Westchester Federal Criminal Lawyers
In the United States, a federal crime is defined as a crime that is illegal due to federal legislation. When people are accused of federal crimes, they’ll be charged in federal criminal court rather than state courts. Depending on the circumstances, a person might face criminal charges on both the federal and state level.
A person cannot be tried for exactly the same charge at the federal and state level simultaneously. This is because of the Constitutional right protecting against double jeopardy. People cannot be tried twice for the same crime; double trials at the state and federal level violate this clause. But sometimes people will be charged with federal crimes and separate state crimes regarding the same incident.
If you’re accused of a federal crime, it’s important to hire a lawyer who is experienced in negotiating at both the federal and state levels. Your lawyer is your main line of defense against the entire might of the United States government and justice system.
United States federal law outlines a number of different offense levels:
- A Class A felony – This is the most serious type of felony, and it can result in life imprisonment without parole. In some cases, the death penalty is also involved.
- A Class B felony – This felony carries a potential prison sentence of 25 to 30 years and a maximum fine of $250,000.
- A Class C felony – If you’re convicted of this felony charge, you will receive fewer than 25 years in prison, but you are also likely to receive more than 10 years as your sentence.
- A Class D felony – This felony carries a maximum prison sentence of ten years. It might also include sentences longer than five years.
- A Class E felony – This is the least severe type of felony, and includes prison sentences of between one year and five years.
- A Class A misdemeanor – This is the most serious type of misdemeanor, and has a maximum penalty of between 6 months and 1 year spent in jail.
- A Class B misdemeanor – This misdemeanor charge can result in up to 6 months in jail, and jail sentences of more than 30 days.
- A Class C misdemeanor – This is the least serious misdemeanor charge and involves jail sentences between 5 and 30 days.
- An infraction – This is similar to a violation, and involves 5 days or less in jail.
If a crime involved inter-state currency, it will most likely be charged at the federal level. If crimes were committed in multiple states, sometimes they will be tried at the federal level in order to avoid having multiple criminal trials in multiple states.
These are some of the crimes that are tried at the federal level:
- Mail fraud
- Aircraft hijacking
- Child pornography
- Bank robbery
- Identity theft
- credit card fraud
- Computer crimes
- Federal hate crimes
- Tax evasion
- Espionage Act violations
- Patriot Act violations
- Illegal wiretapping
- Damaging and destroying public mailboxes
- Stealing art from a museum
- Immigration offenses
- Assassinating or attempting assassination of the President or Vice President
When federal offenses are drug related, a mandatory minimum might be enforced if the defendant traffics, cultivates, sells, or imports drugs across state or national borders. Mandatory minimum sentences refer to minimum sentences for certain drug offenses that are federally regulated.
The guidelines for prosecution have been established through the office of the United States Attorney. There are also statutes established by Congress, and guidelines specific to every federal judicial district. It’s important to contact a lawyer who understands how to negotiate using these guidelines.