Los Angeles Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Los Angeles Federal Crimes AttorneyAre you facing federal criminal charges in Los Angeles, CA? Federal crimes carry serious penalties. A conviction will change the course of your life forever. Don’t wait to stand up and fight for your future. When your rights are in jeopardy, a Los Angeles federal criminal defense attorney at The Rodriguez Law Group is here to help.

Our federal lawyers are former prosecutors with decades of experience. When you work with us, the federal prosecutors won’t have any advantage. Contact our law firm to learn more about how we can level the playing field.

We will work diligently to protect your rights and secure the best possible result in your federal criminal case. Your first consultation with our team is free, so contact our Los Angeles law firm at (213) 995-6767 now.

How Can a Federal Crime Lawyer at the Rodriguez Law Group Help With My Federal Charges?

How Can The Rodriguez Law Group Help With My Federal Crime Charges?Federal crime charges should be taken seriously. If you are convicted, the consequences could haunt you for the rest of your life. It may become difficult to obtain housing or employment even after you’ve already resolved the penalties levied by the criminal justice system.

When the stakes are this high, you’ll want a strong Los Angeles criminal defense attorney in your corner. If you hire The Rodriguez Law Group, our highly-experienced legal team can help by:

  • Launching an internal investigation into your case and the merits of the prosecution’s case against you
  • Keeping you apprised of your legal options as your case proceeds
  • Collecting any available exculpatory evidence
  • Negotiating with the prosecution to have your charges reduced or dropped, if possible
  • Protecting your rights and interests throughout the life of your case

To get started, reach out to us today to speak with an experienced Los Angeles federal crime lawyer.

What is a Federal Crime?

Any crime which violates a United States federal law may be considered a federal crime.

Federal crimes can be investigated by a variety of federal agencies, such as:

Federal investigations typically take months before formal charges are filed. Once federal charges are actually filed, it can be difficult for even the most skilled federal crimes attorney to “catch up” to the authorities who have spent months or years on a federal investigation.

Because of this, if federal investigators have contacted you, you should immediately call a Los Angeles federal criminal defense attorney. Even if it is not clear whether you are being considered a suspect or a witness, don’t wait to reach out because you hope it is the latter.

Early intervention by an experienced federal criminal defense attorney can sometimes prevent an indictment. Because federal resources for such investigations can be virtually unlimited, having a skilled advocate on your side from the start is crucial to your future.

What Are The Most Common Types of Federal Crimes In Los Angeles?

Our skilled federal lawyers have extensive experience successfully defending our clients against many federal crimes, including:

The Difference Between Federal Crimes vs. State Crimes

Federal Crimes vs. State CrimesThe vast majority of criminal prosecutions are for violations of state laws which are prosecuted in a state court. Crimes such as rape, burglary, robbery, theft, arson, and murder are examples of criminal violations of state laws. Congress can pass federal criminal laws that are, in theory, tied to a federal or national issue— federal tax fraud, any crime committed on federal property, or interstate contraband trafficking—for example.

Some crimes can be prosecuted under federal or state law—or both.

Some instances in which the federal government has jurisdiction over a criminal act include:

  • Criminal acts during which a defendant physically crosses state lines or when the conduct crosses state lines such as illegal Internet crimes;
  • Any criminal act occurring on federal land or involving federal officers;
  • Violations of immigration, such as international human trafficking, and
  • Customs violations such as importing child pornography.

Another difference is how the court systems are organized. The President of the United States appoints federal judges for life, while state judges are elected. State crimes are investigated by local law enforcement and prosecuted by state district attorneys, while Assistant U.S. attorneys prosecute federal crimes. Federal court cases generally take much longer to resolve than state cases.

While relatively rare, a crime can be prosecuted in both federal and state court with no violation of double jeopardy. As an example, a California state jury acquitted four LAPD officers of the Rodney King beating in 1992, and then a federal court later convicted two of those officers.

Finally, federal penalties tend to be much more severe than state penalties, particularly for drug crimes.

