When Might I Have to Deal with Federal Prosecutors?
Recent news stories have informed many that in addition to local and state prosecutors who prosecute violations of state laws and local ordinances, there is also a branch of the Justice Department comprised of attorneys who also prosecute crimes. While most would assume that federal prosecutions are a more serious matter than state or local prosecutions (in fact, any prosecution initiated against you should be taken seriously), it is less clear is when and why federal prosecutors might want to be involved in a case.
What Attracts Federal Prosecutors to a Particular Case?
Federal crimes are generally more serious than state or local crimes because of the amount of fines that can be assessed (hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single offense) and length of prison sentences that can be imposed. Your alleged conduct must have violated a federal law in order for a federal prosecutor to be able to even consider filing a federal criminal case against you. For example, you will almost never need to fear a federal prosecutor filing a case against you because you were driving too fast, since speeding is generally penalized by state and local laws, not federal laws.
Even if you violated a federal law, you may not have a federal criminal case filed against you. Some questions that federal prosecutors ask when deciding to file a federal criminal case include:
- Were other federal agencies (like ATF and/or the FBI) involved in the criminal investigation?
- Was this a serious offense? For example, were you found to be in possession of a large quantity of a drug such as methamphetamine or heroin?
- Is there a significant amount of national media attention surrounding this case?
- Have local law enforcement personnel requested the assistance of federal prosecutors?
- What evidence does law enforcement have available to prove its case?
- How busy is the federal prosecutor’s office?
I’ve Been Charged with a Federal Crime! Now What?
Finding out that you have been charged with a federal crime in Florida is scary and unsettling. However, the quicker you take action the better off you will be. One of the first things you should do is contact an experienced Florida federal criminal defense lawyer. There are a number of questions that need to be answered in order to prepare your defense, such as:
- What are the nature of the charges filed against you?
- What is your criminal history, if any?
- What facts are the charges based upon?
- What witnesses and evidence are available to support the charges?
- What witnesses and evidence are available to refute the charges?
- How did the police collect evidence and were your rights violated?
Because of the serious nature of federal criminal charges, you want to hire an attorney like Jeffrey S. Weiner who has successfully represented many individuals charged with a variety of federal crimes. Do not trust your freedom and financial future to a lawyer who does not have the knowledge or experience to secure you a favorable outcome. Contact Jeffrey S. Weiner today for a free consultation to discuss your case.