Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Greg Colavecchia, Esq.
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Rochester Federal Crimes Lawyer

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Federal offenses include any crime that has been determined to be illegal by the United States federal government. Many of these crimes are outlined in Title 18 and Title 26 of the United States Code, some in Title 26, and all federal crimes hold potential for immense penalties. A variety of different actions can be considered federal crimes. If you are arrested or under investigation, it is important that you immediately contact a Rochester criminal defense lawyer from King Law. By retaining an understanding attorney, you may be able to obtain a favorable outcome for your case.

Federal Versus State Charges: What You Should Know

When you are facing criminal charges in Rochester or elsewhere in upstate New York, it is critical to understand whether you are facing state or federal charges and what those charges mean for your case. In many situations, a person can face both federal and state charges for the same act, in which case it will be necessary to build a defense strategy based on the specific state and federal charges. When you have been arrested for or charged with a state or federal offense, an experienced and aggressive Rochester criminal defense attorney at our firm can work with you to tailor a defense strategy to the specific facts of your case. In the meantime, we want to tell you more about the differences between federal and state criminal charges.

Federal Charges Are Usually Brought in Specific Circumstances

When should you anticipate that you will be facing federal charges instead of state charges? There are a number of circumstances in which a person can face federal charges. Examples of those scenarios include the following:

  • Federal agency conducted the investigation, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI);
  • Alleged crime occurred on federal property, such as a public park or in a federal building such as a federal courthouse; or
  • Alleged crime involved crossing state lines in some capacity, either through the physical crossing of state lines by the defendant or engaging in acts of interstate commerce (such as by using the U.S. mail or the internet).

If you are not sure whether you are facing federal or state charges, it is critical to seek advice from a Rochester defense lawyer as soon as possible so that you can begin preparing appropriately for your case.

Federal and State Cases Are Heard in Different Courts

You should also know that federal and state charges are heard in different courts. If you are facing charges for drug trafficking under federal law, for example, your case will be heard in a different court than if you are facing drug charges under New York law.

Convictions for Federal Charges Tend to Be More Severe Than State Crime Convictions

Generally speaking, penalties upon conviction for federal offenses tend to be more severe than penalties upon conviction for state offenses. This is true even for white-collar crimes that have no obvious element of violence. Indeed, many federal offenses come with lengthy mandatory prison sentences and monetary fines in the millions. State offenses can also result in severe penalties, however, including extended prison terms and monetary fines.

You Can Face Both Federal and State Charges for an Alleged Offense

Under the doctrine of dual sovereignty, you may be prosecuted for the same offense in state and federal court. To be clear, the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment does not protect against prosecution in both a state court and a federal court.

Work With Our Rochester Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you need assistance with your defense, our Rochester criminal defense lawyers can assist you with both state and federal charges in New York. Contact King Law today for help with your case.

Commonly Charged Federal Offenses

Unlike other types of crimes that are investigated by local officials, federal crimes are investigated by federal officers. A federal investigation may delve into private aspects of your life and could be extremely invasive. You may find yourself subjected to questioning from governmental agencies such as the IRS, DEA, FBI, Secret Service, or ICE.

There are multiple types of federal crimes, but some of the most commonly charged offenses include:

Tax evasion

Mail tampering

Terrorist crimes

Immigration crimes

Internet crimes


Bank robberies

Some forms of theft

Counterfeiting of currency

Certain drug crimes, including drug conspiracy charges

Child pornography

The moment you discover that you are under investigation or you are placed under arrest, it is vital that you contact King Law right away. With the assistance of an aggressive attorney from the firm, you may be able to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

Receive Dedicated Legal Counsel In Rochester

Are you ready to move forward with your defense? Now is the time to act! Federal crimes are very serious, and federal prosecutors do everything in their power to convict accused individuals of charges. At King Law, the firm stays up to date on federal laws and is knowledgeable of the federal criminal process. With the representation of King Law, you may be able to have your charges reduced or you may be acquitted.

Contact the defense firm today and speak with a Rochester federal crime lawyer by completing a free case evaluation now!