A Top Federal Criminal Lawyer in LA Must Understand Federal Sentencing Guidelines

Federal Sentencing GuidelinesBecause of the potentially harsh penalties associated with a conviction for a federal crime, it is particularly important that you have a Los Angeles federal crime lawyer who has a comprehensive knowledge of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Our team knows a familiarity with the federal court system, as well as an understanding of what can be asked for on behalf of our client, is crucial to a more positive outcome.

Federal Sentencing Guidelines, found under 18 U.S. Code §3553, are intended to provide federal judges with consistent sentencing ranges based on how serious the crime is as well as the individual offender’s criminal history and other important characteristics. Any federal judge who chooses to deviate from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines must be able to explain that choice.

How Can the Levels of Offenses & Criminal History Affect My Case?

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines include:

  • 43 levels of offenses
  • 6 criminal history categories.

Criminal history is based on the extent of the defendant’s criminal record and how recently other crimes were committed.

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines “table” will show a point where a specific offense level and criminal history intersect, and this will determine the range of penalties.

For example, the highest level of criminal offense is assigned the highest number. Therefore, first-degree, premeditated murder would have a base offense level of 43. This base level number will then have specific offense characteristics and adjustments subtracted from it to reach a final offense level.

Each offense carries a number of specific offense characteristics that can raise or lower the offense level. Plus there are adjustments related to the offender’s role in the offense and victim-related adjustments which will increase or decrease the offense level.

Acceptance of Responsibility

The final step to determine an offense level under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines is the offender’s acceptance of responsibility. A judge may decrease the offense by two levels if the offender truthfully admitted their role in the crime, pled guilty, or made restitution prior to a guilty verdict.

Past Criminal History

After determining the criminal offense level, the second element is the offender’s criminal record, which is assigned to one of six criminal history categories—1 for those with the least serious criminal record or a first-time offender, up to 6 for those with a significant criminal history.

As you can see, determining a federal sentence can be extremely complex and best calculated by an experienced attorney who can begin protecting your rights from the beginning to potentially minimize your sentence, have the charges dismissed entirely, or litigate a “not guilty” verdict.

What are Mandatory Minimum Sentences?

Some federal crimes are subject to mandatory minimum sentences. This means that a court must impose certain penalties when a defendant is convicted of one of these crimes. In 2020, about 25.% of all cases reported to the US Sentencing Commission were subject to a mandatory minimum punishment. Three-quarters of those crimes were drug-related.

Mandatory minimum sentences can be triggered based on:

  • Certain characteristics or elements of a crime, for example, use of a weapon or other characteristics of the victim
  • Another underlying offense, such as when a defendant faces multiple charges, one of which carries a mandatory minimum sentence or
  • The defendant’s criminal history (learn more about Three Strikes Law)

Penalties can exceed mandatory minimums and often do, but they can’t be less harsh.

Can We Request Any Adjustments to Federal Sentencing Guidelines?

Adjustments to Federal Sentencing GuidelinesIf there are any aggravating—or mitigating—circumstances that might not have been taken into consideration by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, a federal judge is allowed to impose a sentence that is above or below the guideline range.

The reasons for such a departure, however, must be stated by the judge in writing, and can be appealed by the offender (for an upward departure) or by the government (for a downward departure).

An offender who has provided assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another offender may qualify for a “substantial assistance” downward departure from the sentence determined under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The sentencing classification of offenses is found under 18 U.S. Code §3559.

The Right to a Trial by Jury and Criminal Detention Hearings

Other Issues Associated with a Federal CrimeOffenders charged with a federal crime have the right to trial by an impartial jury. This is an important issue you will want to discuss with your federal crime lawyer. As your attorney knows, a jury can often make or break a case.

Jurors can have a wide array of life experiences. However, in some instances, a particular group could be over or under-represented in a jury pool, offering many potential challenges.

