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Federal Charges

While many criminal cases in the United States are prosecuted under state or local laws, certain crimes may be classified as federal offenses. For example, the federal government has jurisdiction over alleged crimes on federal property, criminal acts that cross state lines, and U.S. Customs violations.

While federal crimes can be offenses that do not fall under state or local law, there are other times when criminal activity violates both state and federal levels and it is decided on a case-by-case basis whether to prosecute in state or federal court. In general, federal offenses are more serious than crimes prosecuted in state courts, and the agencies enforcing federal laws have more resources than state or local agencies.

Gainesville Federal Charges Lawyer

The skilled defense attorneys at Galigani Law Firm are licensed in U.S. District Courts for the Northern District of Florida, including Gainesville, Panama City, Pensacola, and Tallahassee. Our firm represents clients in Gainesville as well as such surrounding areas as Alachua, Lake City, and Ocala.

If you are facing federal criminal charges the Northern District of Florida, it is extremely important for you to have experienced legal representation. Contact Galigani Law Firm at (352) 375-0812 or send us a message online to set up a free initial consultation where our Gainesville criminal defense lawyers can review your case.

Alachua County Federal Charges Information Center

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State Law vs. Federal Law in Florida

Many alleged crimes in Gainesville are in regards to violations of state law. In these cases, local police or the Florida Highway Patrol arrest the suspect, and that case is prosecuted by the Alachua County's State Attorney in state court.

However, violations of federal law are investigated by certain agents of the U.S. government, depending on the nature of the crime. Some of these agencies can include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District prosecutes these cases in federal court.

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Types of Charges Under U.S. Code

The criminal and penal code of the federal government is Title 18 of the United States Code, and it lists more than 100 chapters of crimes. Some of the most commonly prosecuted federal crimes include:

  • Bulk cash trafficking or smuggling
  • Child pornography
  • Conspiracy
  • Drug charges, primarily for trafficking
  • Firearm and other weapons offenses
  • Fraud, such as mail fraud, wire fraud, Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud, mortgage fraud, and bank fraud
  • Immigration offenses
  • Larceny
  • Money laundering
  • Racketeering or violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)
  • Trafficking in endangered animals or endangered animal products
  • Weapons trafficking

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Penalties for Federal Convictions in Florida’s Northern District

There are certain aspects of a federal criminal case that factor into federal sentencing guidelines but would have no bearing in a state court. It is critical to work with a knowledgeable Gainesville federal charges lawyer who can determine if the guidelines that apply to your case are advisory or if you may be at risk of facing minimum mandatory sentencing ("mandatory minimums") or other federal sentencing enhancements.

Certain cases carry mandatory minimums, regardless of the alleged offender's criminal past or any factors that would otherwise give the judge reason for reducing a sentence. There are a variety of cases that are subject to mandatory minimums, including piracy, child pornography charges, or possession of drugs over a certain amount.

Additionally, prior convictions can trigger one or more of the following sentencing enhancements in federal court:

  • Armed Career Criminal — The Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984 (ACCA) created sentence enhancements for felons who are convicted three or more times for a violent felony or a serious drug offense, or both, which were committed on different occasions.
  • Career Offender — Applies if the alleged offender is at least 18 years old at the time of the offense, the offense is a violent crime or controlled substance offense, and the alleged offender has at least two prior convictions for either a violent crime or controlled substance offense.
  • Statutory Drug Enhancements — Applies if the alleged offender has a prior conviction and is accused of manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense a controlled substance.
  • Three Strikes Legislation — This applies in serious felony cases if the offender has two or more prior serious violent felony convictions, or a combination of one or more prior serious violent felony convictions and one or more prior serious drug offense convictions.

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Substantial Assistance in U.S. Attorney Prosecution

There are two ways in which cooperation with the U.S. Attorney prosecuting your case can result in reduced sentencing. One is referred to as a "safety valve," in which you provide the prosecution with the names of individuals who helped you. The other is called "substantial assistance," in which you provide the names of individuals who have committed other crimes.

If the information you provide is new, timely, and credible, it could lead to a dramatically lesser sentence. However, it is especially crucial to consult a criminal defense lawyer in these instances. If the information you provide is later found to not be helpful or the case it is used for falls apart, you could simultaneously go on the record with evidence against yourself and also lose your chance for a reduced sentence.

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Federal Courthouses in Northern Florida

There are four federal courthouses in the Northern District of Florida:

United States Courthouse
401 SE 1st Ave #243
Gainesville, FL 32601

United States Courthouse
30 W Government St
Panama City, Florida 32401

United States Courthouse
One N Palafox St
Pensacola, Florida 32502

United States Courthouse
111 N Adams St
Tallahassee, Florida 32301-7730

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Galigani Law Firm | A Federal Charges Lawyer in Gainesville

You will need an established criminal defense attorney who fully understands federal offenses and can provide you with the best chance at securing the most favorable outcome to your case. Galigani Law Firm represents clients accused of federal crimes in Alachua County, Columbia County, Gilchrist County, Levy County, and Marion County.

We will provide you with an honest, thorough evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation. Contact Galigani Law Firm today at (352) 375-0812 or send us a message online to let our federal defense lawyers protect your rights.