Pennsylvania Defense Attorney for Federal Criminal Charges
Federal crimes and the penalties for them are determined by federal law. Federal law violations are more serious than state law violations and therefore carry more severe penalties. However, there is a possibility that you can be charged in both federal and state court for the same crime. If you or a family member was charged with a federal crime, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer that has dealt with federal cases.
The legal team at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates possess over 30 years of experience in federal criminal procedure. We will fight your federal case to help you achieve the legal outcome that you deserve. To schedule a free consultation for your case, call us at (215) 372-8667 or reach us online.
Types of Federal Crimes
As mentioned above, a federal crime is an action that has been made illegal by federal legislation. There are several types of federal crimes that are investigated by a number of federal law enforcement agencies:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)
- Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- Secret Service
Once federal authorities receive or discover information about a crime, one of these federal agencies will begin an investigation to determine whether a federal crime was committed. Some of these federal agencies only deal with specific crimes, like IRS agents who investigate individuals who commit tax evasion or FBI agents who handle cases involving terrorism.
There are over 200 categories of federal crimes that federal law enforcement agencies investigate:
- Theft involving art, cargo, jewelry, and gems
- Bank robberies
- Civil Rights violations
- Crimes against federal officials
- Drug offenses
- Immigration crimes
- Kidnapping, murder, or rape offenses that cross state lines
- Organized crime
- Public corruption crimes
- Violent crimes against children
- White-collar crimes
This is not an exhaustive list of federal crimes. If you were charged with a crime not mentioned above, you should speak with an experienced federal crime attorney.
Can You Be Charged in Different Courts for the Same Crime?
The Double Jeopardy Clause contained in the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits a person from being prosecuted twice for substantially the same crime. However, dual sovereignty laws do not violate the prohibition against double jeopardy. Dual sovereignty means that more than one sovereign (state and federal governments) can prosecute a person for an offense that violates the law of each sovereignty.
One example of a crime that violates state and federal laws is the robbery of a bank insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Since Pennsylvania is a sovereign entity that is part of the US, a larger sovereign entity, a bank robbery of an FDIC insured bank will trigger state and federal bank robbery charges. If the alleged suspect is convicted of both state and federal charges, their state sentence will be added to the federal sentence they receive.
Federal Court Procedures and Sentencing Guidelines
Once the court decides that a person has committed a federal crime, they may be released or held in custody until their trial begins. Defendants are held in custody if the court believes they present a danger to the community or may attempt to flee if released. Once the defendant is formally charged and informed of the crimes levied against them, they can enter a plea responding to those charges.
Federal judges are appointed to the bench for life by the president and never have to campaign to retain their seat like state court judges. One of the reasons for this permanent appointment is to avoid the possibility of judges being bribed for favors to retain their position. Federal crimes are prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs).
Federal courts also have their own guidelines for sentencing. If a defendant is convicted of any charge in the indictment, the court will impose some sentence on the offender. Every offender is assigned to one of six criminal history categories based on their previous criminal history.
Federal crimes are assigned to one of 43 possible “offense levels.” The more serious the crime, the higher the offense level. For example, burglary has a base offense level of 17 that may rise depending on the worth of the property stolen. If $2,500 worth of property is stolen the offense rises one level, if $800,000 worth of property is stolen, five offense levels are added. The offense level can also be lowered. For example, if the offender had a minimal role in the crime, the offense level may be lowered.
Our Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorneys Will Fight For You Against Federal Criminal Charges
If you or a family member is facing prosecution for a federal crime, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates will diligently represent you in your federal crimes case and fight for your future. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (215) 372-8667. We answer our phones 24 hours a day.