The expression “Don’t make a federal case out of it” is understood to mean, “it’s not a big deal.” If you have an actual federal case against you, however, you have a new understanding of the expression, because being charged with a federal crime is a very big deal, indeed.
In recent year the overlap between state and federal crimes has grown. It is possible for an individual to be charged in state court, in federal court, or even in both under certain circumstances.
What’s Special About Federal Crimes
Why are federal crimes are so serious? There are a couple of reasons:
- Penalty: Offenses for which one can be charged under both state and federal law typically carry a heavier penalty under federal law. For instance, conviction of trafficking 50 grams of methamphetamine in Massachusetts could result in a sentence of five to twenty years in prison. If the same offense were prosecuted as a federal crime, the penalty would be at least ten years and up to life in prison for a first offense, and at least twenty years and up to life in prison for a second offense.
- Likelihood of Conviction: The likelihood of conviction is, quite simply, greater in federal cases. The FBI typically does not pursue an indictment against someone unless it feels there is a strong case against the defendant. They don’t charge people with crimes just to make their lives difficult. If you have been indicted of a federal crime, you can be sure that it’s because the federal government is confident that it can convict you.
- Mandatory Minimums: Many federal crimes carry sentences of mandatory prison time, and most of those carry mandatory minimum sentences. Parole is also less likely than it is in the state prison system
Commonly Prosecuted Federal Crimes
Boston Federal crimes attorney Henry Fasoldt defends clients against some of the most commonly prosecuted federal crimes in Massachusetts, including charges of:
Serious Defense for Serious Crimes
If you’ve been charged with a federal crime in Massachusetts, you need to have an attorney who is experienced in federal criminal defense and familiar with federal courts throughout the state. Contact our office without delay to learn how we can help you.