Federal Crime Lawyer Miami, FL
Protecting the Rights of Those Accused of Federal Offenses
Federal law enforcement agents spend a considerable amount of time investigating those who have allegedly committed a federal crime. This means that by the time you know that you're a suspect or are officially charged, the government has already built a case against you. If a U.S. Attorney proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty, you could be facing years to decades in prison (and in severe cases a lifetime sentence) and thousands of dollars to millions of dollars in fines. Your whole future is at stake in these matters, which is why it is beyond crucial that you contact a federal crimes lawyer in Miami, FL immediately.
At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., our Miami federal crimes attorneys are well aware of the seriousness of these cases. That is why when we are hired to defend against federal charges, we get to work right away. We will spend a significant amount of time gathering and analyzing evidence, speaking with witnesses, and collecting other information pertinent to the case. Our lawyers for federal cases in Miami consist of former prosecutors who know how to spot weaknesses in arguments. We will use this insight and our in-depth knowledge of the federal judicial process to build a comprehensive and aggressive defense for you.
Have you been charged with a federal crime? Contact us at (305) 330-1360 for an immediate case evaluation with our Miami federal crime attorneys.
What Is Considered a Federal Crime?
One of the main differences between state and federal crimes is where the offense occurs. A state crime is one that happens within the state's borders. Generally, a person may be accused of committing a federal crime if they engage in prohibited behavior that crosses state lines or country borders. For instance, if a person abducts someone and transports them from Florida to Georgia, they may be prosecuted under the federal kidnapping law, 18 U.S.C. § 1201. In contrast, had the offense been committed only within Florida, it would have been pursued as a state crime under Florida Statutes § 787.01.
Will Federal Court Prosecute My Criminal Case?
Your criminal case will be held in federal court in Miami when:
- Federal authorities made the arrest – If you were arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Firearms and Explosives (ATF), or another federal agency, your case will most likely be heard in federal court. Since federal authorities are a higher rank above state or local police departments, they generally have more personnel and resources at their disposal.
- The alleged crime occurred on federal property – When a criminal offense is committed on federal grounds, federal authorities will oversee the investigation. Common examples include robbing a federally-insured bank or possessing drugs in a federal park.
- Conduct crossed state lines, or an offense affects people in multiple states - When a criminal offense involves more than one state, federal prosecutors will handle the case. Common examples include transporting drugs from one state to another, stealing a person’s identity in another state through the internet, or committing homicide where one victim is in one state and the other is in another.
- The conduct violates immigration laws - Illegally entering the US is a serious issue with ramped-up consequences for repeat offenders. Repeat attempts at unlawful entry can lead to stiff criminal punishments and other repercussions.
- The alleged crime is serious in nature – The more serious the criminal offense, the more likely federal courts will take the case. For instance, a complex money laundering case involving large sums of cash is more likely to be investigated by federal authorities.
- State and federal authorities decide – Federal and state authorities may deliberate which system should preside over a criminal case. On the other hand, sometimes state police departments hand over a case to federal prosecutors.
In some cases, an offense can be pursued as both a state and a federal crime.
If you have been arrested for a federal crime in Florida, the penalties you face are harsher compared to a conviction from the state court. It is in your best interest to seek legal representation from an experienced Miami federal criminal defense lawyer.
Types of Federal Charges We Fight
The United States Code enumerates various types of prohibited conduct. Federal crimes range from embezzlement and theft to homicide. Regardless of the charge, it is vital for anyone accused of violating federal law to retain competent legal representation. Navigating the federal judicial system is complex and can be challenging to do without the help of a skilled and experienced Miami federal crimes attorney.
At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., our Miami federal crimes lawyers provide aggressive defense for a range of federal offenses, including, but not limited to:
- Arson: Under 18 U.S.C. § 81, it’s unlawful for any person in special maritime and territorial jurisdiction to knowingly set fire to certain buildings, structures, materials, or supplies. 18 U.S.C. § 842 makes it illegal for any person to unlawfully manufacture, import, distribute, or store explosive devices.
- Child Pornography: Federal laws (18 U.S.C. §§ 2251, 2252, and 2252A) prohibit knowingly transporting, receiving, distributing, possessing, or creating an image depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
- Counterfeiting: Chapter 25 of Title 18 of the United States Code lists various counterfeiting-related offenses. These include using, dealing in, selling, or possessing counterfeit obligations, securities, tools, and other materials.
- Drug Trafficking: Any person who creates, manufactures, distributes, or dispenses a controlled or counterfeit substance may be prosecuted under 21 U.S.C. § 841.
- Espionage: This offense involves taking any document or information concerned with the defense of the U.S. and/or providing it to another entity for the purpose of harming this country. Prohibited acts are enumerated in Chapter 37 of Title 18 of the United States Code.
