Philadelphia Federal Crimes Defense Lawyer
Unlike state criminal charges, federal criminal charges are crimes committed in direct violation of United States federal law. If you have recently been arrested for a federal offense or if a federal investigator has contacted you, it is imperative that you retain the representation of our Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys.
Federal offenses are charged under federal laws. This means that Pennsylvania state courts and authorities might have little involvement in your case. Instead, you might deal with federal authorities like the FBI or DEA. These authorities are highly experienced and capable, and you should hire a lawyer with the same level of skill. Our attorneys can help you devise the most effective defense methods for your case. The sooner we get started, the better. Whether you are facing charges for arson, conspiracy, espionage, tax evasion, extortion, drug trafficking, money laundering, wire fraud, antitrust violations, computer crimes, bank fraud, murder, or the possession or distribution of child pornography – we are here for you when you need us most.
For a free assessment of your case, call the Law Office of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 immediately, and speak to our federal crimes defense lawyer about your situation.
What is a “Federal” Offense?
Criminal cases are typically charged at the state level. For example, if someone were arrested for robbery in Philadelphia, they would most likely be prosecuted under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3701, which is Pennsylvania’s robbery statute. If the same defendant were found guilty, they would face Pennsylvania-specific penalties for robbery. For instance, the Pennsylvania penalties for a second-degree felony include a fine of up to $25,000 and a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Though most criminal prosecutions involve alleged violations of state laws, some cases focus on alleged violations of federal laws. To continue with the example above, robbery – though typically a state crime – could be charged as a federal crime if the defendant allegedly robbed a bank because banks are regulated by federal agencies.
Occurring on federal property, such as a bank, post office, or national park, is not the only reason a crime can be charged at the federal level. Crimes can also be charged in federal court if the defendant crosses state lines in committing the alleged offense – for example, trafficking controlled substances like heroin, cocaine, or marijuana between Pennsylvania and other states.
There are also some other critical differences between state and federal charges. For example:
- Federal courts handle fewer cases, which means prosecutors have more time and energy to devote to each investigation.
- Federal courts follow different rules and procedures for introducing evidence.
- Federal investigations often involve sustained long-term collaboration between multiple government agencies, such as the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).
- Federal courts typically hand down longer sentences and larger fines, even for non-violent offenses.
- Federal prosecutors tend to have larger teams and more investigative resources.
Legal representation is crucial after being charged with any crime. However, the importance of skilled and experienced representation is especially great in federal cases due to their sophisticated prosecution strategies – and exceptionally long prison sentences.
Where Are Federal Criminal Cases Heard in Philadelphia?
While state courts are found in almost every county, federal courts are somewhat fewer and farther between. In Pennsylvania, the state is divided into three distinct districts for purposes of federal courts. Philadelphia is in the Eastern District, and there are several federal district courthouses in the area.
The Eastern District of Pennsylvania has four federal district courts, with a court in Allentown, Reading, Easton, and Philadelphia. The Philadelphia federal district court is located at 601 Market Street. Federal district courts are the lowest-level federal courts and are where many federal criminal cases begin. If you are charged with a federal crime in Philadelphia, there is a good chance your case will begin in this court.
If you have already been tried and convicted of a federal crime in Philadelphia, you might be interested in filing an appeal. A federal criminal appeals lawyer can help you take your case to the appellate level. An appeal of a federal conviction will likely take you to one of the many Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals. An appeal from a Philadelphia federal criminal conviction will place you in the Third Circuit Court.
Some defendants appeal their cases all the way to the top. Although rare, you might appeal your case to the Supreme Court of the United States. Keep in mind that the Supreme Court does not hear every case filed, and the Court is very selective about which cases they hear. Most cases are rejected, but you should still talk to an attorney about how far you can take your case.
Types of Federal Charges Our Law Firm Handles
The Law Office of Lloyd Long represents defendants charged with a wide array of federal crimes, ranging from white collar crimes to violent offenses to cyber crimes. Types of federal cases we handle include, but are not limited to:
- Child Pornography Crimes – The production, possession, and/or distribution of child pornography may be tried in federal court if the materials cross state lines.
- Drug Trafficking Crimes – Drug trafficking may involve cultivating, manufacturing, transporting, and/or distributing illegal street drugs or prescription drugs, such as opioid painkillers. We handle federal drug charges involving crack cocaine, powder cocaine, marijuana, heroin, MDMA (ecstasy), LSD (acid), methamphetamine, ketamine, fentanyl, psilocybin mushrooms, GHB, PCP (angel dust), steroids, OxyContin, Adderall, Vicodin, Xanax, Percocet, and other narcotics and controlled substances.
- Racketeering Charges – The Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is often used by federal prosecutors to charge defendants with suspected connections to organized crime and/or defendants suspected of drug trafficking or other gang-related activity.
