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Cleveland Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys

Charged with a Federal Offense in Ohio? Call HMW Law

If you’re convicted of a federal crime, you could be looking at some severe penalties. The prison sentences are steep and the fines are high. The agents who investigate these types of crimes, and the attorneys who prosecute them, don’t take these matters lightly. They will use the full force of the law and everything in their power to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re guilty.

When you’re up against experienced teams such as these, it’s best to have a legal advocate on your side who will fight hard for you and level the playing field.

At HMW Law, our Cleveland federal defense lawyers have more than 75 years of combined legal experience. We are relentless in our pursuit to protect your rights and freedoms, and we will not back down as we highlight weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case against you.

What Are Federal Crimes?

In the U.S., both states and Congress establish laws concerning prohibited behavior. Depending on the alleged criminal conduct a person was involved in, they could be prosecuted either at the state or federal level, or sometimes both.

What distinguishes a state crime from a federal one is where or how it occurred.

A federal crime is one that:

  • Violates laws passed by Congress or Constitutional protections;
  • Occurs on federal property, such as a National Park, post office, or federal prison; or
  • Crosses state lines, such as kidnapping or drug distribution.

Who Investigates Federal Crimes?

As mentioned before, federal crimes are thoroughly investigated.

Agents from various agencies conduct these investigations, such as:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Drug Enforcement Agency
  • United States Secret Service
  • Internal Revenue Service

The agents may spend months or years looking into a person they believe is involved in a federal offense. During this time, they gather evidence that they eventually hand over to a federal prosecutor. This information is what a U.S. Attorney will use to build their case and attempt to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Because of the amount of time investigators and prosecutors spend building their case, by the time a defendant knows they are being charged, the Government already has mounds of evidence against them.

However, this doesn’t mean that the information the prosecution has is strong enough to meet their burden of proof. It also doesn’t mean that all the evidence was lawfully collected. This is why it’s important to retain legal representation right away. Our federal criminal lawyers can look for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.

Common Types of Federal Crimes

HMW Law and our team of Cleveland federal criminal defense lawyers have the experience, resources, and professional network to handle virtually any type of federal criminal case.

We can help defend against these common federal criminal charges:

  • Child pornographyThe illegal production, distribution, transportation, reception, accessing, or viewing of any sexually explicit content featuring someone under the age of 18.
  • Conspiracy: Plotting to commit another serious crime can be grounds for conspiracy charges, which may escalate to a federal offense.
  • Drug crimesMany drug crimes can be charged as federal crimes, such as drug trafficking or selling a considerably large amount of narcotics.
  • Fraud: Using deception to take the property, finances, benefits, or assets of another is fraud, which can include mail fraud, credit card fraud, healthcare fraud, securities fraud, etc.
  • MurderThe intentional taking of another’s life is one of the most serious federal crimes. You can be sure that the prosecution will do everything it can to secure a conviction.
  • Sex crimesViolent sex crimes like aggravated sexual abuse or sexual abuse of a minor are often considered federal crimes because they are considered crimes in all 50 states.
  • Tax crimes: Attempting to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in any way can be a federal tax crime because the victim is a federal government agency.
  • Weapon crimes: It can be a federal crime to carry, purchase, sell, transport, or manufacture federally restricted deadly weapons, such as unregistered firearms.

Other commonly prosecuted federal crimes include:

What Are the Penalties for a Federal Crime?

The penalties for federal crime convictions vary.

For instance, being found guilty of money laundering could result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years. However, if a person is convicted of healthcare fraud, they could be imprisoned for up to 10 years (unless there were aggravating factors, such as serious bodily injury, which increases the sentence).

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Are federal crimes more serious than other crimes?

Federal crimes are not necessarily more serious than other crimes. The severity of a crime usually depends on the specific offense and the circumstances surrounding it. However, federal crimes are often more complex and can have more severe consequences than state or local crimes.

Federal investigations and prosecutions can involve significant resources and may result in harsher penalties, such as longer prison sentences and higher fines.

Are federal crimes processed in federal court?

Yes, federal crimes are typically processed in federal court. This is because federal crimes are prosecuted by the federal government and fall under federal jurisdiction. Federal courts are responsible for interpreting and applying federal law, including laws related to federal crimes. In the United States, the federal court system operates separately from state and local courts and has its own set of judges and procedures.

Do attorneys need to be admitted to practice in federal court?

Attorneys typically need to be admitted to practice in federal court to represent clients in federal criminal cases. Admission to practice in federal court is separate from admission to practice in state court, and attorneys must meet certain requirements to be admitted.

The requirements for admission vary depending on the court and the jurisdiction, but they often include passing a separate bar exam, demonstrating knowledge of federal law and procedure, and meeting certain ethical requirements.

Additionally, attorneys who are not members of the bar of the relevant federal court may be able to appear pro hac vice, or for a particular case, if they meet the court’s requirements for temporary admission.

Get 75+ Years of Experience on Your Side

Retaining a strong, fiercely aggressive federal crimes attorney in Cleveland, OH to fight for you is vital to protecting your rights. When you choose HMW Law, you’ll get a team of lawyers who, together, have over 75 years of experience and have handled thousands of cases. We deliver personalized legal representation and will maintain open and honest communication to provide updates on your case.