When Is a Crime Considered a Federal Crime or Offense?
April 3rd, 2020
A crime is a “Federal Offense” when a criminal charge is filed in the federal court and/or when an indictment is issued by a federal grand jury, based on alleged conduct that is a violation of a federal criminal statute/law.
Many criminal activities are governed by both state and federal laws, for example an individual who is alleged to have trafficked cocaine may be charged with a state criminal offense but could also face federal criminal charges for the exact same activity. Federal law enforcement agencies, like the DEA or the FBI, investigate these crimes and may arrest an individual for federal criminal charges. Generally, however, federal prosecutors will only become involved with relatively serious matters. Our team of federal criminal defense lawyers at FitzGerald Law Company can represent anyone facing federal criminal charges in Massachusetts, as well as several other federal courts.
Elements to Crime
All federal criminal statutes / laws identify specific elements that federal prosecutors must prove with evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, to prove bank fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1344, the government must prove the following elements (1) that the defendant knowingly engaged in a scheme (2) to defraud or obtain money (3) from a federally insured financial institution (4) by means of materially false statements or misrepresentations. See United States v. Munoz-Franco, 487 F.3d 25, 41 (1st Cir. 2007) citing United States v. Kenrick, 221 F.3d 19, 30 (1st Cir. 2000). In order to obtain a conviction the government must present evidence to prove all 4 elements.
If any element is not proven regardless of how small that element may appear, the defendant cannot be convicted. It is important to work with a federal criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the precise elements of the alleged crime to ensure that the government meets its burden and that you receive the best defense.
Crimes Against the Government
Some crimes that are specifically against the federal government and generally will not go to state court, for instance, Immigration Fraud, which involves the presentation of false documents or statements to Immigration Officials (USCIS, ICE, CBP), will be prosecuted in the federal court. Many of the “White Collar” crimes, particularly those that involve financial institutions or transactions, are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorneys in the federal court.
Consequences of a Criminal Conviction in Federal Court
The consequences of a criminal conviction in federal court are usually severe and often result in a federal prison sentence. Apart from prison, there are many other consequences that a defendant who is convicted in federal court may face, like large financial fines, the loss of their right to vote, and even deportation, and this is why it is so important to hire the an experienced federal defense lawyer to zealously protect your rights.
Hiring a Lawyer to Represent Someone With Federal Charges
When you are facing federal crime charges, you will need the assistance and support of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to be by your side. We understand the process that you will face and have a proven track record of success representing individuals who have been charged with federal crimes in Massachusetts and other federal courts.
Schedule a Consultation Today With an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
At FitzGerald Law Company, we have years of experience successfully representing those charged with criminal charges in the federal court of Massachusetts. We will listen to the details of your case, answer your questions about the process and what you can expect and craft a strategy to obtain the best results for you case. To schedule a legal consultation today with one of our experienced Federal criminal defense lawyers in Boston, please call (617)303-2600. We serve Boston, Cambridge, Quincy, Malden, Somerville, Everett, Malden, Revere, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, Brookline, Waltham, Framingham, and all of the surrounding communities in Massachusetts.