- Terrorism – Crimes that threaten national security are among the most harshly penalized. People suspected of terrorism or espionage (spying) may be investigated by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies and counter-terrorism units.
- White Collar Crimes – White collar crimes are financial crimes, often involving investors, traders, or entire businesses. Examples include offenses like tax evasion, money laundering, corporate fraud, commodities fraud, bribery, embezzlement, Ponzi and pyramid schemes, and identity theft.
Why You Should Hire an Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Attorney in Philadelphia
There are good reasons why people tend to be intimidated by federal criminal charges. To begin, federal prosecutors are often way more experienced than state prosecutors. While many state prosecutors are recent law school graduates looking to gain court experience, federal prosecutors are seasoned legal professionals with years of experience. As such, you need an equally experienced defense lawyer by your side.
Second, Federal authorities typically have greater resources than state officials. Their ability to conduct thorough investigations and collect evidence is astounding and should not be disregarded. If your case is investigated by the FBI, DEA, or some other federal bureau or agency, they may spare no expense in finding evidence to build a very strong case against you. You need an experienced lawyer who knows how to stand up to these powerful agencies, like our federal crimes defense attorneys.
Third, Federal prosecutors typically do not struggle with heavy caseloads like state prosecutors. As such, they have more time and energy to devote to your case, and they might be less willing to be lenient or negotiate a plea deal. In short, federal prosecutors will not go easy on you, and you need a lawyer who can protect you.
Finally, federal laws are often more complicated than state laws. In many cases, state and federal laws intertwine, and attorneys must know when and how to apply them. In short, navigating the federal judicial process is far from easy. An experienced federal criminal defender can assist you.
How to Challenge Federal Criminal Charges in Philadelphia
There might be numerous potential legal strategies we can use to mount an effective defense. Determining the best tactics for your case starts with a thorough review of your case from the beginning. If you are charged with a federal criminal offense, contact a lawyer immediately to begin working on a defense.
One strategy that should be explored with your lawyer is possible Fourth Amendment issues. The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable or unlawful searches and seizures by the authorities. If federal authorities searched your private property or seized evidence without a warrant or an exception to the warrant rule, your rights might have been violated. Illegally obtained evidence should not be allowed to be used against you. We can file pretrial motions to exclude such tainted evidence. We might severely weaken the prosecutor’s case if critical evidence is excluded.
Another possible defense tactic is to challenge any information you might have divulged to the authorities if certain legal protocols were not followed. Perhaps the most important rule law enforcement officials must follow when questioning defendants is informing them of their Miranda rights. You have likely heard these rights on TV before, including your right to remain silent and have a lawyer present during custodial interrogation. If you were not properly Mirandized, any information you gave the authorities should be excluded, including confessions.
The best defense depends on your specific circumstances. As such, you should speak with a qualified attorney about your case as soon as possible.
When to Hire a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney in Philadelphia
Ideally, it would be best to speak with a lawyer about your federal criminal case as soon as possible. You and your attorney need to begin working on your defense right away, and the sooner you contact a lawyer, the faster you can get to work.
Many federal criminal defendants hire a lawyer after they have been informed that they will be charged. This often happens after being arrested and questioned by the authorities. However, you can hire a lawyer even sooner. For example, you might be aware that you are being investigated by federal authorities before being arrested. In that case, you should immediately call a lawyer and explain your situation. That way, your attorney can come to your aid immediately if and when you are arrested.
What you should not do is wait and see how things turn out before calling a lawyer. Many people talk themselves out of hiring a lawyer because they fear expensive legal fees. Instead, they wait and see if their case resolves on its own or if some other solution presents itself. This is a risky game to play, as federal charges usually do not just go away on their own. You can talk to your lawyer about how to fight your charges and work out an agreeable fee arrangement.
Philadelphia Federal Crimes Defense Attorney Handling Felony Cases
When you are up against federal court procedures, securing the representation of a knowledgeable federal defense attorney is vital to the successful resolution of your case. We may be able to help you obtain the upper hand in court.
Our qualified federal crime attorneys will direct the course of a thorough federal investigation and work tirelessly in order to prevent indictment. Various agencies will investigate your case prior to formal charges being filed. This may take weeks or months.
It is important to understand that the FBI takes federal crimes very seriously. The agency utilizes a proactive approach, investigating both crimes that have been committed and potential federal crimes. Our Philadelphia criminal defense law firm can combat all allegations against you at a federal level. We will go the extra mile, and we will not back down.
Call Our Philadelphia Federal Crimes Defense Lawyers Immediately If You Are Federally Charged
For a free and confidential case review with a highly experienced federal crimes lawyer in Philadelphia, contact the Law Office of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171.