Philadelphia Federal Crimes Lawyer
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While most crimes are prosecuted under the authority of the States, in some scenarios the federal authorities will investigate the crime and prosecute the suspect. Federal courts have different procedures than state courts, which make defending a federal case significantly more complex and expensive.
Federal courts enforce different laws, too. There are tens of thousands of federal statutes that prohibit everything from murder, to drug trafficking, to taking wood out of national forests, to trespassing in federal buildings. In fact, there are so many federal laws that most people in America have violated one or more of them their lifetime—often unknowingly.
Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is no defense to criminal charges. If you’re in federal court, you’ll need the assistance of a dedicated, experienced, and aggressive legal advocate to come out on top. And that’s where the Philadelphia federal crimes lawyers of Fienman Defense come in.
What Kinds of Federal Cases Does Fienman Defense Handle?
At Fienman Defense, we can assist you if you are facing any of the federal crimes described below:
- Antitrust Violations — If there is evidence that you or your business has fixed prices, committed unfair bidding practices, restricted trade, created a monopoly, or otherwise engaged in unfair business practices, you may face criminal charges under Federal antitrust laws. If found guilty, you may face several years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Your company may be saddled with fines in the millions of dollars.
- Armed Robbery — Usually prosecuted by State authorities, armed robbery becomes a federal crime when the robbery affects interstate commerce, or the victim is a bank, the US mail, or a federal agency. The cost of litigating an armed robbery case in federal court may be crippling, and the penalties are even more severe than under state law.
- Drug Crimes & Charges — In most cases, people get charged with violating federal drug laws because they trafficked drugs across state boundaries. But just about anyone can be charged with violating federal drug laws. Often, it depends on the context of the arrest. For example, marijuana possession is usually a matter for state courts, but if you get busted smoking pot on federal land by a park ranger, you may face federal charges. The penalties for violating federal drug laws are almost always stricter than for state drug laws.
- Bribery — Federal laws mandate hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and up to 15 years in prison for individuals who either give or receive bribes. Under federal law, you can be punished for giving or receiving money in exchange for the performance of an official act.
- Conspiracy — Federal laws don’t just prohibit criminal conduct, they also prohibit conspiring or attempting to do so. No matter the offense, it is generally illegal under federal law for two people to agree to commit a crime, and to take at least one action towards furthering the crime. The penalties for conspiracy are extremely severe considering that no actual crime has taken place.
- Computer Crimes — Several federal statutes, such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act, and even the USA PATRIOT Act prohibit digital crimes. From illegal downloading, to cyber terrorism, to online fraud schemes, computer crimes involve severe penalties under federal law.
- Embezzlement — This offense consists in taking money or property that belongs to a company or organization and using it for personal gain. Embezzlement comes under the jurisdiction of the federal government when the organization is a federal agency, or the company has a contract with the federal government. Embezzlement may also be a federal crime when committed by a bank or credit union employee.
- Fraud — At its core, fraud involves lying to another person or an organization for personal gain. The federal government prosecutes countless types of fraud that range from a single parent lying to get more social benefits to multinational corporations misleading investors. A conviction will result in fines, possible jail times, end the obligation to pay back the victims.
- Identity Theft — Since 1998, it’s been a federal crime to knowingly use other people’s personal information without their consent to commit, conspire, or abet any state felony or other offense prohibited under federal law. If convicted, you will face years in prison, heavy fines, and the obligation to restitute your victims.
- Money Laundering — Under the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986, it’s a federal crime to engage in commercial activities or financial transactions to conceal the profits from illegal activities. A conviction may result in a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
- Possessing Child Pornography — It’s a federal crime to download, email links to, or view child pornography that crossed state lines. Few crimes attract as much stigma as child pornography. Even after your eventual release from jail, your life will never be the same after a child pornography conviction.
- Racketeering — Federal laws against racketeering were initially conceived to take down the great crime families of the mid 20th century. Nowadays, federal prosecutors have been using laws such as the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to charge drug traffickers and gang members. A conviction under RICO may involve a maximum sentence of 20 years and $25,000 in fines.
- Theft — If you steal from a federal agency, or cross a state line during the commission of a theft, you may face federal theft charges. You may be charged with federal theft for stealing money, property, documents, or even data. If convicted, you may be sentenced to pay heavy fines and spend years behind bars.
- Tax Evasion — Corporations, individuals, and trusts must all pay taxes. Otherwise, they will face federal tax evasion charges. Even misrepresenting your income or overstating your deductions may result in criminal charges—as long as the government has proof that you did so intentionally and maliciously. An individual convicted of tax evasion may receive up to five years in prison and get fined up to $100,000.
- Witness Tampering — Federal law prohibits intimidating or interfering with the testimony of a witness through bribes, coercion, or force. If convicted of threatening a witness with physical force you may be sentenced to 10 years in prison. If you carry through with the threat and physically harm a witness, you could get locked away for 20 years.
How Can Fienman Defense Help?
We will begin by closely reviewing all of the evidence that the prosecutor intends to use against you. Prosecutors are not allowed to use evidence in criminal trials that was obtained in violation of the suspect’s rights, so our priority is to ask the court to remove any and all illegally obtained evidence from the case.
A prosecutor can only secure your conviction if he or she proves your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high burden of proof, and a skilled Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer may be able to show the jury that there is some doubt as to whether you committed the crime or acted with criminal intent. Your lawyer can accomplish this by reinterpreting the prosecutor’s evidence, challenging the witnesses, or presenting evidence and testimony that points to your innocence.
Attorney Michael H. Fienman is licensed to practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which covers Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton counties. If you’ve been charged with a federal crime in this district, call Fienman Defense today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.
Questions? Contact us today.
If you are charged with a federal crime, the consequences can be devastating. Fienman Defense will fight tenaciously to protect your constitutional rights. We will guide you through a court system that can be complex and intimidating, and provide you with the strongest possible defense.