If you are facing criminal charges for a federal offense do not hesitate to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. While it is important to defend against any criminal charges, federal crimes are particularly serious. The federal government has considerably more power and resources than the state of Illinois. If you are convicted of a federal crime your chances of being sentenced to incredibly harsh criminal penalties are high. Hiring an experienced Chicago federal criminal defense attorney to handle your defense will help you to secure the best possible outcome in your criminal case. At the Kostopoulos Law Group, our attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and legal skills that are necessary to protect your future.
Federal Prosecutors Have Incredible Power and Resources
Federal criminal matters are incredibly serious and must be handled appropriately. Federal prosecutors tend to have extensive legal experience and are extremely skilled in getting convictions in the cases they handle. In 2015, between guilty pleas and trial verdicts, the United States government had a 98.8 percent conviction rate for all criminal matters. The prosecutors handling these cases were undoubtedly supported by top-notch federal investigators from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Agency, and other investigative agencies. Federal prosecutors are also often given significant support from local and state investigators and law enforcement agencies.
Unlike prosecutors on the state level, federal prosecutors also have a relatively lighter caseload. This is because the federal government handles fewer cases than the states. Each year, approximately 30,000,000 cases are filed with state courts across the country. At the same time, only 1,000,000 cases are filed in federal court annually. Since federal courts hear very limited cases prosecutors have more time to dedicate to each individual case. As a result, prosecutors focus their time and energy on the few cases they handle and are more likely to get a conviction.
Federal Crimes in the United States
Not all criminal matters will be heard at the federal level. In fact, most crimes are defined by state laws and, as a result, will be tried at the state level. In some situations, certain behaviors may be illegal under both federal and Illinois state laws. The seriousness of your offense and the specific details of your alleged crime will help law enforcement officials and prosecutors to determine where your case should be tried. Federal crimes include:
- Drug crimes,
- Human trafficking,
- Bank robbery,
- Weapons violations,
- Tax evasion,
- Bribery and other white collar crimes,
- Organized crime, and
- Immigration-related offenses.
Federal Penalties Are Harsh
Federal criminal laws carry extremely harsh criminal consequences. The federal sentencing guidelines are rigid and require a mandatory minimum sentence for most federal crimes. This means that if you are convicted of a federal crime your chances of ending up in prison are incredibly high. If you have any prior criminal convictions, you will most certainly be sentenced to additional time behind bars. In addition to a lengthy term of imprisonment, you can be required to pay staggeringly expensive fines (ranging from $200 to $500,000) and serve extended terms of probation or supervised release.
How to Fight Federal Criminal Charges
Federal prosecutors have incredible resources at their disposal. Drawing from multiple law enforcement and investigative agencies, prosecutors are able to gather a significant amount of evidence. It is important that each piece of evidence collected in a federal investigation is obtained through legal means. Many federal investigations rely on electronic surveillance and new, high-tech techniques. Some of these investigative techniques push the boundaries of legality. It is important to thoroughly review how each piece of evidence in your case is gathered and challenge the use of any evidence that is obtained in violation of your Constitutional rights.
Our federal crimes attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case and determine if your rights have been violated. If we believe that you have been the victim of an unlawful search and seizure, illegal arrest, or improper questioning, we will immediately file a motion to suppress the tainted evidence. When federal prosecutors do not have evidence to support their case they will be more inclined to offer a favorable plea deal or drop the charges altogether.
What to Do If You’re Arrested for a Federal Crime
The decisions you make immediately following an arrest for a federal crime are important and will affect how the matter unfolds. It is important to understand that your future is on the line and that everything you say and do matters. If you are arrested for a federal crime in Chicago:
- Invoke your right to counsel. When you are arrested it is important to directly and unequivocally tell the police that you want to invoke your right to be represented by an attorney. Police will not honor your request if it is vague.
- Remain silent. The old saying is very true – everything you say can and will be used against you. Law enforcement officers will try to manipulate a stressful situation and convince you to say something that will hurt your case. Avoid the temptation to explain the situation or offer a defense. Remain silent and wait for your attorney before saying anything to anyone (aside from asking for your lawyer).
- Call an attorney as soon as possible. Early intervention in your case is essential. If you hesitate to call an attorney the federal prosecutor handling your case will have a significant advantage. Call an attorney as soon as you are permitted to make a phone call.
- Be honest with your lawyer. Your attorney cannot help you if you are not entirely honest and forthcoming about the details of your alleged crime. The more information your attorney has to work with, the more they can help you. Keeping details from your attorney – whether you think they are unimportant or harmful – will only hurt your defense.
Call a Chicago Federal Criminal Attorney
If you have been arrested for a federal crime in Chicago do not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. The decision regarding which attorney you choose to lead your defense can make or break your future. At the Kostopoulos Law Group, our attorneys have extensive experience handling federal criminal matters and know how to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. We will thoroughly investigate the charges against you, devise a custom legal strategy for your defense, and aggressively fight to protect your future. Call our Chicago federal crimes attorneys to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you today.