Camden County, NJ Federal Defense Attorney
Trusted Federal Criminal Lawyer Serving All of Southern New Jersey
An investigation by a federal agency can turn your life upside-down instantly. You need to be protected from the very moment you find out you are being investigated or accused of a federal offense such as narcotics trafficking, financial crimes, crimes that that cross state lines or deal with interstate commerce, bank fraud, healthcare fraud, money laundering, extortion, public corruption offenses, or offenses that occur on federal land or federal property. Read on to learn more about federal crimes, investigations, the criminal federal legal process, and how a qualified federal criminal defense lawyer in Camden County, New Jersey can truly turn the tide of your case when facing accusations for a federal offense.
What is a federal offense?
A federal offense or crime is a violation of federal law. Though there is some overlap between state and federal laws, federal crimes are distinct in that U.S. attorneys prosecute them in federal court. Federal law enforcement investigates federal law violations, and federal judges preside over federal courtrooms. Titles 18 and Title 26 of the U.S. Code list numerous federal crimes.
Why would an offense be considered eligible for federal charges?
Federal offenses concern the same behaviors as state offenses, such as arson or forcible rape (aggravated sexual assault in New Jersey), but also consist of violations of exclusive federal jurisdiction. For example, crimes on federal property and Indian reservations resolve in federal court, applying federal law and procedures.
What investigations lead to federal charges?
When a complaint of criminal conduct reaches a federal law enforcement agency, they will investigate the crime if federal law violations occurred or federal employees committed or were victims of crimes. So, for example, robbery is not a federal offense unless it involves the federal government in some way. A robbery in a federally insured bank triggers federal charges because the victim has federal interests. But each federal investigative agency is responsible for crimes within its jurisdiction, depending on the crime.
Thus, the FBI investigates terrorism and hate crimes, while the Secret Service investigates financial crimes and counterfeit currency. Offenses against the United States in violation of federal law involve agencies other than the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as well, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Department of Homeland (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)
What makes a federal case different from a state criminal case?
The most significant difference between a federal and state criminal case is the criminal subject matter or jurisdiction. Federal criminal cases deal only with federal law or federal concerns. So, only federal prosecutors may bring charges for illegal activity on federal property or involving federal officers, deceit crimes against the federal government or agency, crimes involving crossing state borders, and immigration and customs legal violations. On the other hand, state criminal cases deal with state criminal law violations.
And since federal prosecutors handle federal matters exclusively, they are typically more experienced and better resourced than state court prosecutors. Federal judges have lifetime appointments, while state judges do not. Thus, federal prosecutors are formidable adversaries. Another essential difference between federal and state criminal cases is the punishment. Federal crimes carry stiffer sentences than state courts.
What are the stages of the federal criminal legal process?
After an investigation by the appropriate federal investigative agency, such as the Criminal Investigation Division, the agency may determine whether a crime occurred. It may then arrest the suspect with or without a warrant or wait to obtain more evidence by obtaining search warrants from a magistrate or subpoena from the grand jury.
After a grand jury indictment, an arrest occurs, and the suspect is taken into custody. Without an indictment or arrest warrant, the suspect goes before a magistrate or judge within 72 hours of arrest to determine if probable cause exists that the suspect committed a crime. At the initial appearance, the judge reads the defendant’s charges and rights and releases or holds the defendant in custody if they are a public threat.
At the arraignment, the judge reads and delivers the formal charges, and the defendant enters a guilty or not guilty plea. A bail hearing occurs, if applicable, to determine whether the defendant remains out of custody pending trial. From there, the case proceeds to trial, with the state and defense conducting discovery and investigation while preparing for trial and engaging in negotiations for a plea bargain.
What is a federal indictment?
The grand jury is a panel of community citizens investigating and determining whether a crime occurred and who did it. As part of their investigation, they obtain documentary and other evidence by issuing subpoenas to the businesses or people holding the evidence. They may also hear witness or victim testimony. The investigation concludes with an indictment if there is enough evidence that a crime probably occurred by a specific individual or individuals. The U.S. Attorney is the one who works with the grand jury to ensure probable cause exists to charge someone with a crime.
Where are the federal courts in New Jersey?
Federal criminal cases begin in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. There are three U.S. District Court locations, the Mitchell H. Cohen Courthouse in Camden, on 4th and Cooper Streets; the Martin Luther King Justice Building, located at 50 Walnut Street in Newark; and the Clarkson S. Fisher Building, located at 402 East State Street in Trenton.
New Jersey is among three other districts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the Virgin Islands, that constitute the Third Circuit. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is at 601 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Appeals from the District Court go to the Third Circuit United States Court of Appeals. The New Jersey Supreme Court, the highest judicial body in New Jersey’s jurisdiction, is in Trenton at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex.
Why should you have a federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible in an investigation?
An accomplished federal criminal attorney has extensive experience in federal criminal cases from start to finish. They know that once a federal criminal investigation begins, it may not conclude for months or years, depending on the crime. Before the government charges you, a federal criminal defense attorney can influence the investigation, protect you from incriminating statements and actions that may not serve your interests, ensure your rights are not violated in the process, and even convince a U.S. attorney not to seek an indictment. In addition, an attorney can prevent formal charges against you by appropriately responding to a subpoena.
Are You Being Investigated by a Federal Agency in Camden County?
If you are being investigated by a federal agency or have been charged with a federal crime, you are in a good position to get the best result with an attorney who can easily navigate the federal criminal justice system. Our federal criminal defense lawyers are highly educated and experienced in federal criminal cases, and we understand federal proceedings’ rules and laws, investigations, defense options, and the type of complex information only gained through direct action in federal investigations and courts. We know that the federal court is often less forgiving than the state court in some ways. Trials proceed and are conducted in a specific manner, and punishment after conviction is very likely to be worse than in state court.
With our background, our lawyers know how to deal well with federal prosecutors, bail hearings, jury selection, trial procedures, and sentences, which are all distinct from New Jersey superior courts.
Contact Camden NJ Federal Defense Lawyers for Criminal Cases in District Courts
If you are facing federal charges in Camden County or elsewhere in Southern New Jersey, get in touch with an exceptional federal attorney right away. Contact 609-832-3202 for a free consultation.