Los Angeles Federal Crimes Attorney
Fighting federal criminal charges is considered significantly more challenging than fighting equivalent state charges. Federal prosecutors are more thorough and meticulous, federal judges are prevented from giving low sentences in many cases, and federal court involves more formality and written motions. For these reasons, a defendant’s choice of federal crimes lawyer is all the more important.
The success of Spolin Law P.C., in handling federal cases is our founding attorney’s experience handling complex cases in various courts from New York to California. Federal crimes attorney Aaron Spolin is a former assistant district attorney who has handled a wide array of complicated and high-stakes cases from fraud to murder at the district attorney’s office. Additionally, before becoming a prosecutor, Aaron drafted legal opinions and memoranda while working for a federal judge in federal district court. He is also a former member of California Law Review and has experience filing hundreds of legal motions regarding suppression of evidence and constitutional rights.
To learn more about Spolin Law P.C., and for a free consultation, contact us by calling (310) 424-5816.
Common Federal Cases We Handle
Many federal crimes mirror state offenses but differ in penalties and the criminal court process. Our experienced federal crimes lawyer can help you with any federal charge, including, but not limited to, the following:
White Collar Crimes
- Tax Fraud (26 U.S.C §§7201 & 7206): Taking advantage of deductions and other methods to minimize the amount you pay the government for income taxes is perfectly legal. Tax fraud is when people or businesses falsify tax returns or other documents to hide income or to take deductions to which they are not entitled.
- Loan Fraud: There is a more scrutiny nowadays when it comes to how individuals and businesses conduct financial transactions. Due to the government’s direct involvement in mortgage lending and to ensure economic stability, mortgage and loan fraud may be charged as a state crime or as a federal offense with drastic penalties if convicted.
- Health Care Fraud (18 U.S.C. §1347): The usual scenario for health care fraud involves a doctor or health care provider falsifying records or engaging in other schemes to mislead insurance companies or government programs into paying for services billed but not provided.
- Securities Fraud (18 U.S.C. §1348): Fraudulent acts or schemes affecting how stocks, bonds, and commodities are bought and sold. Insider trading is an example of securities fraud.
- Money Laundering (18 U.S.C. §§1956 & 1957): Money laundering is usually a process rather than a single act. Its purpose is to make the proceeds of criminal activities, such as dealing in unlawful drugs, appear to come from legitimate business enterprises. These are generally complex schemes with multiple layers.
- Bank Fraud and Embezzlement (18 U.S.C. §§1344 & 656): Use of forged checks or altered documents to obtain money from banks and credit unions, fraudulent schemes that target depositors, and misuse or diversion of bank funds by employees of the institution are examples of this type of fraud.
Other Federal Crimes
- Computer and Internet Crimes (18 U.S.C. §1030): Some computer crimes may also violate state laws, but the primary federal crimes are illegally downloading material, internet fraud, hacking, internet pornography, cyberstalking and identity theft.
- Drug Trafficking (21 U.S.C. §841): Distribution and trafficking in unlawful drugs is a federal crime that also violates state law. Federal investigations usually involve drugs transported from one state to another or across international borders into the U.S.
- Drug Smuggling (21 U.S Code § 841): You may face federal drug smuggling charges if you are accused of bringing controlled substances into the U.S. from another country. Smuggling typically involves large quantities of controlled substances or counterfeit prescription medications, which can lead to lengthy prison sentences and high fines.
- Drug Importation (21 U.S. Code § 952-959): Because importation charges involve drugs from outside the U.S. or outside the customs territory entering the country, it is a federal matter. Specifically, it is unlawful to bring illicit or unauthorized goods into the country from abroad.
- Drug Conspiracy (21 U.S. Code § 846): If you and at least one other person plan to import, cultivate, manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess a controlled substance, hen you can be charged with conspiracy and may face the same penalties as the intended offense.
- Drug Cultivation (21. U.S. Code § 841): It is illegal to cultivate or manufacture controlled substances unless you are specifically licensed to do so. If you lack appropriate licensing, then the cultivation of illegal drugs will likely result in arrest and state or federal criminal charges.
- Weapons Crimes: Possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon or other person prohibited by law is a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1). Other federal firearms and weapons violations include illegal sales of firearms by private individuals and dealers (18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 and 26 U.S.C. Chapter 53).
- RICO Violations (18 U.S.C. Chapter 96): Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act are complex investigations and prosecutions involving activities constituting part of an ongoing criminal enterprise.
- Public Corruption (18 U.S.C. §201): The FBI makes the investigation of public corruption one its priorities and even has an international corruption unit for investigations involving activities by government officials and contractors wherever they might occur.
- Intellectual Property Crimes (17 U.S.C. §506(a)): Usually associated with counterfeit goods, digital media and other items protected by patent, trademark or copyright laws, these federal crimes can also be the subject of civil actions and penalties.
