Why Do You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer with Federal Crime Experience?

Attorneys explain Federal Crimes and Criminal Defense

If you are facing a federal criminal investigation or charge, you are not just facing a local prosecutor or a local law enforcement agency.  You are facing the full might of the federal government.  Federal criminal cases may be investigated by numerous different federal agencies, including Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and many others.

Federal law enforcement agencies have an investigative power and capacity above and beyond that of local and state law enforcement.  With an enhanced capacity to conduct surveillance, obtain wiretaps, obtain financial information and access electronic data, federal law enforcement has deep resources to conduct wide-ranging investigations on a long-term basis.  If you are facing a federal criminal investigation, our attorneys are experienced in responding to investigations by any of the federal agencies listed above.  We have carefully steered clients through investigations of all types, and we have successfully protected our clients’ rights at all times.

Federal criminal charges are prosecuted by the United States Department of Justice, through the prosecutors at regional United States Attorney’s offices.  As an Assistant United States Attorney, the prosecutor has significantly more time and resources to dedicate toward the prosecution of a case, compared to a state prosecutor.  U.S. Attorney’s Offices generally operate with significantly smaller caseloads than local prosecutors, allowing the prosecutors in those offices to focus all of their attention and resources on single cases, one case at a time.

We ensure that our clients are defended with the same attention and devotion to their defense that the government brings to the prosecution.  Our experience in representing many individuals in federal court has earned our attorneys a level of respect that ensures that our clients’ matters are heard with the attention they deserve.  We represent both individuals and companies under federal investigation or federal charges, and our many successful federal defenses speak for themselves.

What to Do When You Are Under Federal Investigation

Anyone under federal investigation should hire the best attorney they can afford, as soon as they possibly can.  Many people are unfortunately unaware that lying to a federal agent is a crime.  Many people assume that they can speak to a federal agent and, so long as they do not admit guilt, that they will be all right.  Unfortunately, even speaking to a federal agent can result in criminal charges.  Although a simple denial of guilt may not result in a prosecution, even if false, the line is fuzzy and even the Department of Justice’s own guidance to its prosecutors on this topic demonstrates that when people attempt to explain their innocence to a federal agent, they could end up being prosecuted for making a false statement.

That is why the only way to protect yourself when under federal investigation is to remain silent and make sure that the only person who speaks to the government on your behalf is one of our experienced and talented attorneys. You cannot afford to make your life and future the stakes in a learning experience in how not to deal with a federal agent.  Instead, put your trust and your future in our hands.  We have the knowledge and experience in dealing with federal investigators to protect your rights at all stages of a federal investigation.

Many people wonder when is the point in a federal investigation at which they should hire an attorney.  If you are asking yourself that question, you have already reached the point where you need an attorney.  If you are under federal investigation, do not hesitate.  Call and speak to one of our federal criminal defense attorneys today.

The Difference Between Federal and State Crimes

Many crimes are prosecutable in both New York State courts and federal district courts, requiring a defense to be mounted in both court systems.  Frequently, state and law enforcement agencies will coordinate investigations and prosecutions of a single target, forcing people to defend on two fronts simultaneously.  For instance, in a tax fraud case, both state tax investigators and the IRS may investigate and seek to prosecute one individual for related conduct.

Our attorneys have successfully defended numerous clients facing this type of dual prosecution.  In these worst-case scenario prosecutions, it is essential to retain an attorney who has an established track record of success in both state and federal courts.  State courts and federal courts have different rules of procedure, rules of evidence, judges and prosecutors, and if you face simultaneous prosecutions in both venues, you must have an attorney who can move seamlessly from state to federal court and back again.

The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm is one of only a few firms who have the type of reputation and experience that has an established practice in both state and federal courts.  Clients come to us with a set of problems, and we meet our clients where we find them and we defend them wherever the contest occurs.  Some cases may begin in the state court and be taken over by federal prosecutors.  Sometimes the reverse is true.  And sometimes clients find themselves defending related cases in state and federal courts.

