The United States has a unique political and judicial system. Although some issues are left up to state and local laws, others fall under the purview of the federal government. Federal laws cover overarching issues that either affect multiple states or are of great importance.
In certain cases of criminal activity, crimes that break federal laws lead to federal court cases and trials. These are extremely serious scenarios, as facing prosecution from the federal government can have lifelong consequences. Those convicted of federal charges will not simply be punished in a county jail or state prison. Individuals found guilty of federal crimes can face long sentences in federal penitentiaries.
If you are facing a federal crime accusation or charge, it is absolutely essential that you find a qualified federal criminal defense lawyer to help you fight your case. This is the most serious level of investigation that can occur in the United States. There is no scenario in which you should attempt to move forward without help.
Our team at Kevin Lemley Law Partners can provide high-quality legal services for federal cases of all kinds.
Our team has over 50 years of combined experience and is well-equipped to represent you in your federal crimes case. Throughout our legal careers, our attorneys have represented thousands of clients in a wide range of criminal defense matters. During this time, we have learned the best methods for navigating and winning difficult cases in federal court.
Unlike many attorneys, we have direct experience with federal prosecutors. Our team knows how to navigate the opposition in these cases. This can make the process less stressful and more approachable for our clients. No matter what your offense may be, we can walk you through the process with calm, rational legal advice. This level-headed environment gives you the best opportunity to think clearly and navigate your charges with confidence.
No matter what your case may entail, our team has the resources and experience to defend you in federal court. For Arkansas federal criminal cases, you will find no better representation than the lawyers at Kevin Lemley Law Partners.
It can be difficult to determine the difference between state and federal crimes. Many people do not even make the distinction between state and federal laws. However, there are certain scenarios that make it clear that a legal situation will be federal rather than state-run.
If a crime involves federal officers, agents, or takes place on federal land, it falls under federal crimes. Examples include:
Federal law handles any infractions that occur on federal property. However, this is not the only criteria for a federal crime. If an offense involves a government agency, such as Medicaid or federal student loan agencies, it will also be a federal crime. It will be prosecuted as such even if the action did not occur on federal property.
Federal courts also handle situations that affect more than one state. Certain issues can be handled at the state level, while others are under federal jurisdiction. Many cases that the federal government handles are crimes that affect more than one state, such as:
The above offenses involve individuals, families, or companies from several states. This makes it difficult for state governments to prosecute, which is why the federal government handles these issues. As a result, the majority of white-collar crimes are investigated by the federal government.
Some federal crimes do not cross state lines but handle serious or high-profile issues. In these scenarios, the federal government takes over to enforce federal law. Examples include:
This is not an exhaustive list of federal crimes, and there are many more offenses that fall under this category.
Federal crimes come with serious consequences at the federal level. Defendants face federal prosecutors and serve time in federal prisons if found guilty. The intensity and severity of these penalties cannot be overstated.
Your only hope of avoiding these serious consequences is by hiring an Arkansas federal crimes attorney. In some situations, defendants have access to a state or federal attorney who will defend them. However, it is unwise to rely on this option. State and federal attorneys have large caseloads and rarely have time to spend with each client. This results in poor arguments and defense strategies, meaning that you will likely lose your case.
Do not rely on public defenders to help you during a serious federal case. In these scenarios, it is absolutely worth it to hire a private attorney. They can offer you one-on-one attention and commit considerable time to your case.
When you face state charges, the case will go through the state court system. Parties such as the county sheriff, the local police department, and similar individuals will likely be involved. When you go to court for a state crime in Arkansas, for example, you will appear before the Arkansas Superior Court.
When you commit a federal crime, groups such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will be responsible for investigating. This contrasts with the local police officers and county sheriffs that may be involved at the state level. These federal agencies are the last stop for certain issues, and the agents take their jobs extremely seriously. There is no leniency or flexibility. The agents from these departments enforce the laws at the highest levels.
