Federal Criminal Law
When it comes to navigating the complexities of federal law, you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney by your side. Attorney Christopher Fogt specializes in federal law and has a proven track record of successfully representing clients in a wide range of federal legal matters including, but not limited to gun crimes and large drug conspiracies. Regardless of the charge, Fogt Law Office has the expertise and resources to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
The U.S. Federal Court System
Across the United States of America, there are 94 federal trial courts, known as U.S. District Courts and 13 federal appellate courts, called U.S. Circuit Courts. Federal courts have criminal jurisdiction over individuals who violate federal laws or commit crimes across state lines, on U.S. government property, or on Native American reservations.
What Are Federal Crimes?
Federal statutes can be found in the United States Code. Common examples of federal crimes include possessing and trafficking drugs or firearms, immigration-related offenses, tax evasion, and money laundering. Attorney Fogt has extensive experience defending against a variety of federal charges, including cases involving complex conspiracies.
How Are Federal Crimes Investigated?
The United States Federal Government has immense resources to investigate and prosecute crimes. The Government relies on federal agencies to conduct its investigations, such as the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations), ATF (Bureau or Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency). It is also common for federal agencies to work in conjunction with each other, Joint Task Forces, and local police departments. Federal investigations are typically much more rigorous than state investigations. Surveillance is a common technique for federal investigators, which can include stake-outs, undercover agents, wiretapping, and GPS tracking. They also frequently issue subpoenas to obtain access to information like telephone records, social media, and other account data.
What to Expect in Federal Court?
Being charged with a crime in a federal court can be quite different than facing charges in a state court. For example, unlike Ohio criminal courts, most federal courts no longer impose cash bail. Instead, defendants are either ordered to be incarcerated pending trial or are released, which can include certain conditions like electronic monitoring. Another key difference compared to state cases involves when discovery is provided to the defense team. Unlike in Ohio courts, federal discovery is not provided to the defendant until the case is almost ready to go to trial. Federal cases also tend to last longer than state proceedings. Depending on the type of offense and number of codefendants involved, federal cases can last anywhere from around eight months to three years.
Sentencing for a federal crime is a multifaceted process. Before sentencing occurs, courts order the probation department to complete a Presentence Report (PSR), which provides detailed information about the facts of the case as well as personal information about the defendant such as their upbringing, education, employment history, all aspects of family history, prior criminal record, and plans for the future. As defense counsel, Attorney Fogt prepares and submits a Sentencing Memorandum, which argues for the most lenient sentence possible and informs the court about the defendant's positive qualities.
A sentencing range is calculated based on numerous factors outlined in the United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines (USSG). Every type of crime has a “base offense level.” The offense level is then “adjusted” based on mitigating or aggravating factors. For example, the level can be increased if the victim was especially vulnerable, or decreased if the defendant took responsibility for their actions. Defendants are also categorized based on their criminal history. Together, the offense level and criminal history category are used to assign the defendant to a Zone, which includes a range of years for sentencing.
Although they are always taken into consideration, Judges are not required to abide by the USSG. As the name suggests, they are merely guidelines to help guide courts in their decisions. Judges typically defer to the guidelines, but can exercise discretion if they choose to do so.
The Government and the Defense may also agree to deviate from the Guidelines, which helps persuade the Judge to do the same.
The Sentencing Table from the United States Sentencing Guidelines can be accessed by clicking the link below from the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC).
Fogt Law Can Help
We understand that every case is unique and requires a personalized approach. When you work with us, we will take the time to understand your case, gather all relevant information and evidence, and develop a customized strategy tailored to your specific needs and goals. We are committed to providing you with the highest level of legal representation and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
Attorney Fogt has over 50 hours of Continuing Legal Education in Federal Criminal Law alone!
Attorney Fogt practices in the Southern District Court of Ohio. The Federal Courts are located in Cincinnati and Dayton. Feel free to contact us about other areas as well.