If you are facing charges for a federal crime in Pennsylvania, prosecutors will have done their homework, which can make it difficult for you to try to prove your innocence. Consider hiring a lawyer with knowledge of federal crimes to help you work through the process. Federal criminal statutes can be complex, so having a defense attorney that has studied them and knows how they differ from state and local statutes may be helpful.
A Pennsylvania federal crimes lawyer from the team from McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. can help defend you against these charges. Call us at (610) 680-7842 for a free consultation.
What Constitutes a Federal Crime?
A federal crime is one where laws passed at the federal level have made something illegal. These actions may or may not be illegal at a state or local level.
Should you be accused of committing a crime on federal property, such as inside of a federal building, you may face federal charges. Committing a crime across state lines can also result in federal charges. Some federal crimes include:
- Banking fraud
- Money laundering
- Federal tax crimes
- Social Security fraud
- Immigration law violations
- Internet fraud
- Wire fraud
- Mail fraud
- Drug possession
- Drug manufacturing
- Drug trafficking
Because trying cases in federal court can be an expensive undertaking, prosecutors do not file charges in cases like these lightly. A federal prosecutor will feel confident regarding the evidence against you, meaning you need a well-planned defense strategy if you are innocent.
How Federal Crimes Work
Unlike crimes involving local or state statutes, prosecutors will try federal crimes in federal courts. Should you receive a conviction for this type of crime, you will serve time in a federal prison.
During the trial, federal courts use different rules of evidence than state and local courts as laid out by the Legal Information Institute (LII), meaning your attorney must have an understanding of how to present the facts in your case. Improper presentation of evidence may leave you unable to defend yourself properly.
How an Attorney Could Help
If your defense team includes a Pennsylvania federal crimes lawyer, they can help you with a number of tasks including:
- Reviewing the evidence against you
- Interviewing witnesses to the crime
- Obtaining documents related to your arrest
- Developing a strategy for your defense
- Working closely with you to understand the defense strategy
- Following the paper trail for financial transactions related to the crime
At McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., our team can work with you throughout the process. We can help defend you against undue federal charges. For a free case review, call us at (610) 680-7842.
How Does the Federal Court System Work?
If a crime is prosecuted at the federal level, the case will begin in a district court according to the United States Department of Justice (DoJ). District courts handle both civil and criminal cases.
If you lose a criminal case at the district court level, you can appeal the verdict to a United States court of appeal. If you choose to appeal the verdict once again, the case will be brought before the Supreme Court.
Investigation and Charges at the Federal Level
If you are facing a federal crime, a law enforcement agency has likely investigated the case already. According to the Offices of the United States Attorneys, some of the federal agencies that may be involved in an investigation of your case to build evidence include:
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- The United States Secret Service (USSS)
Investigators present their evidence to the federal prosecutor, who then must determine whether to pursue charges in the case. If so, and if the case involves felony charges, the prosecutor may present the evidence to a grand jury. This grand jury will listen to the evidence and determine whether the facts in the case show that it should continue to be arbitrated.
Federal misdemeanor crimes do not need to go before a grand jury. Instead, they go straight to the district court level.
Determining Whether a Federal Case Goes to Trial
Once the case reaches the district court level, it can have three potential outcomes:
- Dismissal: where federal prosecutors will choose to dismiss the case before it goes to trial.
- Plea bargain: where federal prosecutors will negotiate with the defendant’s attorney and reach a plea bargain, meaning the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser charge.
- Trial: where the case goes to trial.
According to Pew Research, there were almost 80,000 federally prosecuted criminal cases during the 2018 fiscal year. Of those cases 90 percent of defendants chose a plea bargain, 8 percent had their cases dismissed, and 2 percent went to trial.
A defense attorney can help you determine the best path forward for your defense. He or she may determine a plea bargain is in your best interest. It is also possible that the attorney could convince prosecutors to drop the case entirely. Any of these options may be part of a smart defense strategy in a federal criminal case based on the evidence.
McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. Can Work to Defend You
If you hire the team from McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., you can feel certain that we will be able to answer questions and discuss the strategy regarding your defense at any time. We communicate with our clients in any way they feel comfortable, including texting, phone calls, social media, or email.
For a free consultation about your case, call us at (610) 680-7842. After this consultation, you are under no obligation to hire us. However, if you do choose to utilize the services of a Pennsylvania federal crimes lawyer, our team will be available to you whenever you need.