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Have you been charged with a federal offense?

Most crimes are tried at the state level. This is because, in our country, each state has its own unique set of laws and penalties. Generally, a crime will be charged and sentenced according to the laws of the state where the crime was committed. However, some actions are illegal under federal law. Federal crimes are usually of a serious nature and are often white collar crimes, such as forgery or fraud. If you are being charged with a federal crime, it is essential that you hire a high-quality criminal defense attorney from our San Francisco firm to represent you in court. Reach out to the team at Okabe & Haushalter as soon as possible so we can get to work defending you against aggressive prosecutors and law enforcement officials.

If you are being charged with a federal crime, it can mean the FBI or other federal agencies may have superseded state law enforcement in order to charge you. Federal law enforcement has more power and resources than state law enforcement, and they may have been investigating you before making an arrest. Even if you have not been arrested, but you think there may be surveillance set up on your home or business, it is important to have legal representation on your side. Federal crimes are punished under the federal sentencing guidelines, which are very strict and usually include time in federal prison, as well as huge monetary fines.

Types of Federal Crimes

Currently, over 100 categories of offenses are considered federal crimes. While some of these offenses are addressed in the California criminal code, they are handled differently when charged as federal crimes. Examples of federal offenses include the following:

  • Fraud
  • Tax Crimes
  • Certain Drug Crimes
  • Terrorism
  • Weapons Crimes
  • Customs Violations
  • Counterfeiting
  • Antitrust
  • RICO Crimes
  • Immigration Law Violations
  • Child Pornography

In addition, any crime that is committed on federal land (such as airports military installations, government buildings, national parks) can be charged as a federal crime. If you are being accused of a federal crime, contact our attorneys who can vigorously defend you in court.

Possible Penalties for a Federal Crime Conviction

We need you to be cognizant of the fact that federal crimes are not the same thing as state crimes. As we discussed here, the federal government is responsible for bringing charges against you and handling the prosecution. This has major implications when it comes to sentencing. Federal judges are hamstrung by the federal sentencing guidelines that they have to reference after a person has been convicted of a crime.

There are mandatory minimum sentences for most federal statutes, which means that these sentences tend to be lengthier than state sentences. This can be confusing, particularly when both state and federal charges seem exactly the same but carry vastly different outcomes. Even if the crimes seem similar, the person with a federal conviction could likely face a much harsher penalty than a person who was convicted at the state level.

Any person who has been convicted of a federal crime in San Francisco will then have a date set for sentencing. Possible federal sentences can include:

  • Lengthy prison sentences
  • Major fines
  • Community service

Can You Face Both State and Federal Charges?

We mentioned that state sentencing guidelines differ from federal sentencing guidelines, even when a person is facing similar charges for a crime committed in San Francisco. The reality is that it is not uncommon for a person to face charges at both the state and federal levels for the same crime. Often, this results in either the state waiting for the federal matter to conclude or vice versa. We often field questions about “double jeopardy” in these situations. This refers to the US Constitution’s Fifth Amendment prohibition against trying a person for the same crime twice, but the reality is that double jeopardy only applies to one jurisdiction at a time. The California state court is a completely different jurisdiction from the federal court, so a person can certainly face charges for the same crime at these different levels.

At Okabe & Haushalter, our qualified San Francisco criminal defense attorneys are ready to step in and help individuals fend off both state and federal charges. We have extensive experience handling cases at both levels, and we can battle multiple fronts at once. Often, our team is able to get either the state or federal charges dismissed so that we can focus on defending our client against only one set of charges. However, even when this is not possible, we are fully prepared to defend our clients against state and federal prosecutors.

Aggressive San Francisco Criminal Attorneys

Okabe & Haushalter understands the severity of the situation you are in. Federal crimes are taken very seriously and punished harshly. Hiring one of our top-rated criminal defense attorneys may help you avoid a devastating federal conviction, which can tarnish your reputation and damage many aspects of your life. Our firm is comprised of superior attorneys. We are legal analysts for CNN and Headline News and we have been involved in high-profile cases.

If you want aggressive legal representation, contact our firm today.