Facing allegations of any crime is incredibly serious. However, you may be stuck with harsher penalties if your charges are being handled under federal jurisdiction. In the United States, you can be charged with a crime under state or federal law depending on the facts of the case. In some cases, a crime is a violation under both federal and state law. When this happens, the decision whether to prosecute the offense as a federal crime is up to the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ).
Federal crimes tend to carry longer prison sentences and higher fines upon conviction. Not only this, but if you’re sentenced to imprisonment, you’ll be detained in a federal prison rather than a state-mandated prison. Criminals in these facilities usually have been convicted of serious federal crimes such as kidnapping, child pornography, or even homicide. With so much at stake, it’s important you have trusted legal representation on your side if you’ve been charged with a federal crime.
Federal Court Lawyers in Cincinnati, Ohio
If you’ve been accused of committing a federal crime, we urge you to contact Joslyn Law Firm. The legal team at Joslyn Law Firm is prepared to handle every aspect of your federal criminal defense. Our team of attorneys have years of federal defense experience and can utilize their skills to build a formidable defense for your case. We also have extensive experience handling cases with in-depth investigations conducted by the FBI, DEA, ATF, and other governmental agencies.
Set up your first consultation with Joslyn Law Firm by calling our office today at (513) 399-6289. Joslyn Law Firm accepts clients throughout Cincinnati and the Hamilton County area including Blue Ash, Cheviot, Forest Park, Maderia, Montgomery, Spingdale, North College Hill, Deer Park, Reading and Norwood. Our firm also have offices set up in Columbus and Dayton, Ohio.
- What is a Federal Criminal Case?
- What Makes a Crime a Federal Case?
- What Crimes Are Federal Offenses?
- Who Handles Investigations for Criminal Offenses?
- Additional Resources
What Is a Federal Criminal Case?
The United States files criminal charges at either the state or federal level. Any violation against state law would be handled under state jurisdiction. However, if the offense was a violation of the United States Code or was in the federal jurisdiction, then it will be prosecuted under federal law. Although many federal crimes are also state crimes, they are charged under the federal jurisdiction because of where they were committed, or the crime involved crossing state lines in some capacity.
Sometimes it can be difficult to discern if a crime should be prosecuted under state or federal law. In these cases, the decision of where the crime will be prosecuted is up to the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ). In Ohio, federal crimes are handled at three federal courts. These courts include the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
What Makes a Crime a Federal Offense?
If you scan the U.S. Code, you’ll notice many of the crimes listed are similar or exactly the same as state-level offenses. So, what makes a crime a federal offense then? Where the crime is prosecuted will depend on several factors including where the offense was committed. Crimes committed within state line are usually charged under state jurisdiction.
If a crime occurred in an area considered to be “federal jurisdiction,” then the USDOJ may decide to file federal charges. Some common places under federal jurisdiction include courthouses, national parks, and military bases. So, any crimes committed in those areas would be considered a federal offense.
Federal courts also have jurisdiction over crimes that cross state lines or involve interstate commerce. For example, if you traffic drugs from Ohio to Florida, you’ll be charged with federal drug trafficking. Crimes committed outside the country or in relation to immigration are also commonly charged as federal offenses. In some cases, federal jurisdiction will extend to offenses that occurred on Native American reservations.
What Crimes are Federal Offenses?
The United States Code lists the various offenses a person can be charged with if they violate federal law. Generally speaking, most arrest made by federal agents fall into one of the categories listed below.
- Federal White-Collar Crimes – Any nonviolent crime where the offender is motivated by some type of financial gain. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in particular spends a lot of time investigating financial crimes.
- Bank Fraud
- Insurance Fraud
- Wire Fraud
- Mail Fraud
- Laundering of Monetary Instruments
- Securities Fraud
- Health Care Fraud
- Federal Drug Crimes – The U.S. Code has its own set of drug laws that supersede state law when necessary. Some common federal drug crimes include:
- Drug Exportation
- Drug importation
- Drug Trafficking
- Drug Possession
- Federal Sex Crimes – It’s rare that a sex crime is prosecuted under the federal jurisdiction, but it can happen. Usually, federal sex crimes occur when a person was forced to cross state lines and perform sexual acts.
- Child Pornography
- Sex Trafficking
- Sexual Abuse of a Minor
- Aggravated Sexual Abuse
- Federal Weapons Crimes – Since firearm related crimes have increased and sensationalized in the media, government agencies are cracking down on firearm offenses. Some common firearm and weapon crimes under federal jurisdiction include the following:
- Commercial robbery
- Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person
- Sale of a Firearm to a Prohibited Person
- Possession of a firearm Illegally
- Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug or Violent Crime
Who Handles Investigations of Federal Crimes?
Facing a state charge is of course serious, but the stakes become much higher if your crime is handled under federal jurisdiction. State prosecutors can only rely on their evidence gathered by local police departments and state departments during trial. These agencies lack funding in a lot of areas and sometimes aren’t equipped to handle serious charges if they don’t have experience with those types of criminals.
These issues are basically non-existent for federal prosecutors. The federal government has established several agencies to investigate and prosecute specific federal crimes including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). All these agencies have the latest equipment designed to investigate federal crimes as well as experienced agents who have gone through extensive training to receive their position.
Federal agencies have the funding, resources, and skilled agents needed to fully investigate a crime. These people are sophisticated and highly trained at what they do, so it’s important you have an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer on your side if you’re facing federal charges. It could be the difference between freedom and a federal prison.
United States Department of Justice | USDOJ – Visit the official website for the United States Department of Justice to learn more about their role in the enforcement and prosecution of federal crimes. Access the site to read about their different divisions, resources for anyone interested, contact information, and take a look at their newest press releases.
United States Code – Visit the official website for the Office of Law Revision Counsel and take a look at the current U.S. Code. Access the site to read the various laws and rules for U.S citizens under the code, elements for certain crimes, affirmative defenses, aggravating factors, how federal sentencing works, and other valuable information you may need.
Cincinnati Federal Defense Lawyer in Ohio
Federal charges call for a strong, well-prepared defense. At Joslyn Law Firm., we have a skilled legal team that can fight for your rights. We understand that federal agencies always employ the best and the brightest agents to resolve criminal cases. That’s why our team at Joslyn Law Firm is 100% committed to our client’s cases and ensure that no stone is unturned when building your defense.
Call Joslyn Law Firm today at (513) 399-6289. Joslyn Law Firm accepts clients throughout Hamilton County, Franklin County, and Montgomery County, Ohio.