Learning you are a suspect in a federal crime can be rather alarming. Many think of federal crimes as the most serious forms of misconduct, but you may be surprised to know that the severity of the crime is not the only factor which determines whether it’s prosecuted at the state or federal level. If you have been involved in a crime which crosses state lines or one that was committed on federal land, you may be charged with a federal offense no matter how minor the infraction. Furthermore, all immigration and customs violations are investigated at the federal level. Below, I discuss why it is so crucial for you to seek legal representation when you are facing a federal charge.
As a potential suspect in a federal crime, you should know that law enforcement is not on your side. If they do not have enough information to immediately put you under arrest, the FBI or the DEA may contact you to “ask a few questions” without a thorough explanation of the reason behind them. During the conversation, they may exaggerate (or downplay) the extent of your charges or reference statements others have allegedly made against you.
These questions and comments are designed to provoke a reaction, but you are better off withholding a response. Federal law enforcement agents receive extensive training on how to elicit incriminating evidence from even the most shrewd suspects. You will not talk your way out trouble with the Department of Justice.
Fortunately, you have the right to refrain from speaking with a federal agent until your attorney is present. This is a liberty you should absolutely exercise in a polite but assertive manner. Do not ask the agent if you need an attorney or passively mention that you “might need to speak with your lawyer.” If you convey uncertainty, the agent may persuade you to continue the interview. Know your rights and hold your ground.
MULTIPLE CHARGES FOR THE SAME CRIME
Most are familiar with the Double Jeopardy Clause, which states that someone cannot be charged for the same crime twice. However, not everyone has heard of its “separate sovereign” exception. Because the state and federal governments are separate entities, double jeopardy does not apply. If you have committed a crime which violates both state and federal law, you are open to facing two sentences for the same offense.
HARSH & LENGTHY SENTENCES
Typically, federal penalties enforce longer sentences and higher fines than equivalent crimes at the state level. Furthermore, those convicted of federal offenses will do time in a federal prison and will not be eligible for parole. Federal offenders can expect to serve at least 85% of their sentences, and once on federal probation, they will be under strict federal supervision without many of the privileges they likely had in the past.
HOW TO TURN YOUR SITUATION AROUND
Though you may be up against several hurdles as a suspected federal offender, you must remember that you are only a suspect. With the help of an experienced attorney, you may be able to prove that your charge is inaccurate and prevent a conviction.
I have personally represented others in your shoes for the past 25 years. Under my representation, many of my clients have had their charges significantly lowered or dropped entirely. After all, I always aim to do whatever it takes to preserve my clients’ rights and independence.
FEDERAL CRIMES ATTORNEY IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
Federal offenses cover more than felonies and organized crime. Money laundering, drug trafficking, identity theft, and hate crimes are a few examples, but federal offenses also include common state crimes that happen on federal land or across state lines. If you are facing such charges, you must seek legal representation. Learn more about how I can put my proven record of success to work for you by scheduling a complimentary consultation today.