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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

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We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

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Rhode Island Federal Criminal Lawyers

By Spodek Law Group | October 16, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 17, 2023)

Last Updated on: 17th October 2023, 10:57 pm


Rhode Island Federal Criminal Lawyers

If you’ve been charged with a federal crime in Rhode Island, you need an experienced federal criminal defense attorney on your side. Federal charges are no joke – the federal government has tons more resources than state prosecutors, and federal sentencing guidelines often call for harsher punishments.

Luckily, Rhode Island has some of the best federal criminal defense lawyers around. They know how to navigate the complex federal court system and build the strongest possible defense for your case. In this article, we’ll give an overview of federal crimes in Rhode Island, what makes them different from state charges, and how a knowledgeable federal criminal lawyer can help.

Common Federal Crimes in Rhode Island

Some of the most common federal charges filed in Rhode Island include:

  • Drug crimes – Drug trafficking, distribution, manufacturing, etc. Crossing state lines bumps drug crimes into federal jurisdiction.
  • White collar/financial crimes – Wire fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, money laundering, etc.
  • Child pornography – Distribution or possession of child pornography.
  • Cybercrimes – Hacking, identity theft, computer fraud.
  • Federal gun charges – Possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, interstate transport of firearms, etc.

Unlike state charges, federal crimes apply nationwide. This means the federal sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimums are the same whether you’re charged in Rhode Island or California. The feds also have tons of resources – if they’re coming after you, they usually have a rock-solid case already built.

How Federal Charges Are Different from State Charges

Fighting federal charges is a whole different ballgame compared to state-level cases. Here are some key ways federal criminal cases differ:

  • Harsher Sentences – Federal sentencing guidelines tend to be much harsher than state laws. Even first-time offenders can face years in federal prison.
  • More Resources – Federal prosecutors have basically unlimited resources. They can afford expert witnesses, investigative manpower, etc.
  • Higher Conviction Rates – Around 90% of federal cases end in conviction. The feds rarely bring charges unless they’re sure they can win.
  • Pre-Trial Detention – Most federal defendants are detained pre-trial. Bail is less common in the federal system.
  • Federal Prison – If convicted, your time will be served in a federal prison, not a state facility. Federal prisons have different policies.

With so much on the line, having an experienced federal criminal defense attorney makes all the difference.

How a Federal Criminal Lawyer Can Defend You

Qualified federal crime lawyers have many strategies to get charges reduced or dismissed. Here are some of the ways they defend clients in federal court:

  • Negotiating Plea Deals – Most federal cases end in plea bargains. An attorney can negotiate with prosecutors for lesser charges or sentencing recommendations.
  • Motion Practice – Filing motions to suppress evidence or dismiss charges entirely if procedural rules weren’t followed.
  • Sentencing Mitigation – Presenting mitigating factors about you and the case itself to reduce sentencing guidelines.
  • Trial – Taking the case to trial in front of a judge or jury, requiring prosecutors to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Appeals – Appealing the verdict or sentence if errors were made that impacted the outcome.

For the best chance at beating federal charges, you need an attorney who regularly handles federal cases in Rhode Island courts. They’ll know all the prosecutors and judges and can advise you about their tendencies. They’ll also have experience building winning defense strategies specifically for federal crimes.

Finding the Best Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer in Rhode Island

Not all criminal defense attorneys have in-depth federal court experience. When searching for the best federal crime lawyer in Rhode Island, here are some tips:

  • Look for attorneys who focus exclusively on federal cases
  • Check their track record and win/loss rate in federal court
  • Find someone who used to work as a federal prosecutor
  • Select a lawyer with great relationships and reputation with judges and prosecutors
  • Be sure they have trial experience – most federal cases end in plea deals, so trial experience is a must
  • Consider boutique firms that concentrate on federal cases rather than large general practice firms
  • Meet with the attorney in person – you want someone you trust and can communicate with

It also helps to find a lawyer with experience in your specific type of federal charges. For example, if you’re facing federal drug trafficking charges, you want an attorney who has defended drug cases in federal court before.

Federal Sentencing Guidelines in Rhode Island

One huge difference between state and federal court is mandatory sentencing guidelines. Federal judges have very little discretion – they are required to sentence defendants based on a calculated guideline range dictated by the charges and criminal history.

While federal sentencing guidelines are advisory rather than mandatory after the Supreme Court’s 2005 Booker decision, judges still rely heavily on the guideline range calculated through a point system. The base offense level gets adjusted up or down based on factors like:

  • Your criminal history score
  • Specific offense characteristics
  • Acceptance of responsibility
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Your role in the offense

An experienced federal criminal lawyer will know how to argue against offense level increases, advocate for decreases, and generally negotiate the lowest possible guideline range. This can reduce your sentence by months or even years compared to going it alone against the feds.

