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Criminal Defense

Federal Cases

The majority of criminal charges in Florida are based on violation of local or state laws. A federal offense involves a violation of a federal law or criminal conduct that crossed state lines. When a criminal action violates state and federal laws, both the federal and state government can choose to pursue charges. One agency generally defers to the other to prosecute the case, but the other can pursue charges when the first fails.

Being charged with a federal crime can be overwhelming as federal criminal offenses typically carry stiffer penalties than state offenses, and federal prosecutors have greater resources. If you are facing federal charges, it’s important to consult with an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer in Florida as soon as possible.

Why Are Federal Cases Different?

Federal criminal charges are typically much more serious than state criminal charges for several reasons:

  • Federal prosecutors can pick and choose their cases. They can take the case if they believe it will be easy to prove or they can leave it for state prosecutors.
  • Federal prosecutors have extensive resources. Resources are virtually limitless to investigate criminal activities.
  • Defense attorneys can’t depose witnesses. Unlike the Florida court system, the federal court system does not allow a defense attorney to depose or interview witnesses before the trial or even know who witnesses are until the trial begins. This makes it harder to gather and evaluate evidence.
  • Penalties are stiffer. Probation is very rare with federal charges, and penalties are generally harsher than the penalties for a state charge.

Penalties for Federal Crimes

Federal criminal code classifies felonies and misdemeanors as follows:

  • Felony A: Up to life imprisonment or death penalty
  • Felony B: Up to 25+ years
  • Felony C: 10-25 years
  • Felony D: 5-10 years
  • Felony E: 1-5 years
  • Misdemeanor A: 6-12 months
  • Misdemeanor B: 30 days to 6 months
  • Misdemeanor C: 5-30 days

Sentencing is very different in federal court than state criminal court. Sentencing guidelines carry harsher penalties than state guidelines. When a defendant takes a plea bargain, the federal judge has complete control over the sentence. The federal judge is required to consider the guideline range for the charge and other factors, but after this evaluation, they have the freedom to sentence the defendant to anything they consider appropriate. This is why it’s crucial to choose a federal case defense attorney familiar with federal sentencing guidelines and the experience necessary to effectively argue a defense.

Common Federal Offenses in Florida

Any offense that is in violation of federal criminal law can be charged in federal court. This includes crimes that crossed state lines, crimes that involved a defendant crossing state lines to commit a crime, and crimes that involved federal agencies or federal property. Common federal criminal offenses in Florida include:

  • Sex crimes such as child pornography or human trafficking
  • Drug offenses such as possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and drug trafficking
  • Computer crimes
  • White collar crimes such as money laundering, bank fraud, mortgage fraud, and Medicare fraud
  • Weapons offenses such as selling firearms without a license

Contact a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer in Florida

Are you facing federal criminal charges? The federal criminal system is complicated and very different than the Florida state criminal system. Contact GMV Law Group, LLP to schedule a consultation with a federal case defense attorney in Florida to review your case and begin building your defense. We have Spanish and English speaking representatives standing by to help you take the next steps in your defense.

GMV Law Group, LLP