Federal charges are a serious matter, carrying the potential of excessive fines, jail time, loss of licenses and permanent reputational damage. If you are under investigation by a federal agency or if you are facing official charges, you need a criminal lawyer with federal experience.
Our firm has spent many years defending clients from all walks of life in federal court. We have handled criminal cases brought by the DOJ, SEC, and U.S. attorneys’ offices. In addition, we have successfully navigated internal investigations involving financial crimes, price fixing, attempted murder, Ponzi schemes, money laundering, securities violations, so-called crime cartels involving alleged insurance fraud organizations, gambling rings and conspiracies nationwide.
Our criminal defense attorneys have over fifteen years of combined experience working on the prosecution side, providing us with insider knowledge of how the prosecution thinks and great comfort going toe to toe with federal prosecutors in the courtroom.
If you are facing federal charges, we offer risk-free consultations at no cost. Our confidential conversation will offer you the guidance you need to navigate this challenging time.
When Do Federal Charges Arise?
Our clients generally want to understand the difference between federal and state charges, and to know whether they might face charges in both court systems.
Federal charges arise in a number of scenarios. Sometimes the case is a type that can only be heard in federal court. In other scenarios, the federal court does not have to hear the case, but they have the option to.
Examples include cases in which the United States is a party, cases involving violations of the Constitution or federal laws, as well as bankruptcy, copyright, patent, and maritime law cases.
The following chart summarizes common examples of where federal charges may arise:
|Crimes committed on federal land||A drug deal taking place in a federal park.|
|Crimes involving federal officers||The murder of an FBI agent|
|Crimes in which the defendant crosses state lines.||The defendant drives a stolen vehicle cross country.|
|Crimes in which the conduct crosses state lines.||A fraudster solicits investments from victims in multiple states.|
|Immigrations and customs violations||The defendant smuggles drugs from another country.|
One of the most common questions asked by our clients is whether they can be tried in both federal and state court for the same crime, and the answer is yes. Although the Constitution prohibits double jeopardy, that only means that the same case cannot be tried against the same defendant in the same court.
Because of the concept of dual sovereignty, federal and state courts are considered different courts. Thus there is no legal restriction on the government’s ability to charge a defendant with the same crime in one court system after he has been charged in another. However, the Department of Justice discourages prosecutors from doing so.
While it is rare that you would face charges in both federal and state court, the possibility illuminates one of many reasons why competent criminal defense is critical to your freedom.
What Makes Federal Charges Different
Convictions under federal law generally come with harsher penalties than those which arise under state law. However, the differences are not limited to the end result. Defending yourself against federal charges is a greater challenge at every stage of the game.
The first difference is that federal charges often arise following an investigation by a federal agency, such as the SEC or the FBI. At the state level, prosecutors generally first learn of a crime after local law enforcement has made an arrest. By contrast, at the federal level prosecutors often collaborate with federal agencies on investigatory efforts long before a suspect is taken into custody.
This is significant because it gives federal prosecutors more of an investment in your case. This investment generally carries through the entirety of the criminal proceedings.
There are other reasons why federal prosecutors tend to have a greater investment than state prosecutors. One is that federal prosecutors take on a smaller caseload. This means that they have more time to develop each case, and more incentive to carry a case through trial.
It is not only prosecutors who have more time to devote to cases in federal court. Federal judges are similarly more invested than state judges. Whereas a single day for a state level judge often involves hearing multiple cases, in federal court, your case is often the only one scheduled for that day. The result is that both prosecutors and judges are more attentive to the facts, and the details carry more weight.
The jury selection also differs in federal court. While a jury in a state case is generally limited to residents within the particular county, federal cases tend to involve jurors from multiple counties.
This is significant because many criminal attorneys accustomed to practicing locally develop a familiarity with the general characteristics of local jurors, and tailor their lawyering style accordingly. Often, this tailored approach to a location-specific jury fails to translate in a federal setting.
