Federal Criminal Law
At McLemore, Reddell & Story, P.L.L.C., our criminal defense attorneys are licensed to practice in the Texas Southern Federal District Courts from Houston to Galveston, Laredo and Brownsville, as well as the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Our lawyers help people charged with various offenses under federal criminal law, from white collar offenses to drug crimes, weapons offenses and charges of human trafficking.
Different Courts, Different Rules
Federal criminal law has many distinctions that set it apart from state court prosecutions. For instance, federal offenses rely much more heavily on the precise language of the statute than on common law principles to define the offense. Also, it is quite common for federal prosecutors to charge a person with conspiracy, even when they do not have the evidence to prove the underlying offense.
Many federal offenses, such as drug trafficking, are also subject to heavier penalties if a firearm is used in commission of the crime, even if it is never discharged. Another common feature of federal criminal law is the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences for conviction of certain drugs or weapons offenses. Whether mandatory sentences are a possibility depends heavily on which charges are filed and prosecuted.
Some of the major areas of federal criminal law we commonly practice in include:
- White Collar – tax fraud, tax evasion, failure to file tax return, bribery, perjury, mail fraud, forgery, pyramid or Ponzi schemes
- Drugs – drug trafficking, manufacture, cultivation, distribution, possession with intent, violations of the United States Controlled Substances Act
- Weapons – unlawful use, unlawful sale or transfer, unlawful possession, gunrunning
- Human Trafficking – the desire to bring family members into the country may sometimes run afoul of U.S. immigration laws, such as human smuggling, defined by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as “the importation of people into a country via the deliberate evasion of immigration laws.”
Lying to a Federal Agent
In federal criminal law, perhaps no offense is as ripe for prosecutorial misuse and abuse as 18 U.S.C. 1001, a federal statute making it a crime to knowingly and willfully make any materially false statement to a federal agent or in relation to any matter under the jurisdiction of federal law. Under this broad law, you can be fined and imprisoned up to five or eight years. It doesn’t matter if the statement is related to any suspected offense, or even if the statement is made to a government official. It could be a false statement to an employer or bank loan officer made without any criminal intent that is somehow later involved in a criminal investigation.
This law places tremendous power in the hands of federal agents, who could maneuver you into making a false statement and then use the threat of prosecution to make you cooperate in an investigation.
How do you avoid being tripped up by this law? Refuse to be interviewed in the first place. Invoke your right to an attorney. This is one of your fundamental rights in the field of criminal law, and it should be jealously guarded and vigorously enforced.
Seek Experienced Legal Representation
If you are being investigated by federal agents, or if you have been arrested for any violation of federal criminal law, contact David Reddell at McLemore, Reddell & Story, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney.