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Generally speaking, most criminal cases are handled at the state level. This is because most criminal cases involve a violation of state or local law. Federal courts only handle cases that violate federal law, which are less common than violations of state law. However, certain crimes completely surpass the jurisdiction of state courts and go straight to federal court. Federal prosecutors who work for the government are the people who try these cases. For these reasons, it is important to seek out an Arizona federal defense lawyer with significant experience.
If you’re facing charges for federal crimes, you need a federal criminal defense attorney who understands how to handle these complicated cases. Unfortunately, convictions for federal crimes carry harsher sentencing and penalties. That’s why knowledge and experience matter when choosing the right federal defense team for your case. Call Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group for qualified legal counsel. For more information about how we can help you, please call 602-910-4040. You can also fill out our online intake form.
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Who Get Results
At Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group, our team has an in-depth understanding of what it takes to craft an effective defense. We conduct our own investigations into the details of your case to ensure that your defense is as ironclad as we can possibly make it.
We also cross-examine evidence and witnesses that prosecutors use in their case against you. This will allow us to gather as much information as possible. Federal criminal cases have the potential to change the course of your life. An experienced federal criminal lawyer with our firm will fight tooth and nail to protect your rights and your freedoms.
Federal Cases We Handle
There are a multitude of different types of federal crimes our firm handles. Below, we list some of the most common federal offenses we see at our Phoenix law firm.
- Drug crimes (trafficking, possession, manufacturing, and distribution)
- Mail fraud
- Wire fraud
- Bank fraud
- Firearm crimes
- Immigration-related crimes
- Theft crimes
- Internet crimes
- Certain white-collar crimes
What Makes a Federal Crime a Federal Crime?
Generally, fewer crimes are charged at the federal level than are charged at the state level. This is because there are fewer areas that fall under the federal government’s jurisdiction. When national security and interests are at stake, an offense of this nature is obviously under the federal government’s umbrella of authority. One example is producing counterfeit money. This is because the federal government is responsible for producing the nation’s currency.
However, there are other reasons why a case might end up in federal court. Crimes with the following characteristics are usually federal crimes.
- The crime took place on federal property.
- It crossed state lines.
- It involved federal officers.
- The crime violated a federal law or statute.
- It involved fraud or misrepresentation of the federal government.
- It involved issues of immigration or customs violations.
Common Federal Crime Charges
There are certain specific crimes that are more commonly charged at the federal level.
- Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) violations
- Tax fraud
- Human trafficking
- Drug charges
- Child pornography
- Internet and computer crimes
Are Federal Criminal Cases Different from State Criminal Cases?
It’s important for federal criminal lawyers to understand the differences between federal criminal cases and state cases. The federal criminal defense lawyers at our firm are here to help you understand the differences between the federal system and the state system.
The Differences Between Federal Court and State Court
Let’s start with the construction of each court system. Federal judges are selected by the United States President, then confirmed or denied by the United States Senate. Unless certain circumstances arise, these are lifelong positions. The only way to remove a federal judge is to start the impeachment process in the Senate.
A federal judge enjoys much prestige and respect, but they also have a lot of responsibility. Although the caseloads in the federal system are lighter, this means that federal cases will move more quickly. Therefore, judges, federal prosecutors, and federal criminal attorneys must ensure that every aspect of each federal criminal case is handled appropriately.
In state courts, it is very common for trials to be delayed several times before actually beginning. This simply does not happen in federal courts. It is very rare for a federal case to be continued in federal court.
It is possible, however, for a case to move from state court to federal court. This usually happens for the following reasons.
- There is a large amount of money or drugs involved.
- The case involves fraud on a large scale.
- Or the government is alleging a very high level of harm done by the defendant.
- The case involves something which is specifically illegal at the federal level.
The Differences Between Federal Prosecutors and State Prosecutors
Another major difference is in the state and federal prosecutor positions. Federal prosecutors must be more intensely screened and scrutinized than state prosecutors. Federal criminal case prosecutors have more prestige and fewer cases, but they must use their extra time to fully prepare for trial. This is not to say that state prosecutors are not as talented as federal prosecutors. Each position has its own benefits and drawbacks, much like judge positions.
Sentencing for Federal vs. State Cases
Additionally, penalties for state and federal crimes vary drastically. Federal sentencing guidelines are generally followed by federal judges. Federal drug charges have much harsher mandatory minimum penalties than state drug charges. Also, those convicted of federal criminal charges will go to federal prison rather than state prison.
