Types of Federal Charges
If you or a loved one have been charged with a federal crime, it is crucial to get a defense lawyer right away. Figuring out the different classes of offense with which one might be charged can be a daunting prospect. Your criminal defense attorney can help you understand what all the different classifications mean as well as which class of penalty you may be facing. Your lawyer will also help you navigate police interviews and guide you through the trial process.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor
What exactly is a misdemeanor? A misdemeanor is a lesser crime than a felony. In the federal system, misdemeanors result in less than a year of prison time and no more than $100,000 in fines.
If someone is charged with a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the case, the judge may elect to put the defendant on probation as opposed to sending them to prison. The judge may choose any amount of probation from one year to five years.
There are fewer crimes classified as misdemeanors at the federal level than at the state level. Examples of federal misdemeanors include:
- Hunting or fishing on wildlife refuges/national parks
- Importation of illegal animals
- Threatening the family of a public official
- Failure to pay child support
- Voter intimidation
- Desecration of the U.S. flag
- Mailing threatening communications
- Transportation of alcohol into a dry area
- Newspaper theft
- Failure to report child abuse
Federal misdemeanors are categorized into three different classes – A, B, and C. Each crime classified as a misdemeanor will be categorized as one of these three different classes. Each class comes with a different possible penalty level.
|Class||Maximum Prison Term||Maximum Fine||Maximum Probation Time|
|A||1 Year||$100,000||5 Years|
|B||6 Months||$5,000||5 Years|
|C||30 Days||$5,000||5 Years|
What is a felony? A felony is the most serious type of crime with which one can be charged. Prison time can range from one year to life depending on the severity of the crime. Fines can go up to $250,000 as well. Felonies also guarantee at least one year in federal prison.
There are many recognizable crimes categorized as felonies in the federal system. Common examples include:
- Sex Abuse
- Child Pornography
Federal felonies are divided into five different classes – A, B, C, D, and E. Each class comes with a different potential penalty level.
|Class||Maximum Prison Term||Maximum Fine|
|B||25 or More Years||$250,000|
Specific federal sentences are determined by an agency called the United States Sentencing Commission. A full article describing how to determine the possible sentence for a variety of crimes is found here. (Link to the Federal Felony Sentencing Guidelines article.)
What should I do if I’ve been charged with a federal crime?
If you or a loved one have been charged with a federal crime, it would be best if you found an excellent law team with many years of experience in defense of federal crimes. At Twibell Pierson Criminal Law, we have litigated and won an extensive amount of federal cases, both misdemeanors and felonies.
Your attorney’s experience with federal law will make or break your chances of being acquitted of any charge, so you need to be sure that you have a highly experienced attorney on your side. Our litigation, negotiation, and communication skills, along with our years of experience, will give you the best chance of mitigating or avoiding jail time. We will make sure that your case is our highest priority and we will not stop until we make sure that your rights have been protected.