In the United States, there is a wide range of offenses that are deemed illegal by the federal government. Such charges can include matters related to drugs, fraud, trafficking, child pornography, and money laundering.
The entities that enforce the federal law have more time and resources to devote to the case than a local county prosecutor or law enforcement agency. It is critical for anyone accused of a federal crime to retain legal counsel that is experienced in federal courts.
Attorney for Federal Charges in Treasure Coast, FL
If you are being investigated for a federal crime in the Treasure Coast area, you should contact Meltzer & Bell as soon as possible. Our attorneys are both licensed and experienced in the U.S. District of Southern Florida and are prepared to defend you in federal court.
Meltzer & Bell represent clients in communities throughout Martin and Saint Lucie County. Call us today at (772) 291-2534 or submit your information in the contact form to set up a free consultation.
Overview of Federal Charges in Treasure Coast, FL
Federal vs. State Crimes
Federal crimes are those that are prosecuted under federal criminal law, while state crimes are prosecuted under Florida criminal laws. For example, in Florida, it’s illegal to drive under the influence. That’s not a federal law, but a Florida law. So if you are caught driving under the influence in Florida, you will be arrested and charged with a state crime.
Federal crime, on the other hand, is one that violates a law passed by the United States Congress. The United States Attorney’s Office prosecutes federal crimes and agents from the nation’s governing bodies investigate them. These agents may be from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Bureau of Alcohol, Tabaco and Firearms (BATF), U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the U.S Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
Types of Federal Charges
There are almost 100 federal crimes listed in Title 18 of the United States Code. But regardless of the offense, there are specific factors that classify a crime on a federal level. These factors include:
- The suspect crossed state lines
- The crime breaks federal law
- The crime happened on federal land
- The crime involved a federal official
- There were customs and immigration violations
Any crime that meets the listed criteria will be investigated and prosecuted at the federal level. Listed below are some of the most common federal charges.
- Drug charges such as trafficking, manufacturing, possession
- Weapons trafficking
- Money laundering
- Racketeering/Violations of the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)
- Bulk cash trafficking
- Fraud.This can include mail, wire, Medicare, Medicaid, and bank fraud.
- Child pornography
- Trafficking in endangered animals or endangered animal products
- Acts of terror
Steps in a Federal Case
There are a number of steps involved in a federal case. The first step you need to take is to seek an experienced legal counsel that can provide an effective defense strategy. Every step will not always occur in every case, but listed below is the general process for a case in federal court:
- Complaint/ Arrest Warrant: A complaint is the first step used by federal prosecutors. The complaint outlines the allegations of the charge and includes the probable cause for arrest. The arrest warrant will include information from the complaint and a command from the judge allowing law enforcement to arrest the alleged offender.
- Initial Appearance: This allows for the judge to ensure there is enough evidence to arrest the alleged offender. After the judge has read the offender their rights, they can hire a lawyer. Bond will also be set during this time.
- Detention Hearing: A detention hearing must be heard within three days of an arrest. The judge will determine if the defendant is a flight risk or a danger to the community. Depending on what the judge finds, the defendant may be released pending trial.
- Preliminary Hearing: This occurs 10 days after an arrest for a complaint. During this time the Assistant U.S Attorney will provide evidence to establish probable cause. The defense attorney can also provide evidence on behalf of the defendant. If the judge finds there is enough probable cause, the case will be sent to the grand jury for further review.
- Grand Jury: The grand jury will make the final decision when prosecuting a federal criminal. This usually happens two weeks after an initial appearance.
Additional Resources for Federal Charges in Treasure Coast, FL
United States District Court for Southern Florida – This link will direct you to the webpage for the U.S District Courts in Southern Florida. You can find information on court locations, hours and fees. The United States District Courts are the general trial courts of the U.S federal court system.
Drug Enforcement Agency– The majority of federal cases in the U.S are drug-related and prosecuted by the DEA. Follow the link to learn more about the agency and what it does.
Lawyer for Federal Charges in Treasure Coast, FL
If you are being investigated for a federal crime in southern Florida, it’s imperative that you obtain a quality defense attorney. Meltzer & Bell is experienced with representing clients in federal court and will strive to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
Call Meltzer & Bell today at (772) 291-2534 or submit your information in the online contact form to set up a free consultation. Meltzer & Bell represents clients in communities throughout Martin and Saint Lucie counties.