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Penalties for Federal Crimes: What You Need to Know

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Many individuals who are accused of certain crimes are unaware of the fact that their charge could be pursued in federal court. Contrary to popular belief, federal charges are not just brought against terrorists or dangerous, violent criminals. Under certain circumstances, crimes committed against state law can absolutely be pursued in federal court.


If you are facing charges for a federal crime, remember that you do have options and rights. One of your best bets at receiving a favorable outcome is hiring a seasoned federal crimes attorney who has knowledge of the federal criminal justice system as well as the ability to present your case favorably to a jury.

What Is a Federal Crime?

A federal crime is a crime that violates a particular federal law and are pursued in federal court. The crimes that many people are familiar with are state crimes. Crimes such as assault, arson, and DUIs are pursued in state court in most instances. However, a crime can become federal in a handful of particular instances. A drug crime, for example, may become federal if an individual commits it across state lines.


In addition, crimes involving federal property or federal officials can lead to an individual facing federal charges. It is imperative for individuals facing these charges have to find an attorney who specializes in federal criminal defense cases.

Types of Penalties

The penalties for federal crimes vary in the same way that crimes for state offenses vary. Individuals can be sentenced to significant jail time for many of the worst offenses on the federal level. Serious cases of capital murder can result in the potential for the death penalty. In more minor cases of mail fraud or low-level property crimes against federal property, an individual may only face a considerable fine or community service.


There are generally more serious charges on the federal level because the federal level does not prioritize rehabilitation and community service like the state level does. There are fewer rehabilitative procedures when one is in the federal system. The federal charges are simply harsher and typically carry longer prison sentences that could be in a different state than one’s home state.

Parole Process

The parole process is significantly different in the federal justice system than it is in the state justice system. For state-level charges, one of the key factors in determining parole is whether the state’s jails are overcrowded, which isn’t an uncommon problem that the nation's state-level jails have. Jails may release non-violent offenders who have served a considerable amount of their sentences in order to allow in more violent offenders who are coming in for the state of their sentence.


The federal system is less generous with parole. The federal system does not have the kind of overcrowding problems that state jails have. Federal prisons often have a considerable amount of room because fewer individuals face charges at a federal level. As a result, individuals tend to serve months or even years longer than they would have for the exact same charges on the state level.

Charged With a Federal Crime? Here’s What to Do

Any individual who is charged with a federal crime needs to contact a federal crimes attorney immediately. The attorney will help them piece together their case and comprehensively respond to all of the charges against them. Experienced federal crimes attorneys often have years of experience working with the federal justice system. They know all of the potential penalties, evidence rules, and rules surrounding juries and plea deals that an individual may need to know about.


The attorney will review this all possible material and will use it to discuss their case first with a prosecutor. In many instances, the attorney will attempt to gain the best possible plea deal for an individual if there is not enough evidence to throw a case out. The vast majority of all cases on the federal level end in a plea agreement. An individual may be able to avoid jail time and any blemish on their permanent record with a competent defense from an experienced attorney.


If the plea process does not work properly, an individual may have their attorney help them with a trial. Attorneys have experience in presenting their case and arguing the points of the law to a jury in the best possible manner for their client.

Contact Foley Griffin for Comprehensive Representation

Federal charges are never aspects of life that should be taken lightly, and nobody should think that they should have to fight federal charges alone. An attorney will be an individual's legal and emotional support as they tackle this serious scenario. Listening to and following the advice of an attorney is the best way for an individual to combat their charges and eventually received a competent defense.


If you’ve been arrested or charged with a federal crime, don’t wait to act. Contact Foley Griffin at (888) 966-8480 for aggressive and comprehensive legal representation.

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