- Kidnapping (18 U.S.C. §1201(a)(1)): State laws usually provide the basis for charging someone with the crime of kidnapping, but movement of a victim across state lines makes it a federal offense under the Federal Kidnapping Act.
- Bribery and Extortion: While bribery and extortion offenses can be charged at the state level, federal offenses of this nature are punished harshly. If you’ve been charged with federal bribery or extortion, call an attorney for help right away.
- Terrorism (18 U.S.C. Chapter 113B): When people were injured and killed after homemade bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the FBI announced it was taking the lead as the primary investigative agency. The acts committed were violations of federal laws against terrorism and terrorist threats.
Choosing the Right Federal Crimes Lawyer
The attorney you choose to defend you against federal criminal charges must be up to the task. Federal cases require a higher level of skill in an attorney along with in-depth knowledge and practical experience with the federal laws and specialized rules of practice and procedure in federal courts. Factors contributing to the need for superior legal representation include:
- Federal law enforcement agencies: Law enforcement organizations investigating violations of federal criminal laws are well-funded agencies with highly trained, seasoned investigators who, in many cases, specialize in specific types of crimes. For example, ATF agents primarily specialize in enforcing federal laws pertaining to guns, explosives, alcohol, and tobacco. Agents from the DEA focus exclusively on federal drug laws with 5,000 agents and an annual budget of more than $2 billion.
- Justice Department: The assistant U.S. attorneys who handle federal criminal cases are experienced, highly skilled litigators with support staffs, investigators, and virtually unlimited resources to pursue criminal prosecutions. They also handle far fewer cases at any given time than do state prosecutors, so they have more time to prepare each of their cases for trial. Federal prosecutors also work closely with federal law enforcement agencies during the investigative stages, so they have a better familiarity with each case and more control over its direction before charges are actually filed than do state prosecutors.
- Complex cases: Federal criminal investigations can take months or years to develop. The scope of the investigation could involve activities in multiple states and foreign countries. There could be dozens of people who are the targets of a particular investigation of a criminal enterprise. Trials when charges are eventually filed can take weeks or even months with a parade of witnesses and boxes and boxes of evidence introduced in support of the charges.
- Grand jury: The use of federal grand juries as investigative tools by federal prosecutors frequently results in offers of immunity in exchange for the cooperation of someone who might have been a target of the investigation. Defense lawyers must be dedicated and learned advocates who are aggressive and skilled negotiators and strategists capable of obtaining the best results possible and what is best for their clients.
- Federal courts: Unlike state court judges, judges in the U.S. District Courts have lighter caseloads. This permits them to exercise more control over ensuring cases progress quickly through their courts. U.S. District Courts are located throughout the country with four of them located and hearing cases arising in California.
Early engagement of defense counsel is essential for someone who is under investigation by federal law enforcement or by the Justice Department. A federal criminal defense lawyer could have the ability during the investigation stages of a case to explain and clarify a client’s role in the activities that are under investigation to avoid the filing of criminal charges or offer a person’s cooperation in exchange for reduced charges or no charges at all.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines
Federal court judges rely upon sentencing guidelines to determine the punishment to impose on someone convicted of committing a violation of federal criminal law. The guidelines established by the U.S. Sentencing Commission seek to create uniformity in punishment and avoid situations where defendants committing the exact same crimes are treated differently because of having different judges or in being sentenced in different federal courthouses.
The guidelines are complex and rely on several factors to determine the sentence in a particular case. The first step under the guidelines is to determine the base level of the crime the person was convicted of committing. There are 43 levels with the highest being serious offenses with the harshest penalties. Adjustments are made to the level of offense based on the following factors:
- Defendant’s role in committing the crime
- Motivation for the crime
- Number of crimes or counts
- Amount of money or the value of property taken
- Prior criminal record of the defendant
Judges have discretion to depart from the sentencing guidelines depending upon factors associated with the case, including:
- Defendant’s use of a weapon to commit the crime
- Severe injuries inflicted upon or death of the victim
- Gang connection to the crime
- Victim was a child
- Acts of cruelty or torture by the defendant
A resourceful federal crimes lawyer has the opportunity to offer evidence favorable to the defendant, including evidence of the individual’s cooperation with law enforcement in other investigations.
Federal Crimes vs. State Crimes
Some crimes designated as violations of the U.S. Code might also be violations of state laws. Computer crimes, tax fraud, and drug offenses are examples of crimes that could violate both state and federal criminal statutes. If you are charged in federal court with violating a federal law, you could also face charges in state court. An acquittal in state or federal court does not preclude prosecution in the other jurisdiction, so your criminal defense attorney must be capable of providing superior representation in both jurisdictions.
How a Federal Crimes Attorney Can Help You
If you’ve been charged with a federal offense, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Federal crimes lawyer Aaron Spolin has the skills necessary to guide you through the federal court system. We will evaluate every aspect of your case and help you understand your legal options. We will make sure your rights are protected throughout the process. Call Spolin Law P.C., today at (310) 424-5816.