There are some crimes which, even if they are committed in Sarasota county, will go on to become a case at government-level. This is known as a federal crime. Although they are all taken extremely seriously, the severity of the charge can vary from a misdemeanor to a felony.
As a federal crime is taken so seriously, it is key that you have the best criminal defense attorneys on your side to avoid life-altering consequences. Luckily, The Law Place has been serving Sarasota for over 75 years between our team of Sarasota criminal defense lawyers. We have experience tackling federal crime cases that originate in both Sarasota County and beyond.
If you would like more information or free legal advice, please get in touch with our team in Sarasota, FL. We are happy to offer you a free consultation at no obligation, fully protected by the attorney-client relationship.
For more information, call our Sarasota office at (941) 444-4444; our phone lines are always open.
What Constitutes a Federal Crime?
As mentioned above, a federal crime will be handled at a government level, even if it was committed in Sarasota, FL. For something to be considered a federal crime, it must break federal laws.
The average federal crime case is handled in a more serious way than regular criminal charges, as federal criminals are seen to be a threat to national and public safety.
Federal Crime Examples
The following is a non-exhaustive list of crimes which would be charged on a federal level even if committed in Sarasota, FL.:
- Some violent crimes.
- Any act of terrorism.
- Counterintelligence operations.
- Violation of civil rights.
- Theft of items with societal value, for example, priceless art or jewelry.
- White-collar crimes.
- Immigration crimes.
- Organized crime.
- Threatening any member of the U.S. government.
If you would like to consult a full list of crimes that would violate criminal law enough to be considered federal crimes even if committed in Sarasota, FL., please visit the Code of the United States House of Representatives web-page for more information.
Which Organizations Investigate Federal Crimes?
As there is a great range of potential federal crimes, several different investigative bodies could handle the case, depending on the details.
The following agencies may take the lead in a federal crime case:
- The Environmental Protection Agency
- The Fish and Wildlife Services
- The Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- The Health and Human Services
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service
- The Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A.)
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.)
- The U.S. Secret Service
- The Department of Veteran’s Affairs
- The U.S. Marshals Service
- The Internal Revenue Services
Acts of Terrorism
The Code of the U.S. House of Representatives designates two types of federal terrorism.
The two categories are international terrorism and domestic terrorism. Both involve violence that could endanger civilian lives in the U.S.
More specific information can be found in Title 18, Chapter 113B – Section 2331 (1).
The punishments for acts of terrorism will depend on the incident’s specifics, as covered in Chapter 113B – Section 2232 (a-c). These may include:
- Homicide charges.
- Conspiracy to homicide charges.
- Charges for the use of physical violence.
Acts of terrorism that are considered federal crimes in criminal law include:
- Attacks using chemical weaponry.
- A threat of danger issued towards many people.
- Hijacking of mass-transit vehicles.
- Weapons of mass destruction.
Cybercrimes are a relatively new section of criminal law. These include offenses for hacking, ransomware, the use of viruses or worms, and other internet attacks, such as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
Attacks of intellectual property may also be considered cybercrimes, as many offenses include attempts to target companies and organizations to obtain specific trade secrets or information that could be considered sensitive.
The specific terms of intellectual property crimes are laid out in Florida Statute 815.04.
Criminal law designates counterintelligence crimes as any that aim to share sensitive information with other countries’ intelligence services.
The following can be considered sensitive information under criminal law:
- S. economic information.
- S. financial information.
- Information relating to U.S. health and safety.
- Advanced technology secrets.
Counterintelligence charges also include:
- Harboring fugitives who have been involved with acts of espionage.
- The gathering of information with the intent to distribute to the intelligence services of another country.
Civil Rights Violations
Civil rights violations considered a federal crime involve threats to citizens based on their race, religion, sexuality, gender, or another minority status.
Depending on the case’s details, the punishments under criminal law may be an unlimited prison sentence or, in some cases, even the death penalty.
White-collar crimes are a relatively common occurrence in corporate America.
White-collar crimes include:
- The illegal sharing of private information; classified as extortion.
