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Arrested for a Federal Crime in Silicon Valley or the Peninsula?
Federal criminal attorney, James Dunn defends federal court accusations throughout the Bay Area out of offices in San Jose, Redwood City and Palo Alto, CA.
Federal Crimes Attorney
When you are arrested by local police officers on suspicion of a crime, chances are you will be charged by the California District Attorney’s office in your county and your case will be handled at your county courthouse – usually in Redwood City or San Jose. However, there are some cases in which the state of California will not be the entity to oversee your charge.
The United States Code sets out a number of criminal offenses for which federal authorities have the power to investigate and arrest you. In such cases, you will be charged by a United States Attorney and your case will be conducted in federal court.
If you are accused of a federal offense, it is essential to seek help from a federal criminal defense lawyer who has experience handling cases on the federal level. Many defense firms in the South Bay have no or little experience defending cases in Federal Court and these cases require specialized knowledge, licensing and experience.
When can I be Charged with a Crime in Federal Court?
You can be charged by the federal government if there is probable cause to believe that you committed any of the offenses that are included in federal law. In addition, if the state of California charges you with a crime that may also qualify as a federal crime, the federal government has the power to take over the case and move it to federal court.
Some examples of federal criminal offenses include the following:
- Drug trafficking
- Weapons offenses
- Mail or wire fraud
- Fraud against the government
- Money laundering
- Healthcare fraud
- Bank fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Tax fraud
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Hate crimes
- Police misconduct
- Bank robbery
- False statements to the government
- Child pornography
- Human trafficking
- Environmental offenses
Each of these offenses has its own unique elements and penalties. Fortunately, an experienced federal defense attorney such as Mr. Dunn will understand how to best defend against your specific charges.
How are Federal Cases Different Than State Cases?
While you may imagine that criminal cases will be similar no matter where they occur, this is simply not the case and federal cases are substantially different for many reasons. Some of these differences include:
As mentioned above, the U.S. Code sets out its own elements of each crime, as well as its own penalties for convictions. These can vary significantly from state laws for similar offenses.
Federal Law Enforcement Officers
Unlike state-level charges, your local police department will not be the ones investigating your federal offense or placing you under arrest. Instead, several different federal agencies have agents who engage in investigation and arrests. These agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms (ATF). These agencies have substantially greater resources than local police and, therefore, have the ability to mount thorough and complex investigations to gather a mountain of evidence to be used in a criminal case.
Potential Penalties in Federal Court
The potential penalties for federal crimes tend to be harsher than at the state level. Many convictions come with mandatory minimum sentences established by federal law and federal offenders are not eligible for parole programs. In addition, once you are released, you may have to participate in a supervised release program for three to five years.
Federal Courthouses and Judges
The federal court system is much different than your county courthouse. There are separate rules and procedures that must be followed and your attorney should be thoroughly familiar with all of these. In addition, federal courts often hear fewer cases, which means that each division has more time and resources to commit to individual cases. For this reason, cases can be more in-depth and lengthier. Federal judges also have the ability to deny bond to defendants in situations that would not apply in state court.
Federal Prison Systems
If you are awaiting the resolution of your case (and have not been released on bond) or if you are convicted of a federal crime, you will not spend time in a facility run by the California Department of Corrections. Instead, you will be in a facility run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which can be anywhere across the U.S.
While the above may seem concerning, the most important thing to remember is that no case has a predetermined outcome. Even if you were subject to investigation and the law sets out a mandatory minimum sentence for your charge, there are many ways a skilled federal criminal attorney can defend against your charges and minimize the consequences in your case. The federal criminal justice system can seem intimidating but an experienced defense attorney can help you navigate the process and achieve the best outcome possible in your situation.
When Should I Call a Federal Criminal Attorney For Help?
There are many times when it is critical to seek assistance from an experienced federal crimes attorney. First, if you believe that you are under investigation by any type of federal authorities, you should immediately discuss the situation with an attorney. A skilled attorney can protect your rights during the investigation and can represent you during any questioning to ensure that you do not unintentionally make potentially harmful statements. This can lessen the severity of any subsequent charges or can cause the government to drop the matter entirely.
Furthermore, if you are arrested by federal authorities, your very first call should be to a federal criminal attorney with experience handling cases in the federal criminal court system. You should have qualified representation from the very start of your case to ensure your best chance of a positive result. You should avoid speaking with and law enforcement agents until you have the representation of an attorney who can help you and stand up for your rights.
Contact a Bay Area Federal Crimes Defense Attorney for Help Today
At the Law Office of James Dunn, we regularly represent clients facing federal criminal charges and we understand how the criminal justice system works. If you are suspected of a federal crime or have already been charged, you should seek help as soon as possible. Please call to discuss your situation with our federal criminal defense lawyer today at 650-539-0809.