6th Jul 2015
Recent news stories have clearly illustrated that in addition to local and State (like Miami-Dade County or Broward County) prosecutors who prosecute violations of Florida State laws and local ordinances, there is also a branch of the United States Justice Department, made up of specialized attorneys that also prosecute crimes. While many may assume that Federal prosecutions are a more serious matter than that of a State or local prosecution (which is inexact since any prosecution initiated against a person should be viewed as a serious manner), it would not be unreasonable for people to ponder why the powerful United States government, with their Federal prosecutors, would want to focus their attention on their particular case.
What Attracts Federal Prosecutors to a Particular Case?
Federal crimes have the potential to be more serious than that of State or local crimes because of the length of incarceration or monetary fines that may be assessed (For many crimes that are both State and Federal offenses, the Federal penalties may be dramatically higher than that of State laws).
The alleged criminal 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 in possession of a marijuana joint since that is generally penalized by State and local laws, not Federal laws.
Even if you violated a Federal law, that is not a guarantee that a Federal criminal case will be taken against you. Some issues that the United States Attorney’s Office/Justice Department, with their Federal prosecutors, may consider when deciding to launch a Federal investigation may include:
• Were there Federal agencies (like ATF, DEA, Secret Service, FBI or Homeland Security) involved in the criminal investigation?
• Was this a serious offense? Meaning was there a significant amount of controlled substances or money involved? For example, were you found to be in possession of a large quantity of drugs such as cocaine, oxycodone, 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?
• Did the alleged criminal conduct cross State lines?
• What evidence does law enforcement have available to prove its case?
• How busy is the Federal prosecutor’s office?
I’m being Accused of a Federal Crime! Now What?
Finding out that you have been charged with a Federal crime in Florida is scary and unsettling. However, the faster 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 natures 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 law enforcement collect evidence and were your rights violated?
Because of the serious nature of federal criminal charges, you want to hire an attorney like Scott Saul 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 Scott Saul today for a free consultation to discuss your case.