Most criminal prosecutions in Chicago occur in Illinois state courts. However, citizens can also be charged under federal laws and can be tried in federal courts.

In most cases, federal charges are brought for alleged activities that occur across state lines, such as drug trafficking, mail fraud and wire fraud. Federal charges also can apply to acts that are always federal crimes, such as bank robberies. In addition, some crimes are subject to prosecution under both state and federal laws.

If you are accused of committing a federal crime, you could face severe penalties including large fines and imprisonment. Mounting an effective federal criminal defense is vital for proving your innocence. Michael Petro has over 25 years of defending against federal criminal charges. For the best defense in Chicago contact Mr. Petro today.

What Are Federal Crimes?

The majority of crimes committed in Illinois violate state law. If you’re charged with a criminal act like burglary or assault, your case likely will work its way through the state court system.

Federal crimes are limited to certain categories pertaining to national interest. Crimes that come under federal jurisdiction can include those that:

  • Take place on federal land or involve federal property.
  • Involve a FDIC Insured bank
  • Concern federal law enforcement officers.
  • Involve immigration violations.
  • Involve criminal behavior that moves across state lines, such as sex trafficking and kidnapping.
  • Have victims and defendants in more than one state, such as mail fraud, wire fraud ande cyber crime.

Federal crimes can occur completely on land belonging to the State of Illinois or to an individual property owner. As long as the focus of the crime pertains to matters in which the federal government has an interest, the crime can fall under federal jurisdiction.

The double jeopardy clause in the U.S. Constitution prohibits more than one prosecution or punishment for the same crime — but only by the same sovereign entity. Double jeopardy does not preclude a defendant being charged by both the state and the federal government for the same crime. However, prosecution by both the state and federal government is uncommon.

If you are charged with a federal crime, it’s important to understand that the federal government has significant resources at its disposal to build a case against you. Attorney Michael J. Petro has built a long track record of successful defense against federal charges for his clients.

Differences Between the State and Federal Systems

For defendants who are charged through federal channels, working with a highly experienced federal criminal defense lawyer is imperative for ensuring that you get the best possible outcome. In many ways, federal criminal trials vary significantly from those at the state level, including the fact that federal judges receive lifetime appointments from the President of the United States.

In addition, federal crimes are investigated by officers in several different U.S. agencies, including the DEA and FBI. If you are charged under Illinois law, on the other hand, the investigation is conducted by local law enforcement officers or agents of the state.

As with state crimes, penalties can vary greatly for federal offenses. Federal sentencing guidelines exist, and most federal judges do follow them. However, the law allows federal judges significant leeway in sentencing defendants. Judges can consider factors like prior criminal record in issuing a sentence.

Individuals convicted of federal crimes serve time in federal rather than state prisons if incarceration is part of the sentence.

Mounting an Effective Federal Criminal Defense

How will your federal crime attorney defend you in court? An attorney who is experienced in federal matters will have a deep understanding of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Regardless of the phase of federal proceedings against you — from the initial criminal complaint to grand jury indictment, arraignment and trial — Attorney Michael J. Petro will diligently represent you and promote your innocence.

If you are convicted, the judge can consider a variety of different factors to determine your sentence. An attorney who is experienced in federal matters will have a deep understanding of the United States Sentencing Guidelines.  Attorney Michael J. Petro will ensure that the judge is fully aware of mitigating factors in your case, which can include a lack of previous criminal convictions. In addition, Attorney Petro may argue that you acted under duress, that you acted in self-defense, that you did not play a primary role in the alleged criminal activity, or that no one was harmed by the activity.

Do you believe that you may be under investigation for a federal crime? If you need federal criminal defense assistance, turn to the experience and successful record of Attorney Michael J. Petro. Call him today at 312-913-1111.