Federal Crime FAQs


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  1. I am under federal investigation — what should I do?
    If you are the target of a federal investigation, it is likely that you will be arrested. As soon as you find out you are under investigation, you need to hire an attorney.

  2. What is a grand jury?
    Grand juries do not decide guilt or innocence. Instead they determine if there is probable cause that a federal crime was committed and that a specific person or persons committed that crime. If a grand jury finds there was probable cause they will return an indictment.

  3. Who investigates federal crimes?
    Federal crimes are investigated by government agencies that include the FBI, DEA, Secret Service and ATF. The agents assigned will do an in-depth investigation that can last for years. Pennsylvania law enforcement will sometimes work with these agents on specific cases.

  4. What penalties can I face?
    The federal court system uses complex sentencing guidelines to decide how someone convicted of a federal crime will be punished.

    Federal criminal offenses are slotted into 43 different levels. Additionally, points are assigned to a convicted individual determined by factors such as their prior convictions. Based on the combination of these elements, you will fall into one of four sentencing zones that each has a specific range of time that you will have to serve in a federal prison. The sentencing judge can also increase or reduce a sentence due to additional or mitigating factors.

    Federal convictions usually draw much harsher penalties than state convictions.

  5. Where will my case be tried?
    Your case will be tried in a federal court. In the Philadelphia area, you will appear in the James A. Byrne US Federal Courthouse located in Philadelphia’s Center City.

  6. 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.