It’s also important to note that felony convictions revoke certain civil rights. Many people wonder, “Can a felon get a passport?” We recommend reading our blog for more information on this topic.
Why Do You Need a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you’re facing federal criminal investigations, it is essential that you find an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. Federal criminal trials are a serious matter, so it’s important to have someone on your side who fully understands the laws surrounding your case. Even if someone feels strongly that they could defend themselves against a federal criminal charge, this is almost never a better idea than hiring a lawyer. Below, we explain a few reasons why you need a federal criminal defense lawyer.
One of the most important benefits that a federal defense attorney can bring you is knowledge and experience that you can’t find online. The Internet tells us many things, including laws and statutes relevant to our situations. However, it cannot tell us how to apply laws and statutes to our own cases in court.
Only the training and experience of a federal lawyer can give you that. A federal criminal defense attorney will explain the nuances and applications of sentencing guidelines, the relevant defenses for your case, any plea bargains, and even what will happen after the trial is over.
Despite the fact that a courtroom is not the time or place for politics, many defendants underestimate how large of a role it actually plays. Judges and prosecutors are public figures who often face reelection. Because of this, public opinion sometimes tries to sway judges or prosecutors one way or another. Federal attorneys understand better than anyone how to navigate these complicated situations.
Prosecutors hold a lot of power in any federal criminal investigation or federal trial. They essentially determine what criminal charges to bring as well as what federal criminal penalties to impose. Having a defense attorney will give you something that many self-represented individuals do not get from prosecutors: the respect of court proceedings. Your defense attorney can negotiate for reduced or dropped charges, as well as a lesser sentence.
An attorney understands that your hearing and trial aren’t the only things going on in your life. You may have a job, a family, or other personal matters that require significant attention and energy. Working with an attorney frees up that time and energy so that you can focus on what really matters to you.
Furthermore, attorneys can help you fully understand all court proceedings so that you won’t have worries and anxieties about the process. Attorneys tend to mitigate feelings of fear, anxiety, and embarrassment that individual and corporate clients may face.
What to Do if the Federal Government Is Investigating You
If you are involved in a federal investigation, there are a few easy ways to put yourself in a more advantageous position. Above all else, we recommend that you refuse to talk about the federal criminal charges you are facing to anyone, especially to the police. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, as the Miranda Rights so famously stated.
Once you put that into practice, it’s time to lawyer up. The best time to hire a defense attorney is right away, as they will help protect you for the entire duration of your case. An attorney can also explain what you should and should not say about the case to others. It might seem obvious why you wouldn’t want to talk about the case, but not everyone thinks about this.
You never know who might be working with federal agents trying to get information out of you. These federal agents will eventually hear everything you told somebody who works with them. Also, there is the risk of being accused of obstruction of justice. Saying anything that implies you’re trying to hide the facts could result in a charge for obstructing justice. Even if you are not charged, anything you say is admissible as evidence. Work closely with your attorney throughout all phases of your case if you are facing federal criminal charges.
Defenses Against Federal Charges in Arizona
As with other crimes, there are many defense options that you may have to fight your case with. The defense strategies available to you are partially limited by which phase in the trial you utilize them. Some strategies must meet certain requirements before they become available to you. Below, we list several defense strategies that defendants have found success with in the past.
- Having a valid alibi
- Not guilty by reason of insanity
- Entrapment or coercion
- Malicious prosecution
- Under duress
- Defense of property
- Defense of other people
- Involuntary intoxication
No matter the charges you face and the facts of your case, our federal defense attorneys will work tirelessly to craft a defense strategy that works for you. Speak with our attorneys about your case during a consultation to determine which strategy is best for you.
Federal Crime Penalties in Arizona
Federal criminal offenses carry harsh legal penalties. Felonies at the federal level have five categories, divided into A, B, C, D, and E. The worst category is a Class A felony. Its maximum prison term is a life sentence, and the maximum fine is $250,000. In contrast, a Class E felony requires a prison term between one and five years, as well as a maximum fine of $5,000.
Federal investigations alone have the potential to completely overturn your life. A conviction, however, has the potential to ruin it. That’s why it is so crucial to hire an attorney to mitigate the damage that a federal investigation can do to your life.
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys in Phoenix, AZ
At Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group, we value each and every attorney-client relationship that we establish. It’s important for federal criminal law attorneys to understand the needs of their clients, and we go above and beyond to do just that. Contact our Phoenix office today to schedule your confidential consultation with us. Call 602-910-4040 today, or fill out our online intake form to schedule.