Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers in Tampa Bay Area Manage Complex Cases
Experience and skill to challenge highly professional prosecutions
If you’ve been arrested on federal charges, Special Agents for the FBI and the U.S. Attorney believe the case is strong and they are prepared to prove the elements necessary to send you to federal prison. Fortunately, when you retain Faught & Faught, P.A., you get experienced and skilled defense counsel, fully prepared to challenge the case against you and protect your rights throughout the legal process. Drawing on more than 50 years of combined legal experience, our criminal trial lawyers conduct an in-depth investigation and work tirelessly for a favorable outcome.
What qualifies certain offenses as federal crimes?
Both the states and the federal government operate criminal justice systems. There are numerous factors that determine whether a particular offense is charged in state or federal court:
- Federal subject matter — A violation of a federal statute that prohibits particular actions is a federal offense. For example, the federal criminal code gives the U.S. government jurisdiction over certain drug crimes. Violations of rules promulgated by federal agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, can also bring federal charges. Finally, crimes that victimize federal agencies, such as Medicare and Medicaid fraud, are federal in nature. This is also the reason why bank robbery has been a federal crime since 1934, when banks, credit unions, and savings and loan associations became members of the Federal Reserve System.
- Crimes committed on federal property — An offense that would otherwise be a state crime becomes federal when it happens on the grounds of a National Park or Monument, federal building, military base, or U.S. Post Office.
- Crimes committed across state lines — The U.S. Department of Justice has jurisdiction over offenses that are committed by crossing state lines, as in wire fraud, or continue across state lines, such as kidnapping, where the perpetrators take the victim into another state.
- Crimes against federal officers in the performance of their duties — Assault and battery against a federal marshal, a federal judge, a Member of Congress, a Senator, or another officer of the federal government is a federal crime if it occurs during or because of the officer’s performance of their government duties.
Many offenses allow for concurrent jurisdiction, meaning that either the state or the federal government can prosecute the offense under its laws.
Types of state crimes that become federal offenses
At Faught and Faught, we often take a case expecting the state to prosecute, only to see the FBI and the U.S. DOJ assume jurisdiction. This is common with offenses such as:
- Drug crimes — If the amount of a drug involved is sufficient to trigger federal trafficking laws, federal prosecutors may take over prosecution of a drug crime even if state or local police have made the arrest.
- Sex crimes — State and federal investigators work together to thwart certain sex crimes, such as possession of Internet child pornography. If prostitution involves underage sex workers, undocumented aliens, or sex workers brought across state lines, federal prosecutors can assume jurisdiction.
- White collar crimes — Computer hacking, identity theft, wire fraud, and fraud against a federal agency are just a few examples of white collar crimes that can be charged at the federal level.
- Weapons charges — There are numerous federal regulations covering the possession, use, transportation, distribution and sale of different types of firearms. Because of the complexity of these laws, gun owners acting in good faith with incomplete knowledge of the law can become accidental felons.
When a case moves from state to federal court, the stakes for the defendant rise. Investigations are generally more thorough and professional, prosecutors are more highly trained and aggressive, and the penalties under federal law are more severe. At this point, you must make sure your defense counsel has the knowledge, experience and skill to perform at this level.
Federal crimes can expose defendants to double jeopardy
The Bill of Rights protects defendants from being tried twice for the same crime, a process called “double jeopardy.” But, when a single act violates state and federal law, the concept of “separate sovereignty” allows both state and federal prosecutors to take a crack at the defendant. This potentially doubles your chance of jail time and can ruin you financially even if you prevail. If your charges expose you to double jeopardy, you can trust Faught and Faught to protect your rights aggressively and to fight for a fair resolution.
Contact our Brandon, FL law firm for skilled defense to federal charges in Tampa
When the Federal Bureau of Investigation brings charges and a U.S. Attorney prosecutes, the defendant had better retain experienced representation, capable of matching the skills of federal prosecutors. Call Faught & Faught, P.A. today at 813-681-4246 or contact our Brandon, FL office online to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense attorney with federal court experience. Please be advised there may be a consultation fee for initial jailhouse visits.