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 Frequently Asked Questions About Federal Crimes

March 6, 2023

You could feel frightened and overwhelmed if you were charged with a federal crime recently. The first step to dealing with this serious matter is understanding the nature of the charges against you. This article answers some of the most common questions about federal crimes and charges. Second, contact a Chicago federal criminal attorney at the Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman for more information.

What Is The Difference Between Federal And State Crimes?

If you commit a federal crime, you violated a statute that the US Congress passed. On the other hand, a state crime means you broke a law that your state legislator or local government passed. In addition, many federal criminal statutes address issues that significantly impact the nation. Therefore, federal criminal laws apply when someone engages in illegal activity across state lines.

Recently, the US government has been more involved in prosecuting drug and violent crimes in the states. These prosecutions used to be left almost entirely to state law enforcement. Note that many crimes can be prosecuted at state and federal levels. However, federal authorities usually do not federally prosecute defendants for criminal actions already being handled at the state level.

What Is A Federal Indictment?

An indictment is where the federal government formally accuses you of a crime. Then, the federal criminal justice system uses the indictment to launch a criminal case against you. But there are some cases where the prosecutor only uses a criminal complaint to start the case.

If I Am Federally Charged, What Kind Of Lawyer Do I Need?

For an attorney to be your defense counsel, they must be licensed to work in the federal court where your case is handled. Or, they must get permission from the federal court to practice there on a case-to-case basis. Also, remember that the federal criminal justice system differs markedly from state systems. Therefore, hiring a Chicago federal criminal attorney with extensive experience in these cases is vital.

What Are the Penalties For A Federal Criminal Conviction?

The government uses federal sentencing guidelines to decide the correct sentence length and fine. The guidelines recommend a sentence based on the crime and your degree of criminal history. Mitigating and aggravating factors can increase or decrease the length of the sentence. Federal penalties are often harsher than state punishments. Some of the most severe offenses have a mandatory prison term.

What Are Your Rights In Federal Court?

Federal criminal prosecution is like state prosecution in many ways. You are guaranteed your constitutional rights, including:

Can I Get the Sentence Reduced By Helping The Government?

US prosecutors can offer a reduced charge or sentence if you provide assistance in a government case. Factors that may lead to a sentence reduction include how severe the crime was and the level of help you offer the government. But you should never agree to a deal with the prosecutor without talking to a federal criminal defense attorney first. You could give up critical rights and leverage without using an attorney to help you.

Who Prosecutes And Investigates Federal Crimes?

Federal government agencies usually investigate federal crimes, including the DEA, Department of Justice, IRS, DEA, ATF, Secret Service, and others. In addition, state law enforcement agencies may sometimes partner with federal agencies.

The US Attorney’s Office usually prosecutes a federal crime for the region where the crime allegedly happened. However, in some cases, a DOJ or the EPA prosecutor may participate in the investigation.

What Is The Federal Prosecutor Conviction Rate?

The conviction rate is approximately 95% or more. This is partially because most defendants take a plea deal and a reduced sentence. They may get a much more severe punishment if they go to trial and lose. Your criminal defense attorney will advise if you should take a plea bargain or go to court.

How Does Federal Criminal Defense Differ?

The US criminal justice system is complicated. There are many different rules, statutes, investigative agencies, and many types of related case law. In addition, federal prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement are skilled in their jobs, so, federal court can be an intimidating place for many attorneys.

A lawyer must have significant experience and skill to operate in federal court. That is why many criminal defense attorneys only work in state court. However, if you face a federal charge, be sure that your attorney often works in the federal court system.

Can You Beat A Federal Charge?

Federal charges are similar to other criminal charges. So, you are entitled to defend yourself and beat them. The US government has significant resources to convict you, but it is possible to win a federal case. Locating an experienced federal criminal attorney familiar with your types of cases can boost your odds of besting the charges.

What Should I Do If I Am Being Investigated For A Federal Crime?

You need to contact a Chicago federal criminal attorney immediately. You have vital constitutional rights during the federal investigation that need to be protected. How you go forward from this point can make a huge difference in your case’s outcome.

You need not wait until federal charges are brought before talking to an attorney. Some federal investigators will be direct and tell you that you are under investigation and could be arrested. If so, you should speak with a federal crimes attorney. Talking to an attorney sooner than later can help avoid you saying something to law enforcement that damages the case.

It also helps to have an attorney early in the investigation because they can get information about the case you cannot. This is often helpful.

Contact A Chicago Federal Criminal Attorney Today

Have you been charged with a federal crime? Federal prosecutors have vast resources and will stop at nothing to convict you. The Chicago federal criminal attorneys at the Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman can assist if you face federal charges. Contact our Illinois federal criminal attorneys today at 312.726.9015 for a free consultation about your criminal case.