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Federal Charges2 Feb 2019

Being charged with a crime is never a positive experience for anyone regardless of the level of filing. Most defendants find themselves in court because of charges levied by state or local law enforcement agencies, but there are also instances when the federal government will want to address federal violations as well. There are distinct differences between the two, even though the same constitutional guarantees are in place for those accused. The difference between federal and state charges also means that the defendant will need even more aggressive representation based on the specific situation because federal authorities are much more diligent when deciding to file against a defendant. In addition, both state and federal authorities may want to charge as well, meaning that cases can become complicated quickly and easily. Having the right attorney matters, and the decision is often retaining a former prosecutor who understands how cases are built by law enforcement.

How Cases Become Federal

All states have their own set of statutes that apply to criminal activity within the particular jurisdiction. The federal court system likewise has a set of laws that also apply, and in many cases the laws overlap. Criminal issues can become federal within one state in some instances, but the most common scenario is when criminal entities operate in collusion across state lines. Once criminal activity is occurring in an orchestrated fashion across state barriers the case is automatically becomes a federal issue unless the Department of Justice wants to allow the states to work together and prosecute within their own area. Federal law enforcement agencies typically do not get involved unless the criminal activity is significantly serious and implementing federal enforcement is necessary.

How Cases are Developed

One of the major differences between state and federal charges is how cases are handled in terms of punishment. In similar fashion to a state investigation, law enforcement agencies gather information regarding illicit activity and present the information to the U.S. Attorney’s office for their jurisdiction when they have completed the inquiry. Sometimes this takes a considerable amount of time, and then sometimes the application of federal charges is immediate when individuals are caught in the act of violating the law. The law enforcement agency that makes the arrest can make a difference, but the federal authorities usually have sovereignty over states and will decide which level the charges will be processed. The enforcement agencies typically share information, but the actual elements of the case can differ from agency to agency. Your federal case attorney can conduct a separate investigation into the case and build a defense for reasonable doubt when this occurs.

Procedural and Sentencing Guidelines

While the same constitutional protections apply for defendants in cases at both judicial levels, the procedures vary to some degree. Federal cases are often more complicated and include more defendants, many of which are willing to cooperate with prosecutors in respect to establishing solid cases. Level of involvement can make a major difference in the outcome of a federal case, and an experienced attorney with federal prosecutor experience many times can make arrangements for a charge reduction or dismissal when those caught in the middle want a plea bargain. This is significant because sentencing guidelines are more stringent at the federal level. While probation or parole could be available under some circumstances, this is generally rare for those centrally involved in the illegal activity. Having the right attorney is vital for a favorable outcome of cases processed in federal court because the ultimate impact on the life of the defendant can be devastating for both them and their families.

Contact a New York Attorney with Federal Experience

It is always imperative to defend yourself against any federal charge. Always select a criminal defense attorney who has prior experience as a prosecutor and understands how to implement all of your rights to criminal defense in a federal application. In New York, that law firm is Raisser & Kenniff PC.

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