It is sometimes difficult to understand the differences between a federal crime and a crime that would be handled by the state of Kentucky. They do overlap, but there are distinct aspects that make federal crimes different. At Shumate, Flaherty, Eubanks & Baechtold, we want you to understand these differences, so if you are charged with a federal crime, you know what you are up against.
Federal crimes include things like drug trafficking, embezzling, forgery and computer crimes. However, the penalties for these crimes are much harsher. They often carry huge fines and many have mandatory prison sentences. Mandatory sentencing is what makes these crimes so serious because there is no room for a judge to show leniency or impose alternative sentences even if this is your first offense.
The FBI offers more insight into what federal crimes are and how they are handled. In short, a crime must violate a federal law in order to gain this classification. Some crimes need a specific element to occur. For example, if a person is murdered and that person is a federal employee who is performing his or her job duties at the time of the murder, then it becomes federal. White collar crimes are often federal crimes because they break federal securities laws.
You can plea bargain in a federal case, but if there is a mandatory minimum sentence, then you cannot plea bargain for less than that set minimum. If you are sent to prison as a part of your sentence, you will have to serve the complete sentence because there is no longer a federal parole option. To find out more, visit our criminal defense page on our website.