- Federal DUI: A person may be charged with a Federal DUI if they operate a motor vehicle on federal property and they are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol or have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.
- Human Trafficking: Several federal laws prohibit procuring, enticing, or forcing others for involuntary servitude or to perform commercial sex acts (18 U.S.C. §§ 1581, 1584, 1589, 1590, 1591, 1592).
- Kidnapping: 18 U.S.C. § 1201 makes it unlawful for any person to abduct another, transport them across state lines, and hold them for ransom.
- Mortgage Fraud: This offense involves the use of deception to obtain a loan or real property. The federal government does not have a law specifically concerning mortgage fraud, but such conduct can be pursued under other statutes, such as mail or wire fraud, bank fraud, false statements to a financial institution.
- Tax Fraud: Tax fraud involves knowingly and willfully evading tax obligations, failing to pay taxes, making false statements on tax returns, and other tax-related offenses.
- Terrorism: This offense involves engaging in violent acts to intimidate others, influence government policy, or affect government conduct (Chapter 113B of Title 18 of the United States Code).
If you are under investigation for or have been charged with a federal offense, our Miami federal crimes attorneys have the skills, experience, and resources to challenge the accusation against you.
Can Federal Charges Be Reduced?
In some cases, it may be possible to have federal charges reduced or dismissed. This is often done through plea bargaining, where a Miami federal defense attorney works with the prosecutor to negotiate a plea deal that is beneficial for both parties. In some cases, the charges may be reduced, or the sentence may be lessened. It’s important to note that this is not always possible.
Can You Beat a Federal Indictment?
Yes, it is possible to beat a federal indictment. A skilled Miami federal defense attorney can work to build a strong defense strategy and present evidence that may exonerate their client. This could include challenging the evidence presented by the prosecution, questioning the credibility of witnesses, or even filing a motion to dismiss the case. However, it’s important to note that the outcome of any case will depend on the facts of the case and the skill of the defense attorney.
When it comes to federal criminal defense, having a Miami federal defense attorney on your side can make all the difference. From navigating the complexities of federal law to negotiating plea deals and building a defense strategy, a federal defense attorney can be a powerful ally. Whether you’re facing federal charges or just want to learn more about the process, a Miami federal defense attorney can provide the knowledge and experience you need to make the best decisions for your case.
Miami Kidnapping Defense Attorney
Kidnapping, or the unlawful seizure, transportation, abduction or confinement of an individual is typically dealt with by criminal courts at the state level. However, state law enforcement officials are prohibited from pursuing kidnappers across state lines. When a kidnapper crosses state lines in order to evade capture, federal authorities step in, and at that point the kidnapping is elevated to the level of federal crime. If you are being accused of federal kidnapping charges, it is imperative that you retain the services of an attorney who can work diligently in an effort to protect your rights and your freedom.
The Federal Kidnapping Act
The Federal Kidnapping Act, or the "Lindbergh Law" as it is also called, was created with the purpose of allowing federal authorities to pursue kidnapping suspects the moment they crossed state lines with their victim. The act defines federal kidnapping as a violent crime, regardless of the kidnapper's intent, and therefore can result in many of the penalties that are standard to violent crime convictions.
Conspiracy Charges in Florida
Although the law affords for freedom of speech, it does not allow for conspirators to commit an illegal act. Conspiracy is an agreement between two or more individuals to commit a crime. In most states, an overt act must have been taken in order to further the crime, even if the crime was never completed. In Florida, conspiracy charges are not to be taken lightly, for they can involve several years in prison, especially if they are combined with other federal charges.
Is Conspiracy a Felony or Misdemeanor in Florida?
Chapter 777.04 of the Florida Statutes defines attempts, solicitation and conspiracy as “a person who agrees, conspires, combines or confederates with another person or persons to commit any offense commits the offense of criminal conspiracy.” Conspiracy can be ranked as a level 1 or level 2 under 921.0022 and 921.0023, either of which is a first-degree misdemeanor. Conspiracy is a first-degree felony if the attempted crime to be committed would have been a felony.
You can read more about the different penalties for conspiracy here.
What is Conspiracy to Commit a Crime in Florida?
Conspiracy is governed in both the state and federal courts and it is a separate crime form the actual criminal act for which it was developing. Meaning, a person can be charged with both conspiracy as well as the crime itself; for example, one can be charged with conspiracy to commit murder and they can be simultaneously charged with murder. Conspiracy cannot exist if one conspired to commit an illegal act on their own, it must involve at least two or more people. This is because the law considers that when two or more people are involved in planning a crime, the potential danger to society is far greater than if one person acts alone.
It is important to note that a crime does not have to be committed in order to be charged with conspiracy. Under federal law, the conspirators can still be charged with conspiracy even if their plot was unsuccessful. One of the most serious examples of conspiracy would be conspiracy to commit murder, which is often regarded as seriously as the crime of committing murder itself.
