Are You Under Investigation For A Federal Crime?
Being the target of a federal investigation is a serious matter that jeopardizes your career and your future, not to mention your freedom. You may know in advance that you are under investigation, or you may not know until you are arrested. No matter what stage your case is in, our criminal defense attorneys can help at Clarissa Fernandez Pratt, Attorney at Law. Our lawyers each have over a decade of trial court experience, including in federal court for our founder, and know how to manage complex criminal cases with high stakes.
Understanding Federal Charges
Federal crimes may either violate a specific federal law or involve an activity that crosses state borders. Federal law enforcement from different agencies or the FBI investigate these offenses. Sometimes federal offenses overlap with Texas statutes, like in drug cases, and the two government entities will decide which one will pursue the charges. In some cases, both agencies can bring their own charges. The federal government will often choose to pursue cases that include high-level offenses, large organizations or actions that cross state lines.
Can You Get Out On Bail If You Are Charged With A Federal Crime?
If charged with a federal crime in San Antonio or Bexar County, the possibility of being released on bail depends on various factors. Federal courts often follow stringent guidelines. A reputable criminal defense lawyer can fight for your bail based on the severity of the alleged offense, ties to the community and the defendant’s criminal history.
How Can You Determine Your Federal Sentencing Range?
Federal offenses are categorized into levels, each associated with specific sentencing zones. Determining your federal sentencing range in San Antonio requires consulting the sentencing guidelines. Federal sentencing guidelines depend on the offense type, criminal history and acceptance of responsibility.
Offenses are assigned a base level, which can be adjusted based on the specifics of the crime. That puts them in a specific sentencing “zone” upon conviction. Punishments upon conviction work like this:
- Zone A: Typically 0-6 months in prison for offense levels 1-9
- -14 months in prison for offense levels 10-13
- Zone C: Typically 15-21 months in prison for offense levels 14-20
- Zone D: Typically 24 months and upward in prison for offense levels 21 and above
An experienced federal criminal defense lawyer can analyze the details of your case.
Will Your Federal Crime Go To A Jury Trial?
Whether a federal crime goes to a jury trial depends on several factors, including the nature of the charges and the defendant’s preferences. A knowledgeable federal defense lawyer can assess your case’s strengths and weaknesses, advise on the likelihood of success in a trial and explore potential alternatives such as plea bargains.
What To Do If You Are Contacted By A Federal Agency
Politely ask why they’re contacting you and avoid answering detailed questions without legal counsel with a federal attorney. Seek advice from a skilled criminal lawyer.
What Is An Indictment?
This is a formal accusation that initiates a criminal case. In federal cases, a grand jury says, “We have enough evidence to believe this person is guilty, and they should stand trial.”
Your most potent defense against federal criminal charges lies in the superiority of your legal representation.
Are Federal Cases Handled Differently Than State Cases?
There are a few differences between how federal and state criminal cases are handled. For example, federal cases are investigated by federal agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). They are also managed by federal prosecutors and heard by a federal judge. In federal cases, judges typically have more stringent sentencing guidelines, which can result in harsher punishments.
State criminal cases are often investigated by police, county sheriffs or state agencies and are handled by county prosecutors and judges. State sentencing guidelines can also vary much more than federal ones.
Common Federal Offenses
The list of federal crimes is long and complicated. Some of the more common federal charges that the lawyers at Clarissa Fernandez Pratt, Attorney at Law, defend against include:
- Drug trafficking and manufacturing
- Child pornography
- Gun crimes (felony firearms possession, firearm trafficking)
- Internet crimes (website fraud, hacking, phishing)
- Money laundering
- Tax evasion
You may discover that a federal agency has you under investigation or has convened a grand jury to determine whether to indict you. Contact a lawyer right away in these situations. Our team can help you navigate these early stages of your case and may even be able to prevent an arrest from happening. Just because you have not been formally charged does not mean that you should talk to law enforcement alone.
What Are The Consequences Of Federal Offenses?
In most cases, consequences for federal criminal offenses can include lengthy prison sentences. According to the United States Sentencing Commission, the average sentence for federal criminal charges is approximately 147 months. And, in some cases, federal courts may decide that defendants require supervision upon release. In other cases, defendants may have to pay expensive fines as part of their punishment.
How An Experienced San Antonio Federal Crimes Attorney Can Help You With Your Case
Federal criminal charges can be daunting, and the penalties that can come with them are often steep. That’s why hiring an attorney well-versed in federal criminal cases is so important. Our founder has a deep comprehension of how the federal criminal justice system works and understands the motivations and decision-making processes of federal prosecutors and judges. This helps her act in her clients’ best interests, and it can give them a competitive advantage in the courtroom as well.