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What You Should Know About Federal Charges

Federal criminal charges are much more severe than state-level charges, with much heavier penalties. If you are facing a federal crime, you probably have many questions about the accusations against you, the process and your future.

We can answer these for you. At Beckham Solis, Attorneys at Law, we offer high-quality counsel for a range of serious offenses. On this page, we have gotten you started by answering some of our clients’ frequently asked questions.

What qualifies as a federal crime?

When a crime breaks a law enacted by Florida’s legislature, it is a state offense. When it breaks a law enacted by the United States government, it is a federal offense.

Which federal crimes are punishable by death?

In Florida, several federal offenses qualify for the most serious punishment of all: death. Some of these crimes include:

  • Sexual battery or attempted sexual battery with injury of a child under 12
  • Trafficking in large quantities of a controlled substance
  • Espionage
  • Treason
  • Authorizing or attempting the murder of an officer, juror or witness in a court case
  • Death resulting from an aircraft hijacking
  • Homicide

If you face one or more of these offenses, your very life is at stake. It is of utmost importance to have an attorney who can defend you from capital punishment in federal court.

Are there federal crimes without a statute of limitations?

Most federal felonies have a statute of limitations of five years. After five years from the date of the crime, the federal government cannot prosecute you for it. Several charges do not have statutes of limitations, though. For instance, capital crimes and sex crimes against minors do not have any statutes of limitations.

Which federal crimes are felonies?

There are state-level felonies and federal-level felonies. Federal felonies are some of the most harshly punished crimes, even if they do not result in the death penalty. Some examples of federal felonies include:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Firearms offenses
  • Bank robbery
  • Sexual assault
  • Manslaughter
  • Fraud and other white collar crimes

If you are wondering whether the charge against you is a federal felony or are wondering why a certain offense counts as a federal felony, we can explain for you.

Where are federal crimes tried?

Federal criminal trials do not occur at most local courthouses. Instead, they go to a federal court. Florida has three federal courts:

  1. S. District Court for the Northern District
  2. S. District Court for the Middle District
  3. S. District Court for the Southern District

The jurisdiction for crimes committed in the Miami-Dade metro area is the Southern District.

Can federal crimes be prosecuted in state courts?

No. States do not have jurisdiction over federal charges. All federal crimes must go to federal court unless your attorney manages to get the charges against you reduced to a state offense.

Can federal crimes be expunged?

You can expunge certain federal crimes, but the court has limitations. If your offense resulted in a sentence of any kind, you could not expunge the charge from your record. You also cannot expunge a federal offense if you have prior convictions on your record. Keep in mind that when the court expunges an offense, it does not erase the past. It merely seals it from public eyes. Law enforcement officers and officers of the court can still see your full record.

Are federal crimes public record?

Yes. If you are arrested, charged or convicted of a federal crime, anyone who looks into your criminal record will see it. This includes employers, romantic partners, creditors, landlords and more. You must have a crime expunged – otherwise known as sealed – to remove it from public view.

Learn More From Us About Federal Charges

The law is very complex when it comes to federal crimes. You probably have more questions than the ones we answered here. To ask your questions to one of our lawyers, call or email us to schedule an initial consultation. We have the knowledge to give the answers you need. To make your consultation, call 305-564-4329 or send us an email.