Looking for an Ohio Federal Criminal Lawyer? Our Criminal Lawyers in Dayton, Ohio Can Help
If you’ve been charged with a federal crime, you may be facing an uncertain future. A conviction could lead to steep fines, lengthy imprisonment, and months or years of probation. Additionally, you could end up with a criminal record, which can have devastating effects on your social reputation and professional career.
The stakes are high, so it’s important to hire an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to handle your case. There is a big difference between federal and state prosecutions, and some lawyers only handle federal cases occasionally. An inexperienced Ohio criminal lawyer can cost clients decades in prison if cases aren’t handled correctly.
Are You Facing Federal Criminal Charges in Ohio?
The Ohio criminal attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA have extensive experience as Ohio federal criminal lawyers:
If you’re not ready to contact a federal defense lawyer in Dayton, feel free to browse through the commonly asked questions about federal crimes below.
When You Choose Gounaris Abboud, LPA, to Defend You in a Criminal Case:
You Will Get an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we have over five decades of experience in defending those accused of a crime. We’ll use our experience in the criminal justice system to give you the best defense we can.
You’ll Receive One-on-One Attention
Our federal criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, won’t treat you as just another case. We take pride in offering one-on-one attention to all of our clients. This enables us to build a trusting relationship with our clients, resulting in legal representation that is better suited to your interests.
What’s the Difference Between a Federal and State Crime?
State criminal laws usually involve crimes that occur inside the state of Ohio. Federal criminal statutes typically concern criminal activities that take place in more than one state and involve interstate commerce.
Not all crimes are federal crimes. For example, while murder is a serious crime, it is usually solely a state crime. A federal law enforcement agency will only get involved in a murder case if, say, the murder took place on federal property or involved a federal official.
Common federal crimes include serious drug offenses, white-collar crimes, and internet sex crimes.
To learn more about the differences between federal and state crimes, watch our brief whiteboard video below.
How Do Federal Investigations Work?
If a federal law enforcement agency becomes aware of possible criminal activity, it will start an investigation to verify whether someone committed federal crimes. Once the agency identifies its suspect, it may arrest the suspect, or wait until it can obtain more evidence against them.
Certain federal law enforcement agencies, listed below, are in charge of investigating federal crimes. Each agency will only get involved if it has the authority and expertise to investigate the case.
- FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation): The FBI is the principal agency responsible for investigating over 200 types of federal crimes, including white collar crime and conspiracy.
- ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives): ATF is responsible for investigating illegal posession, use, and manufacture of firearms, and crimes involving arson, bombings, and trafficking of alcohol and tobacco.
- DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration): The DEA is responsible for enforcing federal drug crimes, like trafficking and drug manufacture.
When should I hire an Ohio Federal Criminal Attorney?
If You Have Been Charged with a Federal Crime
First, if you have been charged with a federal criminal offense, you need to contact an Ohio federal criminal lawyer immediately. It is imperative to have an attorney in place before your initial appearance or your arraignment.
An experienced federal criminal lawyer can help you and your family through the first steps of the case, which include setting bail and interacting with a Federal Pretrial Services Officer.
If You Have Not Yet Been Charged
If you have not yet been charged with a federal crime, you should still contact an Ohio federal criminal lawyer if:
- You are the subject of an investigation by a federal law enforcement agency.
- A search has been conducted at your home or place of business.
- You’ve received a “target” letter by a United States Attorney.
If you have been contacted by a federal agency, contact an Ohio federal criminal attorney before speaking with the agency. It is imperative to have a lawyer in place as soon as possible to discuss your options and protect your rights.
By hiring a skilled Ohio federal crime attorney now, you may be able to negotiate a favorable plea bargain or potentially secure an exoneration or dismissal. Our experience enables us to effectively and passionately defend the rights of our clients.
What should I ask a federal criminal lawyer?
What Should I Ask a Federal Criminal Lawyer?
When choosing a federal criminal defense attorney to handle your case, it is important to ask them the following questions:
- How regularly do you represent clients in federal court?
- How many federal cases have you handled?
- Most case files are available through PACER, an online public access service.
- When interviewing a possible lawyer for your federal case, ask them to provide you with a copy of a PACER search that shows you how many cases they’ve handled.
- How familiar are you with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines?
- When was the last time you attended a seminar on the latest guideline changes?
- Could you explain the difference between the advisory sentencing guidelines and statutory penalties?
- Do you have a former federal investigator on staff to assist with my case?
Asking a lawyer these questions can help you decide whether he or she is the right fit for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions that our attorneys encounter during federal criminal cases.
What Should I Do If Law Enforcement Is Contacting Me?
If law enforcement officers are contacting you about your involvement in the commission of a crime, you should immediately contact a lawyer. You do not want to talk to the authorities without having talked to a lawyer first.
When contacting you, law enforcement officers are trying to obtain as much information as they can to use against you. As a result, you could make incriminating statements without knowing it.
Do I Have Rights During an Investigation?
