If you have been accused of a federal crime in Arizona, make sure that you speak to a Phoenix federal crime attorney with experience in handling these cases. Federal crimes often involve most “white collar crimes,” a relatively new subset of criminal law. White collar crimes emerged shortly after the Great Depression, signifying crimes relating to financially motivated non-violent crimes committed by business professionals. White collar crimes have since expanded from the early days to include many forms of corporate fraud and identity theft. These crimes have had vast repercussions on countless Americans today, drastically impacting our current economy. As a result, federal prosecutors have begun to hand down harsher sentences in recent years to curtail the number of financial federal crimes being committed in hopes of stifling criminal intent.
Not every criminal defense attorney has a background in federal crimes. It is a unique area of criminal defense which not only requires the licensing to practice in front of a federal court but also experience in the federal courtroom and the court system as a whole. If you have been arrested on suspicion of a federal crime, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Phoenix criminal defense lawyer at Orent Law Offices. Craig Orent, Phoenix federal crime attorney, has over 30 years of experience in assisting clients to fight for their rights. He understands that federal charges are often quite removed from any state charges and have a completely different set of consequences to worry about. Federal criminal defense is a niche area of the law, which requires the best and brightest defense lawyer who has prior experience handling federal claims.
Looking at all of the information we just provided you is probably overwhelming, especially if you or a loved one are facing federal charges. In these situations, it can be tempting to call the first criminal defense attorney you see pop up in your Internet search results for your area. Or perhaps you have used a criminal defense attorney in the past who you trust.
However, there are some things you need to understand about defense attorneys when it comes to federal charges. Above, we pointed out how just about everything about federal charges is different: the judges, the jury pool, the charges, the sentences, etc. There are also differences when it comes to federal crimes defense attorneys as well.
First, you need to check the qualifications of an attorney you want to work with. For example, you need to find a criminal defense attorney who is licensed to practice law in the federal court system. Many criminal defense attorneys are licensed to practice in both state and federal court, but not all are licensed to practice in federal court.
Just because a criminal defense attorney is licensed to practice in federal court does not mean they are good at it. Some other things you need to check on include:
Experience in the federal court system is of vital importance because of the significant differences between state and federal court.
Your federal criminal defense attorney will be able to give you comprehensive information regarding the charges against you. They will walk you through the entire process we have talked about here today and will ensure that your constitutional rights are protected at all times.
In many cases, a person can face both state and federal charges for the same crimes. When that happens, you may want to choose an attorney who is able to defend you in both systems. This will help in the long run because they will already be familiar with your case, regardless of who prosecutes first. It can also help cut down on your overall costs.
There are instances where the state government will defer to the federal government when it comes to prosecution and vice versa, with the other only pursuing charges if the other fails.
You may wonder if this falls under the category of double jeopardy. It does not. The Constitution’s double jeopardy clause only applies when a person faces charges from the same ”sovereign.” In these cases, Arizona and the US government are separate “sovereigns” and can both pursue criminal charges for the same crime.
If you are contacted by federal authorities or you learn you are a person of interest in a federal investigation, you should contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to guide you. You should not speak to anyone until after you have talked to an attorney.
The bottom line is that you need representation from an attorney who has vast experience with federal crimes and who is licensed to handle federal cases. This may require you to do a little more searching for the right lawyer in your case. However, you do not want to be left unprotected when facing federal charges.
Penalties and sentencing for federal crimes differ greatly from those at the state level. In general, federal crimes carry harsher sentences, for several reasons:
Several factors may influence the ultimate length of sentencing and punishment upon conviction for a federal crime. For example, a white-collar crime may carry severe punishments to begin with, but details may enhance sentencing, such as:
In federal sentencing, several factors that are not present or applicable in a state level case may affect a conviction. Combined with the fact that judges and prosecutors do not have much liberty with striking pleas or sentencing, federal crimes carry much harsher penalties in general. Additionally, a federal crime carries a sentence in federal prison, which is often further from home and has higher security.
Finally, federal crimes differ from state crimes in that the actual time served is much longer. For a federal conviction, a person must serve at least 85% of the sentence before negotiating for an early release. At the state level, this percentage is usually around 50%. For example, a jail sentence of 10 years may only be five at the state level but will be at least 8.5 for a federal crime. In other words, federal sentencing is harsher than state-level sentencing in virtually every way.
Some crimes naturally fall under the federal purview if a federal law enforcement agency investigates it or completes the arrest. In some cases, a crime may rise to the federal level if it occurs on federal property. A common example of a federal crime involves illegal activity related to interstate commerce. Other examples of federal charges include:
As mentioned previously, federal crimes usually involve harsher sentences and maximum penalties. However, several other notable differences apply.
Many crimes, for example, are illegal at both the state and federal levels, but the federal government is most likely to defer to the state for many of them. In general, the state prosecutes more crimes than the federal government. However, the federal government may choose to intervene and exercise “dual sovereignty” in some cases. If this applies, a person may face charges for a crime at both the state and federal levels.
The federal government may choose to pursue charges when the entire nation’s welfare is at risk. Child pornography, for example, represents a threat to society and is a matter of federal law. In other cases, such as those involving interstate commerce or counterfeit money, the federal government intervenes simply to avoid the chaos of letting the states regulate the matter.
Overall, federal crimes involve more serious matters or criminal actions spanning several states. For this reason, the federal government often prosecutes them, and they may involve harsher penalties. Retaining the services of an Orent Law Firm attorney with experience in federal law can help you in this difficult situation.
Federal crimes encompass a unique section of the law which seems similar to state law but often contains more severe penalties. State court and federal court are also drastically different, causing an important distinction within the entire court process. The United States Attorney’s Office often have quite a bit more resources at their disposal than ordinary local and state offices do, thus have greater academic credentials than state or local prosecutors. Therefore federal cases can often be complex and lengthy, requiring a criminal defense attorney who understands the implications of a federal conviction as well as the federal court system in its entirety.
You may be subject to federal crimes prosecution for the following offenses:
The classification of “federal crimes” often sends shivers down the most hardened criminals’ spine due to the implications that can arise from such crimes. State crimes are one thing since accused criminals are brought in local court to answer in state court for crimes they may have committed. However, federal crimes and charges involve a different set of procedural rules and penalties which every local, Phoenix federal crimes attorney is not accustomed to.