Title 18 of the United States code defines federal crimes, which typically consist of anything that the federal finds to be illegal, and for which the government has prescribed specific charges and sentencing recommendations for those convicted.
Depending on what the state charges a person with, and other circumstances surrounding the charges, the federal government can choose to escalate that general crime to the federal level.
In other words, if a state arrests someone for Internet crimes, for example, because Internet crimes often consist of crossing state borders, federal prosecutors could force the state to turn over the defendant and then charge him or her with a federal internet crimes.
Example of Federal vs. State Laws
Another thing about federal crimes that many people do not realize is that that not everything that is illegal under federal law is illegal according to state law, and not everything considered illegal by state law is illegal under federal law. Often the current political climate dictates how the federal government will get involved, if at all.
Marijuana laws are an example of the federal government charging people despite the legality of marijuana in many states. The federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug and illegal for any purposes, including medical marijuana.
This means that the federal government can arrest Washington and Colorado citizens for using marijuana even though the respective state laws state that citizens are not doing anything wrong. On the other hand, California law states that citizens with a valid prescription can use marijuana for medical purposes, but the federal government finds medical marijuana use illegal, and often arrests individuals who use their legal prescriptions.
Facing Charges for Federal Crimes
While the state and federal laws may disagree on what is illegal or legal, and federal government finds many crimes illegal under federal law that the states do, the consequences for breaking the federal law is the same on any level.
If the government arrested and charged you with a federal crime, local law enforcement and state prosecutors no longer handle the case – the arresting agency takes over investigation and prosecution. Often, the government will not make an arrest unless they have an airtight case against he accused, which means the arresting agency has likely had you under surveillance and investigation for anywhere from a few days to a few months or longer. In some cases, such as those concerning drug arrests, the government could investigate for years before making an arrest.
If you are facing charges for federal crimes, you must consult with an attorney who is experienced in navigating the federal legal system and experienced in challenging evidence and collection methods used by federal investigators.
My name is Robert M. Helfeld, and I have more than 20 years of experience fighting as a federal criminal defense attorney, including:
- Internet and computer crimes
- Medical marijuana trafficking and other drug crimes
- Sex crimes such as child pornography
- Identity Theft and Fraud
- Tax evasion and other financial crimes
I use my vast resources and knowledge of the federal system to ensure that the arresting agency did not trample your rights to privacy during surveillance, or conduct a warrantless search and seizure while collecting evidence. Federal charges are serious, and the penalties even more so.
Help me help you fight these charges – contacting the Law Offices of Robert M. Helfeld today so I can begin my fearless fight on your behalf to secure the best possible outcome while defending your rights, your freedom and your future.