Charlotte Federal Criminal Law Lawyers

Federal criminal charges are extremely serious. If you are facing federal criminal charges in North Carolina, your future may be at risk. Unlike state criminal charges, the federal government uses an entirely separate court system and a different set of rules and procedures in federal court. Federal crimes usually have harsher penalties than state crimes, such as higher fines, and a longer-term of imprisonment.

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we are available to represent you in a federal criminal investigation and trial. We understand the rules and procedures of the federal court and can help defend your rights. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

What are Federal Criminal Charges?

As a defendant, you cannot be charged by both the state and federal government for the same crime. You must be charged under federal law or North Carolina law. For example, you will not be charged with a federal crime and a North Carolina crime at the same time. Certain factors may lead to a federal criminal offense, including the following:

  • Your alleged criminal activity crossed state lines, such as driving illegal controlled substances across state lines
  • Your actions violated a federal statute
  • You committed a crime on federal property, such as a national park, on a military base, or within a federal building
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigated you and arrested you
  • Federal agents arrested you after receiving information during a federal investigation.
Federal Gun Crimes

North Carolina has its own set of gun crimes laws. There are two key federal gun charges that federal prosecutors pursue aggressively. The first federal gun crime is acting as a felon in possession of a firearm and/or ammunition. The second is the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime or violation of drug trafficking. Conviction of a federal gun crime can, in some cases, lead to life imprisonment.

Judges are required to impose mandatory minimum prison sentences for these types of crimes. The minimum prison sentence is different for different types of gun crimes and can be as long as a 30-year minimum sentence. For example, the Armed Career Criminal Act requires a minimum sentence of 15 years and applies to anyone possessing a gun who has been convicted of three violent felonies or drug trafficking offenses.

FederaL DWI

If you were driving in a national park, on a military base, or any other federal property with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or above, you could face a federal DUI/DWI charge. Federal DUI/DWIs are misdemeanor offenses that come with fines, months in prison, and years of probation.

Those defendants charged with operating a common carrier under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance on federal property face a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. Common carriers are any vehicles used to transport goods or customers. Trucks, ships, planes, cars, and buses can be common carriers.

Federal Drug Crimes

Possession, selling, drug manufacturing, and drug trafficking are all illegal per federal law. Usually, charges such as simple possession and sales of drugs will be brought under North Carolina drug laws, not federal law. However, when a drug charge involves large quantities of a drug, or the movement across state lines, prosecutors are more likely to bring federal drug charges. If you are facing a federal drug crime charge, it is important to hire an attorney right away who can help you best move forward.

Possession of Child Pornography

Child pornography crimes are often federally charged, especially if the defendant carried child pornography across state lines. Federal prosecutors are more likely to bring charges when child pornography originated in the United States. Federal penalties are often harsher than state fines. Certain child pornography charges can have severe penalties, especially when the defendant was selling or trafficking large quantities of child pornography across state lines.

Hiring an Attorney Who Knows the Federal Court Process

The Federal Court system is an entirely different animal than North Carolina’s system. If you are facing a federal criminal charge, you need an attorney who knows the federal court process. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we understand this is an overwhelming time and are here to help.

Each case is unique, so we listen to our client’s goals and work to achieve a dismissal, a favorable plea bargain, or a not-guilty verdict in court. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation. For your convenience and safety, we now offer phone and video conferencing. If you prefer an in-person consultation, we have three easy to reach locations in Uptown Charlotte, Monroe, and Mooresville. Call today at 704.370.2828.