Nevada Federal Criminal Lawyers
Federal crimes are prosecuted very differently than state crimes in Nevada. If you have been charged with a federal crime in Nevada, having an experienced federal criminal defense attorney on your side is crucial. This article will provide an overview of federal crimes in Nevada, typical federal charges, the federal criminal process, and how an knowledgeable lawyer can defend your rights.
Common Federal Crimes in Nevada
There are many offenses that can be charged as federal crimes in Nevada, including:
- Drug crimes like trafficking, distribution, manufacturing, and possession
- White collar crimes like wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, embezzlement
- Violent crimes that occur on federal land like murder, assault, robbery
- Firearms offenses
- Cybercrimes and computer hacking
- Immigration violations
- Bank fraud, tax evasion, identity theft
Federal agencies like the FBI, DEA, ATF, and IRS often spend months or even years investigating complex federal crimes before making arrests. The penalties for federal convictions are often much harsher than similar state charges.
The Federal Criminal Process
If you are being investigated for or charged with a federal crime in Nevada, the process will look very different from a state case:
- Investigations: Federal agencies like the FBI have broad authority to investigate suspected criminal activity. This can involve extensive surveillance, undercover operations, informants, and more.
- Charging: Federal charges are brought by federal prosecutors, not state District Attorneys. Prosecutors have wide discretion in deciding what charges to bring.
- Courts: Federal criminal cases are heard in United States District Courts, not state courts. There are federal courthouses located in Las Vegas and Reno.
- Sentencing: Federal judges use Federal Sentencing Guidelines but also have discretion in determining sentences. Federal prison sentences tend to be longer than state sentences.
- Prisons: There are no federal prisons located in Nevada. Federal sentences are served out-of-state.
Having an attorney who understands the complexities of the federal criminal justice system is paramount when facing federal charges in Nevada.
Common Federal Defenses
There are many possible defenses that can be raised in fighting federal criminal charges:
- Fourth Amendment violations: If evidence was obtained through an illegal search or seizure, it may be suppressed. This can destroy the prosecution’s case.
- Miranda rights violations: Statements made during interrogations where Miranda rights were not properly given may be suppressed.
- Entrapment: If undercover agents induced you to commit a crime you otherwise wouldn’t have, this may constitute entrapment.
- Duress: If you committed a crime under threat of harm, you may have a duress defense.
- Self-defense: Use of force may be justified if you acted in self-defense against an imminent threat.
- Mistake of fact: If you had a reasonable but mistaken belief about facts related to the crime, you may not have the requisite intent.
- Statute of limitations: Charges filed past the expiration of the statute of limitations for that crime may be dismissed.
- Insanity: In limited circumstances, mental defect can provide a complete defense to criminal liability.
A skilled federal criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly analyze every possible defense and argue those most applicable to your case. Having an experienced attorney who knows how to effectively argue federal defenses can lead to charges being dismissed or acquittal after trial.
Federal Sentencing in Nevada
Sentencing for federal crimes in Nevada can be complex, but an attorney experienced in the federal system can help mitigate sentences:
- The Federal Sentencing Guidelines provide recommended sentencing ranges based on the crime, criminal history, and other factors. However, judges have discretion to depart from the guidelines.
- Mandatory minimum sentences dictate the lowest possible sentence for some federal crimes and restrict judges’ discretion. However, minimums can sometimes be waived.
- Your lawyer can present compelling mitigating evidence about your background, mental health, addiction issues, family circumstances, and more to advocate for the lowest sentence.
- In some cases, sentences can be suspended in favor of alternatives like probation, home confinement, or community service.
- Your lawyer may identify grounds for a downward departure from guidelines based on assistance to prosecutors, overstated criminal history, extraordinary rehabilitation efforts, and other reasons.
- Appellate waivers in plea agreements may restrict your ability to appeal your conviction or sentence. Your lawyer can advise you on the consequences before signing any waiver.
Retaining an attorney who thoroughly understands federal sentencing laws and guidelines, and who has experience advocating for reduced sentences, can make an enormous difference in the punishment you face.