Federal charges are the most serious criminal accusations a person can get. When the federal government is after you, it is important to retain an attorney who will stop at nothing to help you get the outcome you deserve. The federal court system is complex and intimidating for any defendant, especially if it is their first time getting these types of criminal charges. Not to mention, the federal government has access to the nation’s top prosecutors, investigators, and legal resources, making it imperative to hire a lawyer who is well-equipped to tackle your charges.
That lawyer is Laura E. Copp.
At the Law Office of Laura E. Copp, our Amarillo federal crimes attorney brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and legal tools to the table. She has successfully resolved a number of complex cases, even when the odds seemed unfavorable. That said, we have the legal capacities and know-how to help you navigate the federal criminal justice process, understand your rights, and, importantly, fight for your freedom and future. With so much at stake, you need a Copp on your team.
To schedule your consultation, contact the firm online or at (806) 424-4330!
Federal Crimes vs. State Crimes
Many defendants wonder what factors determine if a crime is federal or state. A crime is considered federal when it affects federal or national interests. That said, a crime becomes a federal offense under circumstances such as:
- The crime occurs on federal land or involves federal officers
- The crime involves terrorism
- The criminal activity crosses state lines (i.e., kidnapping, internet fraud, etc.)
- The crime involves fraud, deception, or misrepresentation of the federal government
- The crime violates immigration and customs laws
With this in mind, federal crimes tend to get federal agencies involved. Those agencies include, but are not limited to:
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- The US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)
On the other hand, state crimes are committed when a person violates state laws. Crimes committed within state lines often concern state courts, but the federal government may interfere if circumstances call for it. For these reasons, most people are tried in state courts, although, if a state law allegedly violates the constitution and a person was charged for violating such law, the case may be turned over to federal courts.
Ultimately, the bottom line is that most offenses are tried in state courts but if they involve any elements that are of federal or national interest, then those offenses will be handled in federal courts.
List of Federal Crimes
The Justice Department recognizes a broad range of federal crimes. The list is extensive, but it will help you get a better idea of what is considered a federal crime as opposed to a state crime. As such, we list most federal crimes below. Take a look:
- Arson and explosives
- Bank embezzlement, false bank records
- Bank fraud, lending fraud
- Bank robbery
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Bribery/public corruption
- Civil rights
- Computer and email intrusion
- Counterfeiting and forgery
- Corporate fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Drug crimes
- Firearm crimes
- Government fraud
- Health care fraud
- Human trafficking
- Identity theft
- Mail fraud
- Money laundering
- Murder on federal land
- Sexual abuse and exploitation
- RICO violations
- Tax crimes
- Wire fraud
Penalties for Federal Crimes Convictions
Generally, the maximum terms of imprisonment for federal crimes are:
- Class A felony conviction: Life or capital punishment
- Class B felony conviction: At least 25 years in prison
- Class C felony conviction: 10 to 25 years in prison
- Class D felony conviction: 5 to 10 years in prison
- Class E felony conviction: 1 to 5 years in prison
- Class A misdemeanor conviction: 6 months to 1 year in prison
- Class B misdemeanor conviction: 30 days to 6 months in prison
- Class C misdemeanor conviction: 5 to 30 days in custody
- Infraction conviction: Up to 5 days in custody
However, the penalties for a federal crime conviction depend on several factors, including the type of offense committed, aggravating factors, the defendant’s criminal history, and more. The list of penalties above is vague and may not apply to your particular charges. The attorney for the government does not use a “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to sentencing but rather considers various factors. Federal prosecutors are advised to seek sentences that:
- Reflect the seriousness of the offense
- Promote respect for the law
- Provide just punishment
- Afford deterrence to future criminal conduct by the defendant and others
- Protect the public from further crimes committed by the defendant
- Avoid unwarranted inequities between offenders with similar records who were found guilty of similar conduct
- Offer the defendant an opportunity for effective rehabilitation
- Account for the defendant’s need to provide restitution to any victims of the offense
As you can see, federal prosecutors will evaluate your current case, criminal record, the impacts of your reported offense, and more to help determine the best possible sentence for your alleged offense. With our federal crime lawyer on your side, however, we can help negotiate plea agreements so you can avoid the daunting federal criminal process and move forward.
Does the Federal Government Offer Plea Deals?
In short, yes, but not always. Attorneys for the government will not just allow any defendant to enter into a plea agreement. As they would for sentencing, federal prosecutors will weigh various factors to determine if a plea agreement is appropriate for a defendant, such as:
- The defendant’s willingness to cooperate in the investigation or prosecution of others
- The defendant’s criminal history
- The nature and seriousness of the offense
- The defendant’s remorse and their willingness to assume responsibility for their conduct
- The desirability of prompt and certain disposition of the case
- The likelihood of obtaining a conviction at trial
- The probable effect on witnesses
- The probable sentence or other consequences if the defendant were convicted
- The public’s interest in having the case tried
- The expense of trial and appeal
- The need to avoid delays in the disposition of other pending cases
- The victims’ interests and any effect upon their right to restitution
Our attorney will go above and beyond to explore every legal avenue you can take to resolve your charges, including entering into a plea agreement. Attorney Laura Copp will give you honest and transparent counsel in regard to potential case outcomes as well as the likelihood of obtaining a plea deal with the federal government.
Your Fight for Freedom Starts Here
Federal charges are no joke. When you’re up against a force of this size and nature, you need a fearless lawyer who will go the distance to help you see a light at the end of the tunnel. You need a Copp.
Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. Do not let the authorities or prosecutors make you think otherwise. The moment you are charged for a federal crime in Amarillo, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call (806) 424-4330 or schedule an appointment online to get started on your defense.
Laura E. Copp Founding Attorney