If you face federal charges, you need to put up an excellent defense or risk being sent to federal prison, potentially far from your family. An experienced Columbus federal defense lawyer is your best chance to get the optimal outcome for your case, no matter which federal crimes you are accused of.
Under U.S. federal law, you can be arrested for thousands of violations. While most crimes committed in Ohio will be charged in state courts, certain crimes involving interstate commerce or violating specific federal statutes can lead to federal charges. This may seem like the same situation you would be in if charged for violating Ohio law, but unfortunately, federal crimes can be much more severe than state crimes.
The Ohio federal criminal defense lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates have years of experience handling these cases and winning optimal outcomes for our clients. Contact an Ohio federal crime lawyer near you today for a free consultation by calling (614) 304-3402 or email us via email@example.com .
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Common Federal Crimes in Columbus
There are many federal crimes that you can face charges for. The following are some of the most common:
- Conspiracy – Federal conspiracy charges are handed down when two or more people contribute to a crime. Even if you are only slightly involved, you can face penalties under conspiracy charges that are just as bad as carrying out the primary crime. Federal drug conspiracy charges are among the most common.
- Federal Sex Crimes – Federal agencies treat crimes with sexual motivation and illicit sexual acts involving children especially serious. These crimes include child pornography, sexual abuse of a minor, prostitution, and human trafficking.
- Drug Offenses – Under the Controlled Substances Act, almost all drug crimes, from possession and simple sales to trafficking, are federal crimes.
- White Collar Crimes – White collar crimes such as embezzlement, money laundering, identity theft, and forgery can all be charged as federal crimes.
- Economic Espionage – Any company with proprietary products, processes, or ideas can be the focus of espionage as competitors look to level the playing field with stolen trade secrets.
- Tax Evasion or Fraud – If you don’t pay taxes or lie on your taxes to owe less, you can be charged with federal tax crimes.
- Public Corruption – Bribery and other corrupt acts by public figures can lead to federal charges.
- Cyber Crime – There has been an increase in crimes committed with the help of technology as the internet has grown more prevalent. Cyber crimes include business email compromise, identity theft, ransomware, spoofing and phishing, and general scams.
- Gun Violations – Using a gun in carrying out a federal crime and illegal sales or possession of firearms can lead to federal gun charges.
- Piracy – Whenever someone creates something original, that work is protected by copyright law, and if someone reproduces or sells that product without the proper rights, they may be committing piracy.
Federal Vs. State Crimes in Ohio
In Ohio, most crimes you can be arrested for will be tried as state crimes. However, some crimes will be considered federal crimes—a far more severe situation. Most crimes fall under a single jurisdiction. If you violate an Ohio law in the state, such as a crime like assault, you will only face Ohio courts. If you violate federal law, such as a crime like tax evasion, you face federal court.
Of course, sometimes crimes fall under both sets of laws. For example, selling illegal drugs is against the Ohio criminal code and against the federal Controlled Substances Act . Hypothetically, in these cases, you could be charged either federally or in Ohio courts, so where the charges are handed down depends on several factors:
- Were state lines crossed? If an illegal activity occurs in multiple jurisdictions, you’ll most likely be charged in federal court.
- Were federal agents involved in the arrest or investigation? If you were arrested by federal law enforcement, you could be tried in a federal court.
- Is your crime related to a large criminal operation? If the case involves a large criminal enterprise—even slightly—you can face federal charges.
Otherwise, you most likely will be charged in Ohio courts.
Who Investigates Federal Crimes & How Do Investigations Work?
Once it’s been established that a federal crime has occurred, the proper authorities will be alerted, and they will begin their investigations. Some well-known agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Some are obscure, like the US Postal Inspection Service or the Office of Inspector General with the Department of Health and Human Services.
Each agency specializes in an area of criminal investigations. Those investigations begin once credible information of illegal activity is presented to the appropriate agency or an agency conducts an operation to catch an individual or group committing criminal offenses.
How Do Federal Investigations Work?
Because federal agencies have more funding and resources to investigate crimes than local law enforcement agencies, investigations could last several months or years. Most individuals under investigation are unaware until they’re arrested or charged with a crime.
Once a federal crime has been reported, the respective agents will begin their investigations just like local law enforcement. They could conduct interviews and make arrests. The agents may delay arresting the suspect to gather more evidence.
Agents can use warrants to authorize searches and start wiretaps or subpoenas throughout their investigations to collect evidence of federal crimes. Once they’re prepared, they’ll make arrests and file criminal complaints against the suspect. The process parallels those of local law enforcement cases from there, with court appearances and trials in a US District Courthouse.
Federal crimes are taken seriously—even misdemeanors. If you are charged with a federal crime, you are unlikely to get leniency from the judge without an excellent federal defense. That’s why it’s no surprise that federal sentencing guidelines can be some of the harshest, and federal crimes can carry much longer sentences than their Ohio state counterparts. For example, the maximum sentence for selling cocaine in Ohio courts is a fine of up to $20,000 and 11 years in prison. The maximum federal sentence is a fine of up to $10 million and life in federal prison.
If you are accused of any federal crime, you need to take the charges seriously. With harsh federal sentences, you can face up to millions of dollars in fines and decades in federal prison. Although federal judges do not have to stick to the sentencing guidelines, they usually do, which means that you are facing very harsh punishment.
How Columbus Federal Attorneys from Luftman, Heck & Associates Can Help
It’s natural to feel stressed and worried about federal charges because the stakes are high. The best way to get some peace of mind—and the best possible outcome for your case— is to contact an experienced Columbus federal defense lawyer near you and discuss the specifics of your unique case. We have provided some helpful federal crime information in the links to the right for your use in the meantime.
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, our Columbus federal defense attorneys have extensive experience representing clients on a wide range of charges at the federal level, especially drug offenses and conspiracy charges . Federal crimes require a specific skill set beyond what is required for local Columbus cases. With ten years of federal litigation experience under our belt, we have that experience.
Talk to a Columbus Federal Defense Lawyer Today.
For over a decade, the Columbus criminal defense lawyers at LHA have successfully represented clients on criminal offenses ranging from minor misdemeanors to first-degree felonies. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.
If you have been charged with a federal crime, you’re probably wondering about your options. The Ohio federal criminal defense lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates have years of experience handling these cases and winning optimal outcomes for our clients. Reach out to us for a free consultation at (614) 304-3402 or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org today.