Finally, federal charges differ from state charges in that sentencing tends to be far more severe. The US Sentencing Guidelines are laid out in a complex, multi-volume treatise that requires experience and expertise to successfully navigate.
Working the Differences to Your Advantage
As the above section demonstrates, federal charges are generally more serious than state charges. The efforts to reach conviction are greater, the level of attention is higher, and the potential penalties are far more severe.
However, it is our experience is that these differences can be strategically used to your advantage by the right criminal defense attorney. Our firm has had great success defending clients against federal charges because our structure and philosophy lend themselves optimally to the federal court system.
Here are just a few of the many reasons why we have so much success in defending our clients in federal court:
Our Boutique Structure
Our firm is deliberately small in size, allowing us the selectivity to choose the cases we believe in and thus to devote all of our resources to each client. As our managing partner Ryan Blanch puts it:
“All of our clients are in the fight of their lives. Whether the charges are large or small, the potential impact on their futures is enormous. That makes all of our clients ‘high profile.”
So while federal prosecutors have a smaller caseload than state prosecutors, and thus more time to spend on each case, our boutique structure affords us the opportunity to defend each of our clients with the same level of attentiveness and presence.
Our Collective Intelligence
The foundation of our firm is four criminal defense attorneys hailing from diverse backgrounds. We each possess unique skill-sets and individual perspectives. Our team was assembled deliberately, as every member provides a necessary ingredient to the representation we are known for.
Federal prosecutors are similarly backed by the intelligence of governmental agencies. The collaborative approach of our firm is intentionally designed to match this prosecutorial power.
In addition, we have the edge of an office staffed with paralegals, secretaries, and legal assistants trained to represent our standards of vigilant counsel and personalized service throughout every stage of your case. Because our entire team remains intimately aware of how your case is unfolding, no detail gets overlooked in your defense.
Our Effort-Centric Approach
We believe that the common defense strategy of relying on connections, waiting games, and other shortcuts is insufficient in state court. But this is even truer in federal court. Criminal defendants are faced with the potential of life derailing consequences that cannot be undone, and the gravity of their situations should never be handled lightly.
Our criminal defense attorneys will always pull out all the stops to defend your freedom. But our approach will never sacrifice the diligent effort we believe every criminal case demands. While we utilize our connections and employ every strategy we can, we believe there is no substitute for doing the homework, and we take pride in the fact that our firm’s success rests on this legacy.
Our winning strategy involves working your case as if it is going to trial, so that we are in the position to identify weaknesses to prosecutors, demonstrate our commitment to your defense, and to illuminate the degree to which whatever mistakes you made fail to define your character.
While the heightened vigilance characteristic of federal prosecutors may pose a challenge to some criminal defense firms, our attorneys thrive under this type of scrutiny. Our comprehensive approach to handling cases is reflected in every conversation, during every court appearance, and through every detail at trial.
Federal prosecutors recognize our reputation for persistence and attentiveness, and this respect is reflected in our history of negotiating favorable plea deals, obtaining dismissals, and reaching acquittals of federal charges.
Our Legal Experience
One characteristic shared by all of our criminal defense attorneys is a deep-running passion for the law. From the firm grounding instilled by our educations at top law schools to our fervent interest in the latest legal news, our belief in justice and our desire to understand how the law works is what motivated each of us to the positions we hold today.
However, we are led by more than passion. Our criminal defense attorneys believe it is our duty to maintain up to date knowledge of every legal detail affecting our clients’ rights. Our fluency in navigating the applicable federal statutes and ever-evolving judicial precedents allow us to remain fully aware of every opportunity your case presents. You can trust that we remain eternally ready to use the law to your advantage.
Our Federal History
The criminal attorneys comprising our team have spent their careers flexing the legal musculature required to stand up to federal charges. We are well acquainted with every aspect of the federal court system, from the more rigorous judges and prosecutors to the more unpredictable juries.
If you are faced with federal charges, you need a highly qualified criminal defense attorney who can understand how the relevant players think, and craft a defense strategy that speaks to them. Our foursome is up to the task.
