There are four basic circumstances in which someone may be charged with a federal crime. In each of the following cases, one would benefit from consulting the team of federal crime lawyers in St. Petersburg at Goldman Wetzel:
- when a federal law has been broken,
- when a crime has been committed across two state lines,
- when a crime was committed on a U.S. military base, or
- when a crime was committed in federal waters under U.S. jurisdiction.
Federal charges usually mean more treacherous case proceedings and harsher penalties. If you have been charged with a federal crime, you will need to speak to a criminal defense attorney to start working on your case. Goldman Wetzel handles both state and federal cases, so get in touch with us today.
Types of Federal Charges
Any crime that meets one of the above stipulations can be charged in a federal court. Below are some examples of crimes for which defendants might face criminal charges:
- Child pornography;
- Computer hacking;
- Credit card fraud;
- Drug manufacturing;
- Drug trafficking;
- Identity theft;
- Immigration fraud;
- Insurance fraud;
- Money laundering;
- Ponzi/pyramid schemes;
- Securities fraud;
- Telemarketing fraud;
- Traveling to meet a minor; and
- Wire fraud.
Differences Between State and Federal Charges
When a crime is charged federally instead of by the state, the accused and his or her attorney can expect a much more challenging road ahead. Below are some of the key characteristics that differentiate federal cases from state cases.
- Prosecutors are more diligent (and tougher to go head-to-head with than state prosecutors). Federal prosecutors, referred to as Assistant United States Attorneys, have a lighter caseload in order to spend a great deal of attention on each one.
- The discovery process is less defense-friendly. In state cases, defense attorneys can acquire important pieces of evidence such as witness reports prior to trial. Conversely, in federal cases, the defense usually can’t obtain witness reports until after the witness has testified in some manner, thereby limiting the amount of preparation the defense can do.
- Bail is more complex. In a state case, bail usually only consists of paying a certain amount of money, whereas in federal cases, the judge can add stipulations to the bail, such as check-ins with pretrial officers and mental health treatments.
- The penalties are harsher. Without a doubt, federal convictions impart stiffer punishments than state convictions if convicted.
Navigating the Federal Criminal Justice System
The federal criminal justice system is sterile and unbending. If you have been charged with a federal crime, speak to your defense attorney about what to expect and how to prepare accordingly. This can help alleviate some of your angst over the situation. Below are some of the steps that you, as an (alleged) offender, will undergo if you have been charged federally.
- You are formally charged.
- The judge decides whether to release you on bail or place you in jail.
- During pretrial, both sides will file motions and the prosecutor will have to provide evidence to show why you’ve been charged.
- The judge will decide to move forward with the case or to dismiss it.
- A plea is entered.
- If you plead guilty, the case moves to sentencing. If you plead not guilty, the case goes to trial.
- The trial ensues.
- If the judge/jury finds you innocent, you are acquitted. If you are found guilty, then the case goes to sentencing.
Federal Crimes Defense Attorneys at Goldman Wetzel
Goldman Wetzel has some of the toughest criminal defense attorneys in Tampa and St. Petersburg. We can handle any federal criminal case, no matter how challenging it may seem. Call us today at 727-828-3900 to schedule a free consultation with one of our defense attorneys.