Defendants charged with federal crimes appear in federal courts. The judges in these courts are personally appointed by the president and are sworn in for a lifetime. In the legal sector, being a federal judge is one of the highest positions you can obtain. As such, these individuals usually take their jobs very seriously and will not be lenient. To win, you need a strong and compelling argument in your favor.
Going up against federal agencies intensifies your case and makes it more difficult to defend. Having an experienced attorney by your side is necessary. You need legal representation if you want to have any hope of clearing your charges.
It is difficult to say what your exact punishment will be if you lose your case. Every claim is different, and your punishment will depend on your unique scenario.
For each federal crime, there are standard sentencing guidelines that federal judges follow. These guidelines may outline a range of time for prison sentences or a maximum fine amount. It is important to note that federal sentencing guidelines are usually much longer and harsher than state ones. This is the case even for similar crimes. For example, you may get a minimum of five years in prison for a crime at the state level. However, you may be sentenced to a minimum of ten years for the same crime at the federal level.
The manner in which you serve your sentence changes for federal crimes as well. Generally, incarceration for misdemeanors at the state level happens in a county jail. Felony incarceration at the state level usually occurs in a state prison. Incarceration for a federal crime will occur in a federal prison.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons runs all federal penitentiaries. The rules and guidelines in these prisons are strict and harshly enforced. Additionally, it is possible to be transferred in any incarceration scenario. If you are transferred at the state level, you will at least remain in the same state. However, if you get transferred while in federal prison, you may end up on the other side of the country from your family, friends, and other visitors.
As you navigate your federal crime accusation, it is important to remember your rights. The law is strict about providing universal rights for those on trial, even if they have been accused of committing a crime.
As police officers must state in the Miranda Rights, everyone has the right to an attorney in a criminal case. If you cannot afford a private attorney, the government will assign a public defender to represent you. It is important to understand that these individuals have a significant number of cases that they are working on. They will rarely have time to properly build an argument for you. Your case can suffer from this kind of poor representation, and it may even cost you your future. It is best to hire a private attorney who can work with you one-on-one.
To make trial verdicts as fair as possible, the United States Constitution guarantees that you have the right to a jury of your peers. This group of people will discuss and make a unanimous decision about the verdict in your case. By doing so, the law distributes power rather than concentrating it in the hands of a single individual (the judge).
As a jury is your right, you may waive your right if you so choose. Some cases benefit from a bench trial, or a trial in which the judge decides the verdict alone. However, you should only use this option after you have discussed your unique situation with an experienced attorney.
The United States trial system operates under the assumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty. This means that the prosecution must present sufficient evidence and arguments to convince the jury that the defendant is guilty. Their base mindset must be that the defendant in the case is innocent. They must maintain that opinion until the defendant is proven otherwise by the prosecution.
The jury cannot reach a verdict unless all jurors agree. This is different than in civil cases, where the jury must simply come to a majority. If the jury cannot come to a unanimous decision, it is considered a “hung jury,” and you may have a retrial.
On rare occasions, a defendant can be tried in both state and federal court for the same crime. State and federal governments are considered “separate sovereigns” by the constitution. Because they are different authorities, it is not double jeopardy if you get tried at the state and federal levels.
This occurs in very few cases, so most defendants do not need to worry. However, it is important to find an attorney who can properly represent you in both scenarios to protect yourself against the possibility of two trials.
All attorneys and law firms charge differently for their services. As a result, determining the cost of your federal crimes attorney is difficult. In criminal defense cases, most attorneys charge an hourly rate for their services. Federal attorneys with extensive experience charge much more than those with minimal experience. As a result, a low cost per hour is not always a good thing. Always ask potential attorneys what their rates are so you can budget for your case.
The cost of your case will also depend on its complexity. The more complicated the case is, the longer it will take to build, argue, and conclude. Because many attorneys charge by the hour, additional case time means higher costs.
A confident and experienced attorney will be able to discuss these matters with you openly and honestly during your consultation.
Our team is dedicated to helping people facing federal crime cases. Our experienced Federal crimes attorneys can help you build the strongest possible case. We can make sure that your voice is heard throughout your trial.
For more information, please contact Kevin Lemley Law Partners right away.