparent that you have helped many people outside of your own family and that you have a supportive family and hundreds of admirers. I believe that you have suffered, and will continue to suffer, enough."
In conclusion, if Ms. Stewart did not go forward with her lie to the two government agencies it’s more than likely that she would never have spent a day in jail.
My early experience as an attorney included working as an Assistant United States Attorney for the government for the Southern District of Florida. Now, a criminal defense attorney, with an emphasis a federal criminal cases this on the job experience has put me in the best position to represent my clients who are charged with federal crimes.
Innocence is always presumed in any federal crime case and your rights are guaranteed under the Constitution. My abilities always put the government to task by knowing how their prosecutors will proceed in all cases tried in the federal courts, compelling them to prove guilt in all cases I handle.
To read more about the services I offer in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach click here or call directly at 954-928-0059.
- When You Need a Federal Defense Attorney
- Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
- Federal Rules of Evidence
- Federal Sentencing Guidelines
- Federal Law: The Judicial Branch
- Accepting a Guilty Plea in a Federal Case
- Federal Tax Evasion
- Federal Bail, Detention Hearing
- Federal Computer Crimes
- Federal Contract Killing
- Federal Kidnapping
- How a Federal Grand Jury Hands Down an Indictment
- Federal Information as an Alternative to an Indictment
- Federal Racketeering
- Federal Narcotics Charges
- Federal Weapons Charges
- Boca Raton Federal Bust; Wolf of Wall Street Connection
- Federal Domestic Violence and Kidnapping
- Federal Appeals
- Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentences
- Federal (and State) Asset Forfeiture
- Right to a Speedy Trial
- Capital Crimes
- Federal Witness Immunity
- Harboring a Suspect or Fugitive in a Federal Criminal Investigation
- Federal Embezzlement
- Federal Extortion
- Federal Access Device Fraud