What Are The Common Federal Criminal Cases That You Handle?
Our attorneys handle a wide range of cases in federal court ranging from DUI to murder. Some of the more common charges we see in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) are drug and weapons crimes, white collar (fraud) crimes, and traffic offenses. There are countless federal statutes and federal laws, but the vast majority of criminal cases in federal court fall into one of those four categories.
How Has Your Experience Been In Handling Federal Cases?
Federal prosecutions are generally more serious than prosecutions in state court. At Bugg Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys routinely handle cases in federal courts in the Eastern District of Virginia. Our federal criminal practice covers all types of criminal cases.
My first experience in a federal criminal case was over a decade ago. It was my first associate position right out of law school. After graduation, I started working for one of the top criminal law firms in Central Virginia.
One of the first cases that I was assigned to work on was a multi-defendant drug conspiracy case in the Richmond division that proceeded to a multi-day trial. Since that time, I have consistently added to my federal criminal defense experience. For over a decade, I have represented and advised clients facing federal criminal charges such as arson, drug distribution, wire fraud, conspiracy, defrauding the government, DUI’s, as well as asset forfeiture.
A criminal conviction in federal court usually carries a much harsher sentence than a state conviction. Not all criminal defense attorneys have tried cases in federal court. When seeking counsel for a federal crime, it is important to consult with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney.
What Are The Differences Between Federal And State Crimes?
For state crimes, you generally see that an act or crime occurred all within the confines of one state. It is classified as a state crime and typically will be handled in the state court system. If your punishment includes jail time, your sentence will be served in the State Department of Corrections. For crimes in federal court, certain jurisdiction requirements must be met. Federal court’s have jurisdiction over crimes that invoke the Commerce Clause (crimes that cross state lines), perhaps someone bringing drugs from the state of Maryland into the Commonwealth of Virginia. If it involves offenses that happened on federal property, for example the Pentagon, those can be tried in Federal court.
The punishment for federal cases is generally harsher than punishments for state cases, especially in comparison to Virginia state law. Many federal laws carry stiff mandatory minimum sentences that require a judge to impose a specific prison sentence. For example, a conviction for arson under federal law carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years. However, a conviction for the same crime under state law does not have a mandatory sentence and could result in only serving probation.
Who Investigates or Prosecutes Federal Crimes?
The investigation of federal crimes is the responsibility of multiple federal agencies. Depending on the subject matter of the crime, the investigation may be led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The United States Attorney General is responsible for the prosecution of federal crimes. The AG oversees the US Attorney’s Office in each federal district. Typically, federal prosecutions are handled by the US Attorney’s office in the district where the crime occurred. There are times when a prosecutor may be brought in from another district to handle a case that may create a conflict of interest for the local office.
Why Do You Practice Federal Criminal Law?
Federal criminal law is a complex area of law and I believe it is imperative for people facing federal charges to have knowledgeable and skilled legal counsel. Federal cases often involve lengthy investigations that result in thousands of pages of evidence to decipher and hours of audio/video to review. I believe that the only way to achieve your best possible outcome when facing federal crimes is to be fully prepared to fight the case at trial. You are in a much better position to negotiate with the Government and receive a favorable plea offer. In the alternative, if you have to proceed to trial your counsel will be fully prepared and the elements of your defense can be easily demonstrated for the jury.
In late 2016, I had a multi-defendant conspiracy case that involved gun and drug charges against a street gang. By all accounts, there were at least two cooperating witnesses that were members of the gang.
The cooperating witnesses wore wires and cameras to record various gang meetings. They had the gang introduced to undercover federal agents, all under the ruse that these guys were going to get into the distribution of 20 Kilograms of cocaine. Our clients even showed up to the airport with duffel bags ready to pick up the cocaine. They actually picked up the fake cocaine from the ATF agents, and were busted on the scene. At first glance, it seems like an open and shut case, but our investigation into the case concluded there was likely an entrapment issue. What we saw in this case was that our defendants (with very little means, most of them first generation immigrants in this country, and working various hourly jobs) were enticed by these government agents that they could receive $15,000 to $16,000 every two weeks for doing very little to no work.
The case proceeded to a jury trial, and after about two hours of deliberation, the jury returned a not guilty verdict for our client on both of his charges. While it is very hard work, there are many cases won in the federal court system. You have to be willing to fight. Unfortunately, some attorneys will take the position that there is not much to fight for, and they are not willing to put in the work to make sure that the government can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
For more information on Federal Crimes In Virginia, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (703) 552-2462 today.
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