If you’ve been charged with a federal crime, you’re in a dangerous situation. You need to make your next moves carefully, and the federal crimes lawyers at Joseph Williams Law can help. Contact our law firm online to schedule an initial consultation or give us a call at (912) 259-6548.
Being accused of any crime in Georgia can be scary, even if it’s just a misdemeanor. However, being charged with a federal crime is on a whole new level, and not just because you’ve caught the attention of law enforcement on a national level.
The real panic sets in when you realize you’ll be tried in federal court by a federal agency, such as the Federal Bureau of investigation (FBI). And unlike many state and local agencies, these federal offices are extremely well funded and have the time and resources to thoroughly prosecute your case.
It should come as no surprise that the success rate of federal prosecutors is through the roof. According to data provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, around 93% of the 71,126 defendants tried in federal courts in the 2020 fiscal year were convicted. However, only about two percent of federal criminal defendants actually go to trial.
If you’ve been charged with a federal crime, you may be wondering what all this means for your case. Here’s what we want to impress upon you: Your situation is extremely serious, but it’s not hopeless—if you select the right criminal defense attorney.
At Joseph Williams Law, we pride ourselves on offering superb representation to clients charged with federal crimes. This article will explain everything you need to understand about your situation, including types of federal charges, possible defense strategies and more.
Are you facing federal charges? Not every defense lawyer is admitted to practice in federal court, but luckily, we are. Contact us online or give us a call at (912) 259-6548 to schedule a consultation with an experienced federal crimes lawyer today.
When Is a Crime a Federal Offense?
The vast majority of crimes that happen in Georgia are violations of state law. As such, these misdemeanors and felonies are prosecuted at a state level. However, when crimes violate national law, they must be tried in federal court. These are federal crimes.
In order for a crime to be prosecuted in a federal court, it must meet at least one of the following requirements:
- The alleged crime was committed on federal property, such as a national park.
- The alleged crime was committed against the U.S. or a federal agency.
- The alleged crime crossed state lines or involved interstate commerce.
- The defendant allegedly crossed state lines when committing the crime.
These criteria help determine the seriousness of an alleged crime, which matters because the federal government typically deals with large-scale criminal activities. It’s also important to note that state and federal charges are not mutually exclusive, and the same underlying offense can trigger charges in multiple jurisdictions.
Examples of Federal Crimes
Federal offenses cover a wide range of categories, from white collar crimes to drug trafficking to violent offenses. Although there are countless crimes that can be tried in federal court, a handful are much more common than others.
Data provided by the United States Sentencing Commission reveals that over the last 25 years, four types of crimes have consistently made up the majority of federal felonies and Class A misdemeanors: drugs, immigration, firearms and fraud. Here’s a breakdown of federal offenders by crime type in the 2021 fiscal year:
- Drug crimes: 31.3%
- Immigration-related offenses: 29.6%
- Firearm offenses: 14.2%
- Fraud, theft or embezzlement: 8.0%
- Robbery: 2.3%
- Child pornography: 2.1%
- Sexual abuse: 1.9%
- Money laundering: 1.8%
- Other crimes: 8.9%
Each of these categories can be broken down into subtypes. For example, federal firearm offenses encompass many different gun-related crimes, including illegal possession of a firearm (usually by a convicted felon), unlawful transportation of firearms and ammunition, using a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking crime, etc.
Defense Strategies for Federal Crimes
Most federal felony charges follow an indictment by a grand jury. This means that the prosecution has already amassed a great deal of evidence against you. Because federal cases typically move swiftly, you won’t have long to prepare for trial, and your attorney will need to start aggressively building your defense.
If you decide to go to trial, your lawyer may employ a variety of strategies, including pre-trial defenses, affirmative defenses to reduce or negate your liability and specific intent defenses. Here are some of the specific arguments they may use for each:
- Pre-trial defenses. Your lawyer may advise you to plead insanity, entrapment, vindictive and selective prosecution or outrageous government conduct. You may also argue your innocence on grounds of public authority, meaning you were acting on behalf of a law enforcement official or federal intelligence agency when you allegedly committed a crime.
- Affirmative defenses. You may be able to reduce or negate your criminal liability by presenting an alibi or by arguing duress and necessity, self-defense or defense of others, voluntary intoxication or abandonment and withdrawal.
- Specific intent defense. You may be able to prove a lack of intent by arguing automatism, good faith or that you were acting on advice of counsel.
Rather than a comprehensive list of possible defenses, these are merely some of the most commonly utilized arguments. You may also use misidentification, false accusation or a number of other defense strategies.
Accused of Committing a Federal Crime? We’re Here to Help
When it comes to federal charges, winning your case at trial isn’t your only option. With help from an experienced federal crimes lawyer, you may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. However, you need to get started now.
Fortunately, the federal crimes lawyers at Joseph Williams Law are here to help. No matter what you’ve been accused of doing, you deserve a rock-solid, robust defense, and our team can make it happen.
When you’re ready to partner with a legal expert to protect your future, contact us online to schedule a case evaluation or give us a call at (912) 259-6548 to speak with a compassionate attorney today.
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