A federal crime is one that is charged by the United States Government, also known as the Federal Government. In the United States, there are state laws (such as the laws of the state of New Jersey) and federal laws (the laws of the United States of America). If charged with a federal crime in New Jersey, the case will not be heard in New Jersey criminal court. Instead, it is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government and will be heard in one of New Jersey’s federal courts where federal law holds sway over state law.
Being charged with a federal crime can have very serious ramifications to one’s life and must be treated with the utmost concern. The three U.S. District Courts for the District of New Jersey are situated in the cities of Camden, Trenton and Newark. They operate differently than New Jersey state courts and work under the rules of the U.S. Government.
Federal Crimes Vary
There are numerous federal charges under which a person can be indicted. They can include criminal charges, drug charges, driving under the influence on federal property or other traffic infractions. Some of the offenses such as DUI or DWI on federal property may sound serious, but they’re not as damaging as accusations of being involved in extended conspiracies or criminal enterprises such as drug dealing, weapons, money laundering and various types of fraud.
Federal charges violate the laws of the United States and can include drug charges such as the trafficking of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), smuggling and the importing of these drugs. A person can be charged in federal court with violating immigration laws such as entering the United States illegally or other infractions having to do with violating federal immigration statutes. Other examples of federal crimes heard by the U.S. District Courts include fraud, carrying a concealed weapon or selling guns, assault on a federal officer, campaign finance violations, bribing a public official and conspiracies.
The Federal Court Process
Unlike New Jersey state law, the filing of federal charges is not done by a prosecutor. The United States Attorney’s Office will present the case to a grand jury for these citizens to decide whether or not to indict. The amount of time it takes for a grand jury to come to this decision can vary.
When issued a summons to testify before a grand jury by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), or by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), you are not required to incriminate yourself in testimony. This is why it’s imperative that you have qualified legal advice to prevent you or a loved one from saying something you shouldn’t say and bolster the Government’s case by making statements that didn’t need to be made.
Make Sure to Have Qualified Legal Representation in Federal Court
The law firm of Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey is experienced in cases involving federal charges and can help you. It is frightening and intimidating enough to be charged with a crime, but when that crime is coming from the United States Government rather than New Jersey, the circumstances can be overwhelming. In many instances, the U.S. Attorney will put forth a litany of charges against an individual in the hopes that lesser charges will be more palatable to the grand jury. This is why you need lawyers who know the process backwards and forwards and are able, in many cases, to work with the government to possibly have the charges reduced or even dismissed.
Protect yourself with legal advice and contact Villani & DeLuca to talk about your case today. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Villani & DeLuca frequently represent clients in Ocean County and Monmouth County, New Jersey, including towns such as Brick, Toms River, Manasquan, Jackson, Lakewood and Brielle.