Our firm has been honored to represent a large number of clients facing a wide variety of federal charges. Although many of our clients have engaged in criminal behavior, the vast majority were good people who fell down the wrong path. We have witnessed what a sobering experience it is to be held criminally accountable, and we have worked tirelessly to protect our clients from spending the rest of their lives paying for past mistakes.
Where our clients have been wrongly accused, we have successfully obtained dismissals of their cases and acquittals at trial. However, where the evidence of guilt was irrefutable, our efforts have been focusing on making a bad situation better.
In some cases, our efforts to illuminate weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, and the redeeming circumstances of our client, have resulted in dropped charges. Below are just a few examples:
- Our client faced a potential 25 years in federal prison after making false statements to obtain a passport–the government declined to prosecute.
- Accused of conspiracy in connection with human trafficking, the government declined to prosecute.
However, an unfortunate reality of the criminal justice system is that sometimes, even the best lawyer in the world cannot shield you from a penalty. Where dismissal cannot be obtained, the next best option is to focus on reducing the penalties our clients face as drastically as possible. Below are just a few examples of our successes in this arena:
- From forty years in federal prison in connection with a money laundering scheme to one year in jail.
- No jail time for drug trafficking and money laundering charges.
- Despite being caught on tape admitting to a crime carrying a ten-year mandatory federal prison sentence, our client received a mere 6 months in a halfway house.
- A second-time credit card fraud offender facing a 2-year mandatory minimum sentence received no jail time.
- A major narcotics case with multiple defendants resulted in no jail time.
Ultimately, the results of your case will depend on your specific facts and circumstances. While certain inevitabilities cannot be avoided, our goal is always to get you the best outcome possible.
Our firm has been the proud recipient of a number of professional honors. We are listed as one of the top 100 Trial Attorneys in the nation. Selectivity in membership is determined according to peer nominations, third-party research, and the demonstration of superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature, and public profile.
We have also received Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent rating of 5.0 of 5.0 stars, based on peer recognition that our firm meets the highest standards of professional excellence.
In addition, our Avvo rating of 10.0 out of 10.0 is based on the rating agency’s assessment of our qualifications, experience, professional achievements, as well as our impeccable disciplinary record. Avvo has additionally bestowed the Blanch Law Firm with the Client’s Choice Award in Criminal Defense.
Our Managing Partner, Ryan Blanch, has individually achieved a number of professional recognitions, including the “Rising Star” distinction by Super Lawyers Magazine. The Super Lawyers selection process has been recognized by bar associations and courts throughout the country, and has been described the Special Master as a “comprehensive, good-faith and detailed attempt to produce a list of lawyers that have attained high peer recognition, met ethical standards, and have demonstrated some degree of achievement in their field.”
Ryan has additionally been named a Top Attorney by the American Registry of Business Excellence.
Contact Our Firm
Due to our long history of defending clients in federal court, we understand how terrifying it is to face federal charges. That is why it is so important for us to communicate to our clients that when you retain our firm, you are not alone. We take you on as a member of the family and fight for you accordingly.
We know that so much of our work as criminal attorneys is about supporting our clients through the most difficult period of their lives. We honor the responsibility you entrust us with by remaining fully available to answer your questions, address your concerns, and handle your challenges.
If you are facing federal charges, or if you are concerned about your conduct, please do not hesitate to contact us for a risk-free consultation. We have a legal duty to zealously represent you, as well as to keep our communications with you 100% confidential. Accordingly, when you seek our guidance, you can trust that you receiving the experienced, knowledgeable counsel of a firm who is entirely on your side.
Remember that whatever decisions have led you to your current position, your power lies in how you choose to handle this moment. We hope we have the opportunity to assist you.
Our Federal Practice Areas
Federal Enterprise Corruption
Federal Healthcare and Insurance Fraud
Federal Investment Fraud
Federal Mail Fraud
Federal Money Laundering
Federal Wire Fraud
Federal Government Investigations
All Federal Misdemeanors & Federal Felonies including: