Connecticut federal criminal defense can get complicated. Check out these top questions and answers to prepare yourself for your case. If you have additional questions, we are happy to help.
How is a Federal Crime Different Than a State Crime?
Federal crimes differ from state crimes because federal crimes violate statutes passed by Congress, whereas a state crime violates the statutes of local authority or state legislature. As a result, federal crimes generally deal with criminal activity that is a national concern, while state crimes deal with crimes at the state or local level. Some crimes face prosecution at both the federal and state levels.
Who is in Charge of Investigating and Prosecuting Federal Crimes?
While state crimes get investigated by local police officers, federal crimes get investigated by federal agencies. For example, agencies such as the DEA, FBI, CIA, and more, can investigate you if you get charged with a federal crime. In some cases, federal agents can work with state police officers in order to investigate or prosecute a crime. Federal crimes are also most often prosecuted by the US Attorney’s office. Occasionally, a United States Department of Justice prosecutor or a prosecutor from an agency will assist in a federal prosecution.
Are There Federal Sentencing Guidelines That Are Different Than State Ones?
Up until 2005, there existed a United States Sentencing Guidelines manual that stated the appropriate sentencing for each crime. Judges had the discretion of determining an appropriate punishment depending on the factors of the case and the range of punishments available for the crime committed. However, in 2005, the United States Supreme Court deemed this manual unconstitutional. Currently, judges can use these guidelines as an advisory tool, but they don’t have to use them. Judges can now use their own discretion when determining sentencing for federal crimes.
Do I Need a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you plan on hiring a lawyer to defend you in a federal case, you have to make sure that they have proper licensing to practice law in the federal court where your case takes place. Alternatively, this lawyer has to have permission to practice in the federal court where your case is taking place. Aside from these requirements, it is always a good idea to hire the right lawyer. Find one who is familiar with federal cases, as they can differ greatly from state crimes/courts.
When Should I Contact My Attorney?
As soon as you suspect that the police are investigating you for a federal crime, you should contact your attorney. You can be protected by a lawyer during the investigation and if you get charged with a crime, your lawyer can be proactive if he or she is already aware of what is happening.
10 Things to Know
In addition, here are 10 important things to know:
For the most essential facts to know about federal crime, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 quick facts about federal crime that you need to know if you face a federal charge.
- Federal crimes get tried in federal courts. To plan accordingly for your interaction with the prosecution, you should hire a lawyer familiar with the federal court system, as this process can differ greatly from the state court process.
- On average, more than 90% of federal criminal cases result in a guilty plea. This means that you need a strong criminal defense to help you beat the odds. In some cases, a good alternative to taking your case to trial is taking a plea bargain or making negotiations with the prosecution. This option can prevent you from receiving the full penalties for the crime you face.
- You should only speak to a federal official with an attorney present. Federal agents are trained to get you to confess to things. Voluntarily sharing information with a federal official is never in your best interest. You should always have an attorney with you to make sure that you do not incriminate yourself further.
- Some common federal crimes include money laundering, identity theft, tax fraud, and drug manufacturing.
- Federal officials will investigate you along with local police officers if you are suspected of a federal crime. This means that you will get investigated at the state and the federal level. You may face interactions with local police officers and FBI, DEA, or CIA agents.
- Federal crimes are prosecuted by the US Attorney’s office.
- You are not bound to offer information to police officers or federal officials if you are a person of interest in an investigation, even if they make it seem like you have to. A criminal defense lawyer can help you determine if you should share information with the police or federal officials, or if you should keep it to yourself.
- Judges use the United States Sentencing Guidelines as tools to help them determine sentencing. However, judges have some flexibility when determining punishments for federal crimes.
- The Connecticut federal courts are located in Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven.
- If you are a person of interest in a federal investigation, you will receive a target letter. This will inform you of the fact that a federal agency such as the FBI, CIA, or DEA are looking into you as a suspect in a case. As soon as you receive a target letter, you should consult with a criminal defense lawyer.