Over the years, we have seen all of these scenarios and found creative, strategic ways to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.  Only a lawyer who is experienced in state and federal courts can adequately and efficiently serve a client who is facing a criminal case that spans state and federal jurisdictions, or one whose case jumps from state to federal, or federal to state.  Whatever your situation, you will find the right lawyer to defend you at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy.

Why do Charges for Federal Crimes Require Special Expertise?

Federal crimes tend to be legally and factually complex, often exposing clients to the risk of lengthy sentences, many involving numerous documents and electronic records. If you or a loved one face Federal criminal charges you will want to mount the strongest possible defense. An experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer from a firm with Federal Criminal Defense experience is highly desirable. Unlike a general practice law firm or criminal defense attorney with only local or state experience, a Federal Criminal Defense attorney should have demonstrated experience with Federal cases.

Federal cases are typically more difficult to defend because Federal prosecutors come to the case with the support of investigation by federal agents from agencies such as the FBI, ATF, DEA, Secret Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and others. In addition, federal agencies may seek assistance from NY State law enforcement officers who work in prosecuting federal crimes. Federal crimes are usually prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office so the credentials of one’s Criminal Defense team are very important when choosing legal representation.

Federal Crime Sentencing Guidelines

A Federal conviction will not only give you a criminal record, it could land you or a love one in Federal prison for a very long time.  In federal court, judges are guided by a set of sentencing rules called the United States Sentencing Guidelines.  The Sentencing Guidelines are a set of rules, specific to each type of offense, which when applied produce an “Offense Level,” and a “Criminal History Category,” which are specific to each crime of conviction, and to each offender.  The Offense Level and the Criminal History Category are used with the Sentencing Table to produce a guideline range of available sentences, expressed in months, for the judge to consider.

 

Although not mandatory, the Guideline Range is persuasive.  About half of all sentences in the Second Circuit (New York, Connecticut, and Vermont) are within the Guideline Range.  Because the rules used to determine the Offense Level and the Criminal History Category are complex, it is essential to hire an attorney who is well-versed in the application of the Guidelines.  As you can see, moving down the chart or to the right, the numbers grow increasingly frightening.  A sentence of 120 months means a 10-year term of incarceration.  Obviously, sentences far in excess of that amount can be imposed in federal court.

We have had great success in defending clients based upon arguments related to the application of the Guidelines.  For some clients, if a conviction cannot be avoided, our successes can be measured in terms of months and years of incarceration spared.  Many of our clients have been able, even after a conviction, to receive sentences of probation or supervised release.

Some clients face charges that carry a mandatory minimum sentence.  Mandatory minimums are sentences that set a floor, usually expressed in a number of years, below which a judge may not go, no matter how sympathetic the defendant.  We work hard to avoid the application of mandatory minimum sentencing in every case in which we are involved.  In 2019, nationwide, almost 25% of federal cases involved a charge that carried a mandatory minimum sentence.  By the time of sentencing, only about 14% of federal defendants still faced a mandatory minimum sentence.

At E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy, we work hard to avoid mandatory minimum sentences in every case we are involved in, and if a client is convicted and faces sentencing, we strive to obtain a below-guidelines, minimal sentence.  When facing a federal case, you need a lawyer who is deeply experienced in federal sentencing. It is complicated.  It is complex.  And your future depends on hiring a lawyer who knows what to do.

Choosing a Federal Defense Lawyer

E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy also represents clients with the following criminal charges:

Our Advice: Hire the most experienced attorney you can afford, as soon as possible.

You cannot put a price on freedom. Due to the complexity of federal criminal defense, an experienced attorney is worth every penny.  Our attorneys are dedicated and experienced, and you’ll find an exceptional balance when you hire the E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy legal team.

Request a Free Phone Consultation or a confidential in-person meeting with our attorneys at one of our five convenient Capital Region offices today.

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