Most criminal are handled by state courts in Florida, but some cases concerning matters of the U.S. Constitution and laws passed by Congress are handled in federal courts. There are significant differences between the federal criminal justice system and the state court process, with the severity of the possible sentencing being one of the biggest.
If you are charges with a federal offense, your case will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office. Federal agencies often have much greater resources for developing their cases, and as a result, the federal conviction rate annually exceeds 90 percent.JACKSONVILLE FEDERAL DEFENSE LAWYER
If you are facing charges for any kind of federal offense, it is important for you to seek a capable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Roelke Law provides aggressive defense in federal courts for clients in St. Johns County, Nassau County, Duval County, and Clay County.
We represent people from such surrounding areas of Jacksonville as Atlantic Beach, Fernandina Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, and Ponte Vedra Beach. You can have Bill Roelke review your case and discuss your legal options when you send us an online message or call (904) 354-0333 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.
OVERVIEW OF FEDERAL CRIMES IN FLORIDA
- What is the difference between federal charges and state charges?
- Which types of crimes can result in federal cases?
- What are the consequences of being convicted of a federal offense?
- Where are federal cases handled in Florida?
FEDERAL CHARGES VS. FLORIDA STATE CHARGES
There are many differences between the state courts in Florida and federal courts. In addition to different prosecutors, judges, juries, and court processes, the types of cases these two sorts of courts handle are also different.
The state courts in Florida handle:
- Most criminal cases
- Most contract cases
- Family law cases such as adoptions, divorces, and marriages
- Probate cases such as estates and wills
- Tort cases involving personal injuries
Federal courts, however, handle issues relating to:
- Admiralty law
- Constitutional law
- Disputes between states
- Habeas corpus
- United States laws and treaties
TYPES OF FEDERAL CHARGES
There are over 100 chapters of crimes listed in the criminal and penal code of the federal government under Title 18 of the United States Code. Categories of crimes that are the most frequently prosecuted in federal court include, but are not limited to:
White Collar Crimes — Asset forfeiture, bribery, business crimes, computer crimes, embezzlement, forgery, identity theft, money laundering, mortgage fraud, and tax evasion
Racketeering (RICO) Offenses — Bribery, counterfeiting, embezzlement, extortion, gambling offenses, money laundering, murder for hire, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering
Fraud — Bank fraud, business fraud, citizenship fraud, credit card fraud, financial fraud, health care fraud, identification fraud, insurance fraud, internet fraud, mail fraud, Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud, naturalization fraud, real estate fraud, securities fraud, tax fraud, wire fraud,
Federal Drug Crimes — Conspiracy, cultivation, delivery, distribution, exportation, fraud, importation, laundering money from controlled substance violations, manufacturing, possession, racketeering, smuggling, and trafficking
Weapons Offenses — False statements by licensee, falsification of records by licensee, firearms trafficking, fraud in obtaining a permit to possess or purchase a firearm, illegal sale of firearms, unlawful import and export of weapons, unlawful possession of a weapon, and violent crimes involving the use or discharge of a firearm
PENALTIES FOR FEDERAL CONVICTIONS IN FLORIDA
Sentencing for federal crimes is very harsh and very complex. If a person is convicted of a federal offense, the sentence is decided by a combination of the person’s criminal history and an offense level based on the severity of the most recent crime for which he or she has been convicted.
The United States Sentencing Commission has 43 offense levels in its federal sentencing guidelines, with a 1 representing the least serious crimes and 43 representing the most serious. The offense level is a deciding factor in fines for convictions:
- Offense Level of 3 and below — Minimum fine of $100, maximum fine of $5,000
- Offense Level 4 or 5 — Minimum fine of $250, maximum fine of $5,000
- Offense Level 6 or 7 — Minimum fine of $500, maximum fine of $5,000
- Offense Level 8 or 9 — Minimum fine of $1,000, maximum fine of $10,000
- Offense Level 10 or 11 — Minimum fine of $2,000, maximum fine of $20,000
- Offense Level 12 or 13 — Minimum fine of $3,000, maximum fine of $30,000
- Offense Level 14 or 15 — Minimum fine of $4,000, maximum fine of $40,000
- Offense Level 16 or 17 — Minimum fine of $5,000, maximum fine of $50,000
- Offense Level 18 or 19 — Minimum fine of $6,000, maximum fine of $60,000
- Offense Level between 20 and 22 — Minimum fine of $7,500, maximum fine of $75,000
- Offense Level between 23 and 25 — Minimum fine of $10,000, maximum fine of $100,000
- Offense Level between 26 and 28 — Minimum fine of $12,500, maximum fine of $125,000
- Offense Level between 29 and 31 — Minimum fine of $15,000, maximum fine of $150,000
- Offense Level between 32 and 34 — Minimum fine of $17,500, maximum fine of $175,000
- Offense Level between 35 and 37 — Minimum fine of $20,000, maximum fine of $200,000
- Offense Level 38 and above — Minimum fine of $25,000, maximum fine of $250,000
There are six criminal history categories, each of which is associated with a certain range of points. In deciding a prison sentence, judges will rely on the following table that uses a combination of the current offense level and the alleged offender’s criminal history. The numbers in the ranges below indicate months of imprisonment:
FEDERAL COURTHOUSES IN NORTHERN FLORIDA
There are three federal judicial districts in Florida and 14 federal courthouses. There are four federal courthouses in the Northern District of Florida, five in Southern District, and five in Middle District. Jacksonville is located in the Middle District of Florida, and the three federal courthouses closest to Duval County are:
Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse
300 North Hogan Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
Golden-Collum Memorial Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
207 Northwesst Second Street
34475 (352) 369-4860
George C. Young U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building
401 West Central Boulevard
32801 (407) 835-4200
The U.S. Attorney prosecuting your case may offer a reduced sentence in exchange for your cooperation. If you provide new, credible, and timely information such as the names of people who helped you (called a “safety valve”) or the names of people who committed other crimes (called “substantial assistance”), it could significantly lessen the time you would have to spend in prison.
The problem with providing such information to a prosecutor is that you are not only presenting evidence against yourself, but you might not receive any reduction in your sentence if the information is deemed unhelpful. This type of scenario is precisely why you will want to be represented by an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney.
Roelke Law represents clients in areas like St. Augustine, Orange Park, Middleburg, Hilliard, Green Cove Springs, and Callahan. Bill Roelke has been defending people in state and federal courts throughout Florida for more than 20 years, and he can provide an honest and complete evaluation of your case when you send us an online message or call (904) 354-0333 to set up a free, confidential consultation.