Charged with a Federal Crime in Seattle?
by Lewis & Laws
Charged with a Federal Crime in Seattle?
Many people are unaware that they must abide not only by the legal codes in the state in which they live but also by the federal legal code set forth by the U.S. government. The charges for those accused of a criminal offense will be dependent on the type of alleged crime as well as on the agencies involved in investigating the particular crime. There are a few key differences between federal and state crimes, including the following:
- Federal crimes usually involve federal agencies such as the FBI, the DEA, the IRS, Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, the ATF, the Secret Service, and, on occasion, the Postal Service.
- Federal crimes usually include computer-related fraud, other computer crimes, white-collar crimes, organized crime, conspiracy, weapons-related crimes, immigration crimes and drug trafficking.
- State crimes are investigated by local police, county sheriffs, state police or other state agencies.
- State crimes typically include homicide, sexual assault, robbery, kidnapping, assault/battery and stalking, as well as other criminal acts.
- Federal judges preside over federal criminal cases.
- Elected state court judges preside over state criminal cases.
- Assistant U.S. Attorneys will prosecute federal criminal cases.
- State district attorneys and city attorneys prosecute state criminal cases.
Because federal criminal court proceedings typically operate under different guidelines, it is imperative that defendants be represented by a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the types of evidence presented in federal criminal cases. Testimony and evidence often come from one of the federal agencies mentioned above in a federal criminal trial.
A final major difference between federal and state crimes is the sentencing. Federal judges must follow federal sentencing guidelines which include mandatory minimum sentencing—typically much lengthier than state sentences, even when the criminal offense is similar. Those sentenced under federal guidelines will be sent to a federal prison, which tends to house a greater number of non-violent offenders, while those sent to a state prison will be housed with large numbers of people convicted of violent crimes.
The FBI's Preliminary 2017 Uniform Crime Report
While the report is not official, preliminary numbers showed declines in property crimes as well as violent crimes for the first half of 2017. The Uniform Crime Report is a result of data received from more than 13,000 law enforcement agencies across the nation. According to that data, the overall violent crime rate declined by 0.8 percent during the first six months of 2017, when compared to the first six months of 2016.
Although the overall number of violent crimes decreased, the number of murders and nonnegligent manslaughters increased by about 1.5 percent. The number of rapes across the nation declined by 2.4 percent, aggravated assaults declined slightly, by 0.1 percent, and the number of robberies was down 2.2 percent.
Property crimes dropped by almost 3 percent, with burglaries decreasing 6.1 percent and larcenies and thefts decreasing by 3 percent, but the theft of motor vehicles increased about 4.1 percent.
Federal Drug Crimes
Drug trafficking crimes are often charged at the federal level, particularly when the charges involve a significant quantity of drugs, or a criminal organization is involved. Federal prosecutors often charge defendants with being a part of a conspiracy, which substantially increases the person’s criminal liability, and can result in large fines and long jail or prison sentences. Defendants facing federal drug charges may be looking at a mandatory minimum sentence from 5-10 years.
Federal White-Collar Crimes
White-collar crimes generally involve some type of fraud, including bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, tax evasion, business fraud, commercial transaction fraud, or money laundering, counterfeiting, telemarketing schemes and identity theft. A federal prosecutor must show the defendant had the intent to defraud the victim, and that the offense did not happen by mistake.
In order to successfully defend a federal crime, your Seattle attorney must have a profound understanding of the relevant statutes and case law, as well as familiarity with the system, and the ability to organize, review and understand complex, document-intensive facts. Your criminal defense attorney must defend your federal charges aggressively, building a meticulous defense to the charges against you. If you have been charged with a federal crime, do not wait—contact an experienced Seattle attorney today who has significant experience defending those charged with a federal crime.
Have you or someone you love been arrested and charged with a federal crime? Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws
If you have been charged with a federal crime in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Everett, or anywhere in the state of Washington, a Seattle criminal defense lawyer can protect your rights. Let the expert defense team at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws, PLLC fight aggressively for you and your future. Our lawyers have successfully defended clients in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form to get more information or to get a free case review!