When you’re charged with a federal crime, your case is prosecuted by an Assistant U.S. Attorney in front of a federal judge, and you’re subject to the punishments mandated by federal laws.
When you are arrested by federal authorities or charged with a federal crime, you need the help of an experienced and aggressive defense attorney who is able to practice in federal courts. Houston federal defense attorney Ned Barnett is ready to handle your case and tenaciously defend your rights.
If you have been accused of committing a crime and are arrested by your local or state police department, you will likely face state-level charges. This means prosecutors who work on behalf of Texas are alleging you violated a state law. You will go through the criminal court process in state courts. However, many crimes also violate federal law. In certain circumstances, you may face federal charges, brought by prosecutors who work for the federal government. Your case will move through the federal court system and if you are convicted, you will be punished based on federal law, not state standards.
A federal crime conviction has serious penalties that can forever change your life. If you are facing a possible conviction of such a crime, you will need experienced representation. Ned Barnett can help you understand your rights.
Federal crimes are often harshly punished. By working with The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, you increase the likelihood of exonerating yourself in court, or minimizing the consequences of a conviction.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a federal crime, call attorney Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767.
When is an Offense Charged at the Federal Level?
There are numerous reasons why a crime may be charged at the federal level, including:
- Your actions violate a federal statute.
- The offense took place on federal property, such as a national park, or military base.
- The offense involved federal officers.
Common Federal Charges
Certain types of criminal activity are typically handled by federal prosecutors. This is because some offenses are solely within the federal government’s purview.
Federal attorney Ned Barnett has experience handling a wide-range of federal crimes, including:
- Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)– If you gain or maintain income or interest in an organization that affects interstate or foreign commerce through a pattern of racketeering, which is closely connected to organized crime, then you will be charged under the RICO statute. A conviction typically comes with a significant fine and lengthy prison sentence. Learn more about being charged under RICO and how to defend yourself.
- Terrorism Charges– If you commit or attempt to commit an act of mass destruction or injury, then you may be charged with domestic or international terrorism. These are significant charges that can lead to life in prison or the death penalty. Contact Houston federal defense attorney Ned Barnett immediately to determine how to best defend against these accusations.
- Counterfeiting– You can be charged with counterfeiting if there is evidence you forged any type of U.S. currency or possessed counterfeit currency, you can be sentenced to significant fines and lengthy prison terms. Contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett right away if you are accused of making, possessing, or distributing forged money.
- Tax Fraud– If you intentionally or knowingly filed a false tax return or in some way cheated on your taxes to get out of paying, then you may be charged with tax fraud. Depending on the exact charge, you may face hefty fines and years in prison. Learn more about tax fraud offenses and how attorney Ned Barnett can help.
- Human Trafficking– It is illegal to force, coerce, entice, or trick someone into involuntary servitude, including sex work. If there is evidence you are in some way involved with human trafficking or sex trafficking – such as recruitment or transportation – you will be charged with a federal offense, punishable by years in prison.
- Drug Offenses – When you’re charged with a federal drug offense, you face harsh minimum penalties and other consequences. Depending on the drug and amount of the illegal substance you were allegedly found to be in connection with, you could face decades in prison. Contact a federal attorney at our firm to learn more.
- Fraud – When you use lies, misrepresentations, and other forms of deception to obtain something unlawfully, you have committed fraud. At the federal level, this offense can be committed against the U.S. Postal Service, other government agencies, and more.
- Embezzlement – When you’re accused of embezzling money through a position of trust, you could face serious penalties in federal court. Call attorney Ned Barnett to learn more.
- Child Pornography– Pornography that in any way includes or portrays children involved in sexual situations is illegal. The federal government vigorously investigates child pornography and prosecutes offenders that share images or files of minors across state lines. If you are charged with creating, possessing, or distributing child pornography, contact Houston federal crimes attorney Ned Barnett immediately.
The Federal Court Process
If you are charged with a federal crime, the federal court process you experience will be significantly different than if you were charged with a state-level offense in Texas. You can be arrested before charges are filed, and even before a U.S. attorney presents evidence against you to a grand jury. If you are arrested, the prosecutor can wait to go to a grand jury while they continue their investigation, or they can present their evidence within a week of your arrest. However, prosecutors can also call a grand jury following an investigation and prior to your arrest.
A federal grand jury will be made up of 16 to 23 people, and meets in private. Prosecutors present evidence that you committed the offense. Your attorney does not present evidence or question witnesses. However, you may testify before the grand jury to tell your side of the story. The grand jury then deliberates not to determine your guilt, but to decide whether there is enough evidence to support that you committed the crime. However, a grand jury is not always necessary. Prosecutors may file a complaint for a misdemeanor crime and then hold a preliminary hearing.
Following charges, you will make an initial appearance before a magistrate judge to learn the charges against you and the conditions for your possible release from jail. Your next appearance in court will be your arraignment, which takes place within 10 days of your indictment. Following your arraignment, you are officially a defendant and must enter a plea. In the coming months or years, you may need to attend numerous pre-trial hearings. Unless you plead guilty or accept a plea bargain, your case will eventually come to trial, during which time your Houston federal defense attorney will present your defense.
Federal Penalties and Collateral Consequences
Depending on the specifics of your criminal conduct, the level of the federal offense, and your criminal history, you may experience a wide range of penalties and collateral consequences, including:
- A permanent criminal record
- A prison sentence
- Sex offender registration
- Ineligibility for certain professional licenses or government positions
- Ineligibility to enlist in the military
- Ineligibility to hold elected federal office
- Loss of voting rights
- Loss of your right to own firearms
- Travel restrictions
- Loss of your visa or permanent residency status, or denial of a visa renewal
- Denial of your citizenship application
Why You Need Houston Federal Lawyers On Your Side
The federal court system has its own very specific procedures and rules that must be strictly adhered to, which is why you need an experienced federal lawyer on your case. A Criminal defense lawyer who is only licensed to practice at the state level may not be permitted to appear in a federal courtroom. If they are newly admitted to practice at this level, they may not know the federal court procedures well. Attorney Ned Barnett has been admitted to all federal courts in Texas for many years. He is well-versed in the nuances of federal court rules, ensuring your case is not hindered by procedural mistakes.
Let a Houston Federal Defense Attorney Help You
Attorney Ned Barnett is highly knowledgeable and experienced in federal criminal law. When defending you against a federal-level offense, he understands the similarities and differences to state law and the defenses that are most appropriate and persuasive before federal judges and juries.