Another issue to discuss with your lawyer is your criminal detention hearing. If you have been charged with:

  • A drug crime carrying a potential sentence of one or more years,
  • Any offense that has a potential sentence of life in prison or death,
  • Any offense that involved a violent crime

or if the U.S. state attorney feels there is a flight risk, you can request a criminal detention hearing. A detention request must be made at your initial appearance, and then a hearing will be held 3-5 days later.

There are four factors a federal judge will look at when determining whether you will be released while your case is pending:

  • The evidence against you;
  • The nature and circumstances of the alleged offense;
  • Your criminal history, character, employment, financial resources, physical and mental condition, length of time you have resided in the community, family ties, history of drug or alcohol abuse and record of appearance at court proceedings, and
  • The potential for danger to any person or the community if you were released.

The stakes are high when you’re charged with a criminal offense. Don’t try to defend yourself against these serious accusations. Trust our criminal court federal lawyers to help you work toward the best result for your particular case.

How Do California Federal Courts Differ From State Courts?

How Do California Federal Courts Differ From State Courts?There are a number of similarities and differences between federal courts and state courts in California that are worth highlighting here.

First, they are structured similarly. At the state level, there are Trial Courts (Superior Courts), Courts of Appeal, and the California Supreme Court. Meanwhile, at the federal level, there are Trial Courts (U.S. District Courts), U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

State court cases are prosecuted by District Attorneys (such as Los Angeles District Attorneys), and federal court cases are prosecuted by U.S. Attorneys within the Department of Justice.

There are many more state courts in California than there are federal courts. There are four federal District Courts and one federal Court of Appeals, while there are 58 state Superior Courts and six state Courts of Appeals. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is located in Washington, DC, while the California Supreme Court holds regular sessions in various cities throughout the state, including Los Angeles.

Federal courts can only hear a limited set of issues. Federal courts can hear two broad categories of cases: federal question jurisdiction and diversity jurisdiction. Federal question jurisdiction comes into play when the case regards either the federal government, the US Constitution, or federal laws. Diversity jurisdiction cases involve parties from different states or countries.

For more information regarding the differences between federal and state courts in California, reach out to The Rodriguez Law Group or visit this state webpage.

What Can I Expect During a Federal Arrest and the Prosecution Process in California?

The federal arrest and prosecution process is similar to the California state arrest and prosecution process. The steps in the process will look something like this, although they will vary depending on the facts and circumstances involved in your specific situation:

  • Investigation
  • Arrest
  • Arraignment
  • Discovery
  • Plea Bargaining
  • Preliminary Hearings
  • Pretrial Motions
  • Trial
  • Post-Trial Motions
  • Sentencing
  • Appeal

These are largely the same steps that take place during the state prosecution process. There are differences throughout regarding certain details, however. For one, federal law will apply instead of state law for things like sentencing guidelines. As another example, the arrest may be handled by federal law enforcement instead of the appropriate local police department.

When you hire the Los Angeles federal criminal defense attorneys with The Rodriguez Law Group, we’ll represent your interests throughout every step of your case. We will also keep you informed of your legal options so that you won’t be caught off-guard by the proceedings. Call today to schedule a free consultation.

Call a Los Angeles Federal Criminal Defense Attorney at the Rodriguez Law Group Today

If you have been charged with a federal crime, or you suspect you may be charged with a federal crime, time is of the essence. Federal criminal charges can be the most serious in the United States, and you need a federal crimes attorney who is capable of dealing with such aggressive opponents.

Our federal crime lawyers will protect your constitutional rights every step of the way. For example, we’ll ensure all requirements are fully met if there is a search of your property or business.

In the case of white-collar federal crimes, we may be able to obtain a pre-indictment settlement that allows you to pay restitution and potentially avoid incarceration. Legal experience is key in federal criminal cases, and you need a top federal criminal lawyer in LA who understands what is at stake. With highly individualized attention to your case, you can count on Rodriguez Law Group’s aggressive legal representation and tireless attention to your rights and your freedom.

Contact our skilled team by calling (213) 995-6767 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation today.

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