Criminal Defense for Federal Crimes in Massachusetts
Serving Greater Boston, Essex, Middlesex, & Suffolk Counties
Federal crimes are violations of laws that are passed by the United States Congress. A federal crime is also any crime that takes place on federal property. Federal property includes courthouses, airports, designated parks, and government owned buildings. All federal crimes are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Once a person is charged with a federal crime, he/she will be prosecuted by a US Attorney. Use the experienced lawyers at Mark C. Thomas law firm to assist your with your case.
Frequently Committed Federal Crimes
- Federal DUI
- White collar crimes
- Drug trafficking
- Internet fraud
- Internet pornography
- Terrorist threats
- Bank robbery
- Drug smuggling
- Mail fraud
- Bribery of public officials
- Interstate crime
More Information on Federal CrimeUnder the existing Federal Criminal Code, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the federal criminal legal process has become very complex with penalties that are extremely severe.
The Federal Government and its law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, ATF, Secret Service, Postal Inspectors, IRS, Customs, ICE., US Marshals and many others, have broad prosecutorial and investigatory powers.
Federal crimes are enacted by Congress and typically fall under 1 of 2 categories: either a crime that crosses state lines, or a crime that occurs on U.S. federal property or against a U.S. federal agent. There are federal laws and regulations dealing with federal property, federal matters, and federal taxes, as well as many areas of modern society, including interstate commerce. The federal crime system is of a highly specialized nature, and requires a federal criminal defense attorney experienced in all stages of a federal criminal prosecution, including arrest, arraignment, bond, pre-trial motions and discovery, entering a plea, going to trial, and sentencing. The attorneys at The Federal Law Group specialize in the field of Federal Criminal Defense, and can use their experience to get you the best results possible.
Federal crime sentencing is determined by two things: (1) the statute of conviction, which sets the maximum penalty in the form of a fine or imprisonment; and (2) the federal sentencing guidelines. The federal sentencing guidelines are a series of sentencing rules established by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The guidelines are set up on a scoring basis, and take into account the nature of the offense and aggravating and mitigating factors of the crime. This "score" results in the offense level.
The appropriate sentencing guidelines range is determined on a grid system known as the sentencing table. The vertical axis is comprised of the offense level; the horizontal axis is comprised of 6 criminal history categories. Each grid contains a range of custodial time (in months) which the judge is authorized to impose. The grid is also divided into 4 zones: Zone A is straight probation, Zone B is a combination of house arrest and probation, Zone C is a combination of prison time and house arrest, and Zone D is straight prison time.
Each federal crime has an assigned point value. This value can be adjusted upwards or downwards based upon certain characteristics of the offense, the defendant's behavior, the victim's role and relationship to the defendant, whether the defendant played aggravating or mitigating role in the offense, and whether the defendant accepted responsibility by entering a plea.
Once the court has calculated the defendant's offense level and his/her criminal history category, a presumptive sentence range is determined. At that point, the judge is authorized to depart upwards or downwards from the presumptive range if there are circumstances about the defendant or the crime that were not adequately considered by the guidelines. This decision whether or not to depart is subject to the court's discretion and typically cannot be reviewed on appeal, although the actual calculation for the presumptive guidelines range can be appealed.
A defendant's criminal history category is based upon the nature of his/her prior convictions. Some convictions count more than others, and some do not count at all based upon either the person's age or the nature of the offense. Points can be added if the defendant was on probation or parole when he/she committed the offense conduct, or if he/she was recently released from custody when the offense was committed. The length of custody greatly increases along with the criminal history category.
Once the defendant's sentence has been announced, the defendant is either taken into custody by the Marshals, or allowed to voluntarily surrender at their custodial institution on a certain date. There is no parole in the federal system, but if a person behaves well in custody, he or she can receive 15% credit for every year he/she is to serve. That means that a person will typically end up serving 85% of his/her sentence. If the defendant is a citizen, he/she will spend the last 6 months of the sentence in a halfway house to transition back into society. If the defendant is a citizen of another country, he/she will be deported once their prison term is completed.
Generally, a defendant is placed on a period of supervised release after his/her release from prison, as determined by the sentencing judge. Supervised release is similar to probation, and if the defendant violates the terms (including committing a new offense), he/she can be returned to prison for up to the maximum of the term of supervised release.