Federal Crimes

As Tampa federal crime lawyers, we know how to defend our clients' interests in the face of federal investigations and prosecution in federal court. We never compromise, seeking the best result in every case.

Tampa Federal Crime Defense Lawyers

Our Federal Defense Team Is Ready to Fight for You

A federal crime is any criminal act deemed illegal by the U.S. Federal Government or a criminal act that takes place on federal property. When a federal crime is committed, it is usually investigated by government agencies such as the FBI. Unlike local or state crimes, federal crimes tend to involve lengthy investigations by authorities with more resources than their state counterparts. They'll do everything possible to obtain convictions.

Once a person has been charged with a federal crime, they will need to work with a skilled defense attorney who has successfully handled prior federal cases. Without representation from an experienced federal crimes lawyer, the accused risk being facing severe penalties.

At Thomas & Paulk, our Tampa federal defense attorneys are prepared to fight for your future. We know that federal prosecutors are aggressive, and we refuse to allow them to intimidate us. Our team has helped thousands of people facing serious criminal accusations, and we’re ready to use our experience to pursue the most favorable outcome.

When Is a Crime Considered Federal?

Most offenses are charged as state crimes and are prosecuted in a state’s court system. However, if a person breaks a federal law, they may face federal crime charges. Congress passes federal laws and frequently involves issues that are related to a national issue.

Federal jurisdiction exists when a crime:

  • Takes place on federal land
  • Involves federal officials
  • Crosses state lines
  • Involves immigration or customs violations such as human or drug trafficking

In some instances, a crime can be charged at the state and federal level. For example, a person can receive state and federal charges for bank robbery. This is because the act is outlawed at the federal and state level. One could even face separate sentences.

Federal Crime Defense

If you’re facing federal charges, you need the help of an attorney who is ready to handle your case. Federal crimes generally carry harsher punishments than state crimes. Even minimum sentences for a federal crime can have similar severity to a harsh state crime penalty. You must choose a firm with prior federal criminal defense experience, like Thomas & Paulk.

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Federal Charges: Conspiracy & the FBI

Federal Charges & FBI Involvement

One of the most prominent factors of a federal case is that it will be investigated not by a local authority but by the FBI. Their duty is "to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats and to enforce the criminal laws of the United States." This means that they have jurisdiction over 200 categories of federal law.

This includes the following:

  • Terrorism (international and domestic)
  • Counterintelligence
  • Cybercrimes (online predators, piracy, identity theft, etc.)
  • Public corruption (government and election fraud)
  • Civil rights (hate crimes, human trafficking, etc.)
  • Organized crime (crime involving gangs and mafias)
  • White collar crimes (such as bankruptcy and mail fraud)
  • Violent crimes and theft (robbery, cruise ship crimes, etc.)

The FBI is not responsible for deciding guilt or working as a prosecutor. While they maintain close relationships with U.S. Attorneys, they are involved with gathering evidence and information during an investigation. They may also take a suspect into custody.

The following authorities also handle federal crimes:

  • U.S. Border Police
  • U.S. Customs
  • Military Security Forces
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife
  • U.S. Park Police
  • U.S. Postal Police & Inspectors
  • Veteran Affairs Police

What Does a Charge of Conspiracy Mean?

Conspiracy occurs when two or more people agree to partake in a criminal act in the future. When two or more people plan to break the law, and they then commit a crime together, they can be charged with the criminal offense they committed as well as conspiracy. In some cases, even if the people do not commit the planned crime, they can still be charged.

Conspiracy charges can involve any criminal offense, including:

According to Florida law, a conspiracy to commit a crime is only ranked one level below conviction. However, there are some crimes where the conspiracy is listed separately and may be considered as severe as had the crime been committed. For example, it is considered just a serious to conspire to commit a crime related to drug trafficking or murder.

These are considered "inchoate" offenses, meaning they're not fully developed, but they may be punished as if they had been completed. Inchoate means something has just begun or is not fully developed. When a criminal act is planned, someone can be charged with conspiracy.

While prosecutors can use conspiracy charges to convict a person of a crime, they'll also use them to extract more information from someone in a case. For example, if someone is accused of murder, but a prosecutor needs more evidence against them, they might charge someone suspected to be associated with the crime with conspiracy. This can give a person who has information about a crime incentive to share it in exchange for a modified sentence.

If you're facing charges of conspiracy or any federal offense, you need a powerful attorney to defend your interests. Contact Thomas & Paulk today.