If you are accused of an offense involving criminal activity in multiple states—like trafficking drugs across state lines—then you may face federal charges in Pennsylvania. There are also certain types of offenses, regardless of where a person commits them, that may rise to the level of a federal crime.
Pennsylvania courts will generally prosecute offenses committed in the state. However, Pennsylvania residents also live in the United States and are subject to federal criminal laws.
Criminal Acts That May Qualify as Federal Offenses
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) lists several offenses that can fall under federal jurisdiction, including:
- Bank fraud, lending fraud, and bank embezzlement
- Bribery or public corruption
- Corporate fraud
- Drug cases and certain drug-related crimes
- Environmental offenses
- Firearms offenses
- Healthcare fraud
- Human trafficking
- Insurance or mail fraud
- Money laundering
- Sexual abuse
A number of other offenses may expose you to federal prosecution.
The offense authorities charge you with may determine which agency investigates the case. There is not always a consistent pattern in which cases fall under the federal purview and which fall to Pennsylvania courts. Specific statutes and the nature and scope of the alleged offense may be factors in whether a case goes to the federal level.
Can I Face Charges From State and Federal Courts?
Yes, you can. State and federal courts have the power to prosecute you for the same alleged crime. Even if you’re not guilty in a Pennsylvania state court, a federal court may retry you for the same offense—so long as it has legal grounds.
For a free legal consultation, call 215.515.3360
I Have Been Charged With a Crime in Pennsylvania: What Should I Do?
If you are facing criminal charges of any kind, you should hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent you. A criminal defense attorney can:
- Answer any questions you have: People facing criminal charges often have many questions: What am I accused of? What penalties do I face? Should I take a plea? Our team will review your case and provide answers that you can trust.
- Review all evidence the state or federal government has against you: The strength of evidence in your case will be key to forming a legal strategy. We will review and gather evidence and explain what it means for your case’s outcome.
- Establish realistic case goals: Each criminal defendant has different goals. For some, a dismissal is a realistic outcome. Other defendants might seek the best possible plea deal. We will work with you to set a target outcome for your case.
- Represent you in all legal proceedings: We will make motions, advise you on what to say (and what not to say), counter arguments made by prosecutors, and make a comprehensive argument in your defense.
- Protect your rights: A criminal defense lawyer must always consider their client’s rights. We will ensure you receive the due process to which you are constitutionally entitled.
It is not wise to take on the state of Pennsylvania without a lawyer, and taking on the federal government is even riskier. Our legal defense team will start working on your defense as soon as you retain our services.
What Type of Criminal Defense Lawyer Should I Hire?
The criminal defense lawyer you hire for your Pennsylvania case should have relevant experience. You may want a lawyer who handles state and federal cases. You never know what turns your case might take, and having a lawyer with experience who handles federal cases can be invaluable.
Your attorney should also make you feel confident about your case. Regardless of any evidence against you, your lawyer should make you feel that:
- They will fight for the best possible outcome.
- They care about you.
- They have a firm understanding of the law and how it applies to your case.
- They have the resources necessary to represent you and protect your interests and rights.
Our firm meets these benchmarks.
What Are the Consequences of a Criminal Conviction in Pennsylvania?
The consequences of a criminal conviction depend on which offenses you stand accused of. Whether you face trial in a state or federal court may also be relevant, as federal prosecutors may:
- Be able or willing to impose harsher penalties for certain offenses than state prosecutors can
- Be beholden to federal mandatory sentencing minimums, which automatically impose certain sentences for certain criminal offenses
- Have more resources than the state courts to prosecute you and impose the penalties that they seek
Depending on the nature of your offense, you may be facing fines, jail time, prison time, or even death. Any criminal sanction is serious, as a criminal record can bar you from housing, prevent you from getting certain jobs, affect your custody status, and seriously harm your quality of life.
Call Us Today to Discuss Your Defense in a Federal Crime That Occurred in Pennsylvania
Whether you are facing the state of Pennsylvania or the U.S. government, you must take your defense seriously. Call the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC, to learn how we will fight for you. The consultation is free, and your defense is of the utmost importance, so don’t wait to call our team.