- Fraud involving falsifying information.
- Forcing an employee to work only to take their rightfully earned earnings.
- Threatening communications, including harm and kidnapping threats.
Drug offenses can be prosecuted at both the state and federal levels. While many drug crimes are handled by state authorities, there are specific situations where drug offenses elevate to federal crimes. These situations include:
- Crossing State Lines: If the illegal substances are transported across state boundaries or brought into the U.S. from another country, it becomes a matter of federal jurisdiction.
- Federal Property Involvement: Drug crimes that take place on federal property, such as national parks or government buildings, are under federal purview.
- Large Scale Operations: Major drug trafficking or manufacturing operations, especially those involving organized crime or large quantities of illegal substances, often attract federal attention.
- Use of the U.S. Postal Service: Sending or receiving drugs through the U.S. mail is a federal offense.
- Investigative Findings: If federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are involved in the case from the onset, it’s more likely to be prosecuted at the federal level.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines Explained
The guidelines for federal sentencing are a particularly complex part of criminal law. Therefore, the employment of a criminal defense lawyer in Sarasota who is well versed in federal criminal charges is essential.
As federal crimes vary widely in severity, each federal crime is assigned an offense base level. These increase with the severity of the crime as well as other reasons. Some examples of base-level adjustments are as follows:
- The involvement of a gun in a federal crime will increase the base level. It will be further increased if the gun is discharged during the crime.
- The number of innocent civilians involved in the crime will determine a base level adjustment.
- If the defendant in the case only played a minor role, the base level may be decreased.
- If there are several members involved in the crime, personal adjustment factors may come into play. In this situation, the court often considers the most severe offense first and then adjusts the base level down as the offenders’ actions decrease in severity.
- It is possible that a base level decrease may happen because a defendant takes a level of responsibility for the actions they have committed. However, this is at the judge’s discretion.
Other Things to Consider if You Are Being Charged With a Federal Crime
Suppose you are being charged with a federal crime. In that case, the first thing your criminal defense lawyer will tell you not to do is discuss the details of your case with anybody other than your criminal defense attorneys. The attorney-client relationship will protect your communications with your attorney.
This is due to the possibility of sensitive information being leaked that could impact your criminal proceedings. It is often the case that those being investigated for federal crimes will have their calls recorded.
If you do need to discuss sensitive details, then discuss it with your criminal defense lawyer first. While they will be unable to share details without your express consent, they will be able to relay the message in the safest manner possible once they have received this consent.
However, these considerations should not prevent you from sharing every detail of your case with your criminal defense attorney. The quality of your defense will hinge on the amount you share with them, as they will need to be able to tailor your defense to the specifics of your situation.
Defenses and Mitigation for a Federal Crime
While most of the avenues for defense for your federal charges will depend on the specific situation, there are some defenses that have previously proven useful on a federal level.
The U.S. Department of Justice has made it known that a defendant may claim unwilling involvement in the crime if they have the appropriate level of evidence to back up their claim. Your lawyer will be able to determine whether the evidence you possess is useful enough to pursue this avenue of defense.
On the other hand, other highly specific situations may mean that you could admit to violating the federal criminal law if you received full authority to do so from a member of the government. Again, you would need to provide evidence for the claim.
With the more severe cases, one of the best tools available to an attorney is a carefully negotiated plea bargain. As charges often carry life-altering consequences, these can be a useful way to lower them.
Why You Should Talk to The Law Place If You Are Being Charged with a Federal Crime
Facing charges in a federal court can be an overwhelming and intimidating experience. The stakes are often high, and the complexities of federal law can be challenging to navigate without legal guidance. Here’s why you should consider reaching out to The Law Place if you’re in this situation:
- Understanding of Federal Law: Federal charges operate differently from state charges. The procedures, rules, and nuances of federal law are unique. At The Law Place, we have a profound understanding of these distinctions, ensuring that your defense is built on solid legal ground.
