Being investigated by federal authorities and charged with a federal crime is not an easy experience. As offenses governed by U.S. law rather than state law, federal crimes have a unique set of procedures and rules to follow. They can also result in incredibly harsh penalties and prison sentences.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a federal crime in Houston or anywhere in Texas, be aware that federal cases are a different beast than state or local crimes. At The Law Offices of Jed Silverman, our Houston criminal defense attorneys are led by a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist (Jed Silverman, Texas Board of Legal Specialization) who has fought on behalf of many clients charged with crimes in federal courts across the state.
Having handled many of these cases, we know that they demand immediate and experienced representation. We also know that accused individuals need to understand what’s on the line when they have been charged so that they can make informed decisions that could very well help them protect their freedom and future.
Here are a few basic things you need to understand after being charged with a federal crime:
- Know what you’re up against – Federal crimes are not your average criminal offense. These charges are thoroughly investigated by federal agencies with tremendous resources, and they are prosecuted by U.S. and Assistant U.S. Attorneys who fiercely leverage the tools at their disposal in order to gain convictions. Additionally, there are unique procedures in place that differ from those in state criminal cases. From investigation, indictment, and pre-trial to sentencing and court supervision, these unique rules can be foreign to those who have never encountered them. What’s more, federal cases typically involve offenses serious enough to attract attention from the U.S. government. These include large-scale drug crimes, crimes or fraud committed directly against the government or its agencies, crimes that occur in multiple states or involve the transmission of funds or products across state lines or national borders, crimes involving the internet or child pornography, organized crime, and others.
- Know what’s at stake – Federal cases are treated in a more serious tone than most state cases simply because there is typically a lot on the line. Federal crimes are infamous for posing harsh sentences, often as a result of the federal sentencing guidelines used by judges or mandatory minimum sentences that prevent judges from using their discretion to dole out an appropriate sentence given an individual’s crime, history, and character. Federal crimes are federal crimes because they can subject convicted individuals to lengthy prison terms in federal correctional facilities, and in some cases may also subject them to stringent oversight and monitoring after they are released. To put it bluntly, everything is at stake when it comes to federal cases.
- Find the right lawyer – One of the most important decisions you can make after being charged with a federal crime is to work with a lawyer. Keep in mind that because federal cases are unique, it becomes even more important that you choose the right one. Not all criminal lawyers are able to practice in federal courts, as attorneys must be licensed to practice in a certain federal district. Some defense attorneys never handle a federal case in their life, often because they are difficult and the stakes are high. Attorney Jed Silverman is licensed to practice not only in all state courts in Texas and Missouri, but also in the Southern, Eastern, and Western District federal courts of Texas, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He knows how to handle federal cases.
Taking immediate action and speaking with an attorney should be your next step after being charged with a federal crime. Our firm is readily available to take your case and discuss how we may be able to help. Contact us for a free consultation.