Being investigated for a federal crime is frightening. The power of the government is immense. No one is exactly sure how many federal criminal laws and rules are on the books. Since the start of 2000, Congress has created at least 452 new crimes. A law professor has observed “There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime.” The government continues to criminalize everything. We have been involved in criminal justice system on a federal level day in and day out for our entire professional career. We stand up for the accused and provide dependable, individualized, and innovative defense for all of our clients. If you have been accused of a federal crime but not yet charged, contact our law firm immediately so that an experienced federal criminal defense attorney can help represent you during the investigation stage of the federal process. Early and active involvement by a federal criminal defense lawyer may prevent the filing of federal charges.
The federal government typically charges people with the crime of possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance for any drugs they actually seize and with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. To be convicted of a drug conspiracy, the government must show that a conspiracy existed and the defendant knowingly and voluntarily joined the conspiracy with the intent to further the objectives of the conspiracy. You might be surprised to learn the government does not need to prove that the defendant actually possessed any controlled substance in drug conspiracy cases. The government does not need to prove that the defendant actually did anything in furtherance of the conspiracy. Many persons charged with federal drug trafficking crimes are facing mandatory minimum sentences of 5 to 40 years or 10 years to life imprisonment. A person charged with federal drug trafficking needs an experienced federal criminal defense attorney taking charge by federal independently investigating and evaluating the government’s case to provide a defense.
Money laundering is the practice of engaging in financial transactions to conceal the identity, source, or destination of illegally gained money. Federal money laundering charges are serious and result in up to 20 years in prison. The government’s objective is to identify and halt the the use of drug proceeds that finance drug trafficking organizations. Consultation with a federal crimes lawyer can assist you in evaluating your exposure to charges of money laundering.
A favorite charge of the United States Attorneys Office is conspiracy. If you are charged with conspiracy, you can be held accountable not only for your own actions, but also may be held accountable for the acts of co-conspirators, some of whom you may have never even met. A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime. Some conspiracies require an overt act must be done in furtherance of that agreement to constitute an offense. Federal drug conspiracies do not require an overt act. Instead, the government merely has to show the existence of an agreement and that the defendant knowingly and voluntarily joined the conspiracy with the intent to further the objectives of the conspiracy. An experienced federal defense lawyer representing a client in a federal conspiracy case will carefully investigate the government’s evidence against everyone in the conspiracy to determine the best defense for the client.
Federal law makes it illegal for a person to import, produce, or conduct transactions in firearms across state lines. There is an exception if the person possesses a license to import, produce, or deal in firearms.
It is also illegal for a person to sell or otherwise distribute a firearm to another person when the person transferring the weapon knows that the buyer or taker does not live in the same state. Again, the exception is if the people making the transfer are licensed to deal in such weapons. There are also some other general exceptions, such as delivering a firearm to carry out a lawful bequest or to loan a firearm to someone for lawful sporting purposes.
Federal law also prohibits the transportation of certain types of weapons. For instance, it is illegal for a person to transport any device deemed to be destructive. This includes bombs, grenades, rockets, missiles, mines, and similar weapons. A person is also generally prohibited from transporting machine guns as well as rifles and shotguns with short barrels. Machine guns include any weapon which can automatically fire more than one shot by a single function of the trigger. It may also include any part of the whole weapon such as the frame or receiver. It is also generally unlawful to convey or own a machine gun; however, some exceptions do apply.
Federal law outlaws straw purchasers of firearms. These laws make it illegal for a person acquiring a firearm from a dealer to use any false written or oral statements or to present any false identification which is intended to deceive the dealer about the legality of the transaction or the ultimate owner of the firearm.
The preservation of serial numbers is also a concern. A person violates federal law if he knowingly delivers, transports, or accepts any firearm with a serial number that has been changed, removed, or destroyed.
Certain classes of people are barred from possessing any firearms. These classes include: convicted felons (or people who are under indictment for a felony); people who are addicted to certain illegal drugs; people who have been deemed to have certain mental impairments; people who are illegally in the country; soldiers or others who were dishonorably discharged from military service; and anyone restrained by a lawful court order.
Generally, a conviction under federal firearm laws may result in a sentence of 5 to 10 years and a fine, depending on the specific crime. A sentence may be greatly increased if the weapon is used in connection with certain crimes such as drug trafficking.
For convicted felons, a prior felony conviction is usually determined by the state or authority where the offense took place. Significantly, a conviction of “felon in possession” may be attained even if the weapon is not on the body of the person. The mere intent and ability to control the weapon is enough to attain a conviction. The government also does not need to show that the firearm was working or capable of being fired for a conviction.
Federal firearm prosecutions can be complex. You need an experienced federal criminal attorney who will defend your legal rights. If you have been charged with a federal gun crime, our firm may be able to help.