- Experience with Federal Prosecutors: Interacting with federal prosecutors requires a particular set of skills. They are known for their thoroughness and aggressive approach. Our law firm has considerable experience dealing with federal prosecutors, ensuring that you have a robust and knowledgeable advocate by your side.
- Familiarity with Federal Court Procedures: The federal court system has its own set of protocols and procedures. Making an error in these processes can be detrimental to your case. Our team is well-acquainted with the federal court system, ensuring that every aspect of your defense adheres to the necessary protocols.
- Track Record in Criminal Defense Cases: At The Law Place, we’ve handled a myriad of criminal defense cases, including those at the federal level. Our track record speaks for itself, showcasing our commitment to vigorously defending our clients and seeking the best possible outcomes.
- Collaborative Approach: As a law firm, we believe in harnessing the collective experience of our team. When you work with us, you benefit from the combined insights and knowledge of our entire team, ensuring a comprehensive defense strategy.
Being charged with a federal crime is a serious matter, and the right legal representation can make a significant difference in the outcome. Don’t navigate this challenging terrain alone. Talk to The Law Place and arm yourself with a team that understands the intricacies of the federal system and is dedicated to championing your rights.
Sarasota federal crimes lawyer FAQ
What distinguishes a federal crime from a state crime in Sarasota?
Federal crimes are offenses that violate U.S. federal laws, while state crimes violate laws set by the state of Florida. Generally, federal crimes involve interstate matters, national security, or offenses committed on federal property.
If I’m charged with a federal crime in Sarasota, will my case be handled in a different court?
Yes. Federal crimes are prosecuted in federal courts, which operate under different rules and procedures than state courts.
How does the severity of penalties differ between federal and state offenses?
Federal crimes often carry more severe penalties than state offenses. The federal sentencing guidelines can lead to longer prison sentences, and there are fewer opportunities for parole in the federal system.
What are some common types of federal crimes?
Common federal crimes include drug trafficking across state lines, mail and wire fraud, immigration offenses, federal tax evasion, and crimes committed on federal property.
Can a crime be both a federal and state offense?
Yes. It’s possible for an act to violate both federal and state laws. In such cases, both federal and state authorities can prosecute the crime, and double jeopardy does not apply.
Should I hire a Sarasota federal crimes lawyer even if I believe the charges against me are false?
Absolutely. Federal charges, even if unfounded, can have life-altering consequences. An experienced Sarasota federal crimes lawyer can guide you through the complex federal legal system, ensuring your rights are protected and helping to establish your defense.
What should I do if federal agents approach me for questioning?
It’s essential to remain calm and remember your rights. You have the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Before answering any questions, it’s wise to consult with a Sarasota federal crimes lawyer.
How does the trial process for a federal crime differ from a state crime?
Federal trials follow federal rules of procedure, which can differ significantly from state rules. The jury selection, presentation of evidence, and even sentencing can vary greatly between federal and state courts.
Will my federal criminal record be separate from my state criminal record?
Yes. Federal convictions are recorded in a separate system. However, both federal and state convictions can be accessed by certain entities, like law enforcement agencies and some employers.
How can a Sarasota federal crimes lawyer help me?
A Sarasota federal crimes lawyer can offer guidnace in the complexities of federal law, help build a robust defense strategy, negotiate with federal prosecutors, and guide you through every stage of the federal criminal process, from investigation to trial and, if necessary, appeal.
Speak to an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Suppose you have committed a criminal act in Sarasota County that is being investigated at a federal level. In that case, you will need the best legal representation possible to reduce the damage to your life.
The team of attorneys at The Law Place has been serving Sarasota for 75 years between them. We have a wealth of experience, knowledge, skill, and compassion, which we have used to defend those in Sarasota and beyond.
If you are involved in federal charges, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation with a Sarasota criminal defense attorney. A free consultation with The Law Place in Sarasota County will always be under no obligation and entirely confidential. Our lines are open all day, every day, to work around your busy schedule.
To find out more and receive free impartial legal advice, contact our Sarasota attorneys at (941) 444-4444.