Federal Drug Charges in Rhode Island

Drug crimes make up a huge portion of federal cases in Rhode Island. All drug trafficking and distribution crimes become federal when they cross state lines. Common federal drug crimes include:

  • Possession with intent to distribute – Carrying large quantities of drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, etc. Penalties are based on the type and weight of drugs.
  • Distribution/trafficking – Selling drugs across state lines. Again, penalties depend on the drug type and amount.
  • Manufacturing – Making drugs like methamphetamine or growing marijuana. Includes crimes like operating a grow house.
  • Conspiracy – Making plans or agreements to commit drug crimes, even if they aren’t carried out.
  • Importation – Smuggling drugs into the U.S. from another country.

Federal drug mandatory minimums are no joke – even first-time offenders can face 5, 10, 15 years or more in federal prison. But an experienced drug crimes lawyer can help in many ways:

  • Fighting to get charges dismissed or reduced
  • Arguing you were only a minor player, not a kingpin
  • Negotiating plea deals with cooperation agreements
  • Advising on whether to plead guilty or go to trial
  • Navigating federal sentencing guidelines for drug charges

Having a federal drug crime lawyer who knows the Rhode Island federal judges and prosecutors can make all the difference in getting sentences reduced as much as possible.

Federal White Collar Crimes in Rhode Island

Rhode Island sees plenty of federal white collar cases prosecuted each year. Common examples include:

  • Securities fraud – Insider trading, Ponzi schemes, accounting fraud, etc.
  • Money laundering – Disguising illegally obtained funds to appear legal.
  • Tax evasion/fraud – Lying on tax returns, hiding income, failing to pay taxes.
  • Embezzlement – Stealing money from an employer.
  • Bribery/kickbacks – Offering bribes or incentives for preferential treatment.
  • Health care fraud – Overbilling Medicare/Medicaid, falsifying medical records, etc.

White collar federal sentences aren’t always as severe as drug charges, but they can still involve years in prison and massive fines. For the best chance at a favorable outcome, target federal prosecutors’ tendency to value cooperators in white collar cases. An experienced lawyer can negotiate deals like:

  • Reduced charges in exchange for a guilty plea
  • Lighter sentencing recommendations for cooperating
  • No jail time in exchange for restitution payments

Skilled white collar defense attorneys know how to portray you in the best light to prosecutors and judges. They can gather evidence showing you had good intentions or got caught up in something bigger. Bottom line – with an excellent lawyer, many federal white collar defendants avoid lengthy prison terms.

Federal Gun Charges in Rhode Island

Federal gun charges most often arise from:

  • Possession by a prohibited person – It’s illegal under federal law for felons, domestic abusers, drug users, and certain others to possess firearms.
  • Possession during a crime – Carrying a gun while committing a federal offense like drug trafficking.
  • Interstate transport – Moving guns across state lines.
  • Serial number violations – Possessing a gun with a removed or altered serial number.
  • Sales violations – Federally licensed dealers who falsify records or sell guns illegally.

Similar to federal drug charges, the penalties for federal firearm crimes include lengthy mandatory minimums – generally 5-10 years per count. The best defense strategy depends on the specifics of your case:

  • Argue the gun was not yours if it was found in your home or car belonging to someone else
  • Challenge improper police searches that turned up guns
  • Negotiate plea deals with cooperation agreements
  • Advocate for sentence reductions and alternatives to prison

An experienced federal gun crimes attorney can also advise you on plea deals versus trial, defenses that could work in your case, and how to avoid the lengthy sentences federal gun charges can bring.

Federal Sentencing Options in Rhode Island

While federal sentencing guidelines are strict, some alternatives to prison do exist. Common options include:

  • Probation – Typically 1 to 5 years of supervised release with conditions like drug testing, employment, etc. Probation is only available for certain low-level crimes.
  • House arrest – Serving your sentence at home with electronic monitoring rather than prison.
  • Fines – Especially applicable in white collar cases. Fines up to $250k per count are common.
  • Forfeiture – Relinquishing cash, vehicles, real estate or other assets obtained illegally.
  • Restitution – Repaying victims for losses from financial and property crimes.

Federal judges rarely impose alternative sentences unless argued persuasively by a skilled federal criminal defense lawyer. Make sure your attorney knows how to advocate for probation, home confinement, fines, or other alternatives to decrease your sentence as much as possible.

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