Fort Lauderdale Federal Crime Attorney
Put More Than 40+ Years of Collective Experience to Work for You
If you have been accused of a crime against the United States government, you should immediately contact an attorney at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. With more than 40 years of collective experience protecting the rights of the accused, our firm can effectively represent those facing charges for even the most serious federal offenses. Our attorneys are former state prosecutors backed by an outstanding AV® Preeminent™ Rating by Martindale-Hubbell. Don’t compromise the outcome of your case by hiring just any lawyer – when you need aggressive representation, call on us.
Hager & Schwartz, P.A. can help you fight the following federal charges:
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The Differences Between State & Federal Crimes
While state and local courts are established by a state, the U.S. Constitution established federal courts to rule on cases involving the Constitution and laws Congress passed.
Since state courts have a broader jurisdiction compared to federal courts, most crimes individuals commit are tried in state courts. Federal court jurisdiction is limited to cases involving federal or natural issues such as cases involving violation of federal laws and the U.S. Constitution, crimes involving multiple states when offenders obtained over $75,000, and other fraud and maritime law cases.
There more cases going through the state court system, rather than federal courts. On average, there are 30,000,000 cases filed in state courts annually throughout the U.S. compared to 1,000,000 cases that end up in federal courts every year. Even though federal courts hear fewer cases, they are considered those of national importance.
When it comes to penalties, federal penalties are much harsher compared to state penalties for similar crimes. For example, federal drug offenses are punishable by more severe mandatory minimum sentences.
Instead of going to state prison, a conviction in federal court may lead to a federal prison sentence. Federal prison often houses more non-violent criminals such as those involved in white-collar crime, while state prison typically houses a larger population of violent crime convicts.
The sentencing guidelines used by federal courts provide 43 levels that rate the seriousness of each crime. The more serious the offense, the higher the level.
The levels are determined by considering the following factors:
- The severity of the alleged crime
- How much the suspected offender participated in the crime
- The condition of the victim (e.g. age, physical or mental health, or disability)
- If the suspected offender obstructed justice
- The suspected offender’s criminal history
- If the suspected offender accepted responsibility for the alleged crime
Remember, federal judges do not have to follow these guidelines. However, if a judge wants to impose a different sentence (either more severe or more lenient), then he/she must use the guidelines to explain his/her reasoning behind the decision.
How Do I Know If I’m Under Federal Investigation?
As we mentioned before, most crimes involve local and state law enforcement agencies and are handled in state court. However, when an offense involves federal interests, the federal government will have jurisdiction over the case.
The following are several ways you are under federal investigation in Florida:
- The alleged crime involves federal officers – If you are contacted or visited by federal law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Border Patrol, or even the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) you are under federal investigation for an alleged crime.
- The alleged crime happened on federal grounds – Whether you are accused of robbing a federal bank, vandalizing a national forest, or assaulting someone on a military base, each of these cases will be handled by the federal courts.
- The alleged offender crossed state lines – For example, if you are accused of selling narcotics in multiple states in a trafficking ring, you will be investigated by federal authorities.
- The alleged crime involved multiple states – For instance, if you are accused of running a fraud scheme that has several victims if more than one state, you will face federal charges.
- The alleged crime violated immigration and customs laws – Common examples include human and sex trafficking or manufacturing and selling counterfeit products.
We Can Assist with Pre-File Investigations
A pre-file investigation is a step in the criminal justice process during which law enforcement investigates evidence related to your potential involvement in a crime. This occurs before criminal charges are filed. If law enforcement cannot find sufficient evidence against a suspect during this process, they will not be able to file formal charges.
A suspect should be informed that they are being investigated in a pre-file investigation. If you have been told that you are the subject of an investigation, it is in your best interests to immediately retain an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected during the process. You will likely be subject to questioning during this time, and you should know that you will not be required to answer any questions until your lawyer is present. By hiring a lawyer right away, you may be able to avoid being arrested or having formal charges pressed against you.
Call Today for a Free Confidential Consultation
At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., we understand that you are innocent until proven guilty. Law enforcement and federal prosecutors have the burden of proof when it comes to accusing people of crimes. With a seasoned Fort Lauderdale federal crime defense lawyer on your side, you could potentially avoid being charged with a crime.
Call our office today to schedule your free case evaluation: (954) 840-8713.