Defenses to Criminal Conspiracy Cases in Florida
Conspiracy crimes can involve a wide range of criminal activity including conspiracy to violate federal laws, conspiracy to manufacture drugs or weapons, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit money laundering and more. Depending on the nature of the crime, conspiracy may be prosecuted by the FBI, the Department of Justice, or local or state agencies.
Proven Defense for Counterfeiting Charges in Miami, FL
If you were accused of counterfeiting, you need an attorney with the rights skill and experience to handle your case. Counterfeiting is a serious crime with strict repercussions, but an effective defense strategy can help you avoid the consequences of a conviction.
What is Counterfeiting?
In general terms, counterfeiting refers to the act of duplicating an item, such as currency. In the United States, replicating currency with the intent to defraud is a federal crime. In Chapter 25 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, §471 states that:
"Whoever…falsely makes, forges, counterfeits, or alters any obligation or other security of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both."
The penalties for counterfeiting and forgery are steep; if convicted, you could face up to two decades in prison for counterfeiting U.S. currency, combined with the possibility of heavy fines. Because of this, it is imperative that you work with a qualified defense attorney.
Miami Espionage Defense Lawyer
Espionage is a term used to describe the act of secretly obtaining information about a foreign government or competing business for the purpose of giving one's own government or business a strategic advantage. Espionage is considered a federal crime when it puts the nation's defense in jeopardy, or when it directly benefits a foreign nation. Charges for this crime are considered of the utmost seriousness, and any form of federal espionage (including economic espionage as addressed under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996) can result in penalties that include deportation, imprisonment for a lengthy period of time, and even the death penalty.
Racketeering and RICO Violations in Florida
Racketeering refers to obtaining or extorting money illegally or committing illegal business activities, often times as a part of organized crime. It also refers to a pattern of illegal activity that is carried out as part of a business or company that is controlled by those individuals that are engaged in illegal activity.
Under the Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations Act (RICO), a series of laws have been specifically designed to combat and severely punish those individuals who are guilty of RICO violations. RICO was passed by Congress as part of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. Historically speaking, organized crime has grown significantly ever since the Prohibition period. If you have been accused of racketeering, it would be in your best interests to contact a Miami racketeering attorney right away so you can swiftly protect your legal rights in the criminal process.
Common Examples of Racketeering
Common examples of racketeering offenses under federal law include but are not limited to:
- money laundering
- bankruptcy fraud
- securities fraud
- obstruction of justice
- mail fraud
- sports bribery
- and many more
Racketeering Sentence in Florida
RICO violations are punished to the full extent of the law. Although RICO violations cover a wide range of criminal activity, Congress had to use broad language to define such activities because they could not pin down just one organized crime or family. A RICO violation can involve up to 20 years in prison; therefore, if you are facing any of the above racketeering charges, you have to understand that you are potentially in a substantial amount of legal trouble and may face years in a federal prison if convicted.
Federal Crime Punishment
Suppose you're convicted of a federal offense. In that case, the course of your life can be substantially altered with penalties, including lengthy prison time and fines that can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Also, if aggravating factors are present, the punishments may be enhanced. The conviction penalties for federal crimes are harsh and vary depending on the nature of the offense.
A few examples of federal offenses and penalties include:
- Willfully failing to file a tax return:
- Up to 1 year of imprisonment and/or
- Up to $25,000 in fines
- Trafficking less than 50 kilograms of marijuana:
- Up to 5 years in prison and/or
- Up to $250,000 in fines
- Drug trafficking:
- 5 - 40 years in prison
- Up to $10,000 - $5,000,000 in fines.
- Accessing child pornography:
- Up to 10 years in prison and/or
- A fine
- Using counterfeit materials:
- Up to 20 years in prison and/or
- A fine
- Up to 25 years in prison and/or
- A fine
- Sex trafficking by force or coercion:
- Between 15 years to life in prison and/or
- A fine
- Up to life in prison
- Healthcare fraud:
- 10 - 20 years in prison
- Potential fines depending on the case
- Identity theft:
- Can be up to 30 years in prison
- Mail or Wire Fraud:
- Potentially up to 20 years in prison
- Money Laundering:
- Up to 20 years in prison
- Up to $500,000 in fines
- Tax evasion:
- Up to 5 years in prison and/or
- $500,000 in fines
Fighting Federal Crimes Charges in Miami, FL
At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., our Miami federal defense attorneys near you know that your whole life can be affected by a federal criminal charge and conviction. That is why we will provide personalized attention and aggressive defense throughout the Florida federal criminal process. When you turn to us, your case will be in competent hands.
Our Miami federal lawyers are ready to look out for your best interests and seek a favorable result on your behalf. For an immediate case evaluation, call us at (305) 330-1360or submit an online contact form.
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