During an investigation, you have rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
Under the Fourth Amendment, you have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Although there are exceptions to this rule, law enforcement generally cannot search you or seize your property without first obtaining a warrant.
Under the Fifth Amendment, you have the right to remain silent after an arrest. You also have the right to an attorney when law enforcement questions you.
Finally, the Sixth Amendment gives you the right to an attorney during all stages of prosecution. You have the Sixth Amendment right to counsel from the time the government begins adversarial criminal proceedings, through a preliminary hearing, indictment, or arraignment, and throughout the remainder of your case.
Do I Really Need an Attorney?
If you face federal criminal charges, you need an attorney. Federal criminal charges are extremely serious. A conviction can change the rest of your life. Hiring a criminal defense attorney gives you the best shot at keeping your future within your control.
Can I Avoid a Conviction?
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to argue some defenses to avoid a federal criminal conviction.
Illegal search and seizure
In some cases, your criminal defense attorney may be able to argue that law enforcement officers violated your Fourth Amendment rights. If law enforcement obtained evidence as the result of an illegal search or seizure, that evidence may be excluded in court.
Government’s burden of proof
In criminal cases, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to show that all the elements of the crime are present beyond a reasonable doubt. If the government lacks evidence on any element of the crime and cannot meet its burden of proof, you might avoid your conviction.
What Can I Expect Once My Charges Have Been Filed?
Once your charges have been filed, criminal cases follow a standard process.
Initial court appearance
The first step in the criminal justice process is your initial court appearance. During your initial court appearance, the judge will advise you of your rights against self-incrimination and to have an attorney present. The judge will advise you of the charges against you and set bail.
At the bail hearing, your federal criminal defense lawyer will attempt to present evidence that you meet the criteria for bail and should be released for the duration of your trial. The judge makes the final determination as to whether to grant you the opportunity to post bail and gain release.
During your arraignment hearing, the court formally advises you of the charges against you and asks you to enter a plea to the charges. An arraignment hearing must occur within a reasonable time after your arrest. Criminal defendants make pleas of either not guilty, guilty, or no contest.
Before trial, your criminal defense attorney can file a number of motions, including those to suppress evidence. If successful, these motions can exclude some or all of the government’s evidence and lead to a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
Before trial, you may also enter into a plea bargain with the prosecution. When entering into a plea bargain, you plead guilty to the charged offense in exchange for the government recommending a lesser penalty or reducing your charges.
If your case goes to trial, your defense attorney will present evidence refuting the government’s arguments. The government has the burden of proving that you committed each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you agree to a plea bargain or are found guilty at trial, the final step in the criminal justice process is a sentencing hearing. At the sentencing hearing, the judge sentences you to your punishment. Sentencing hearings can take place right after a trial or guilty plea, or sometime later.
Potential Issues in Federal Criminal Cases
In federal criminal cases, you may face many underlying issues that can influence the outcome of your case. Hiring a federal criminal defense lawyer provides you with the best opportunity to overcome any of these issues.
Illegally Obtained Evidence
Under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, evidence that law enforcement illegally seizes is not admissible in court. While there are limitations and exceptions to this rule, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney that can raise this issue if it applies to your case.
Additionally, it is important to understand that you could face charges for other crimes that are both related and unrelated to the main crime you’re charged with. For example, defendants in federal criminal cases often face additional charges such as mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering in addition to the principal crime.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand these charges and defend against them.
Confidential Informant Testimony
Confidential informants provide privileged information to law enforcement. In federal criminal cases, they often include co-conspirators who agree to testify against the defendant. If your case involves the testimony of a confidential informant, you’ll need a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney to overcome their statements.
It is important to understand that you do not have to commit a substantive crime for a guilty verdict in a federal criminal case. You can be found guilty of conspiracy if you were a party to an agreement to commit a crime and another party committed an overt act toward the completion of the crime. Like substantive crimes, conspiracy carries severe punishments, including prison time and fines.
Similar to conspiracy, you could also face charges that you attempted to commit a substantive crime. Attempt charges can carry the same penalties as the crime you were attempting to commit.
In federal criminal cases, prosecutors and judges often rely on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines when determining your potential sentence. However, it is possible to obtain a sentence that is less than that recommended by the Guidelines. If charged with a federal crime in Ohio, hiring the federal criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, gives you your best chance at lowering your potential sentence.
Penalties You May Face for a Federal Crime
When charged with a federal crime, you can face many penalties. The type of penalty you might face depends on the severity of the offense you committed, in addition to other factors.
When a court sentences you to probation, you are put under supervision for a period of time. Depending on your case, you may be sentenced to probation after serving jail time or receive probation instead of a jail sentence.
However, you are subject to a number of conditions while on probation. These conditions can include:
- Community service,
- Meeting with your probation officer, and
- Restrictions on using drugs and alcohol.
A criminal defense attorney can help you find out if probation might be available in your case.
You may also face fines in federal criminal cases. The amount of a potential fine depends on the nature of your criminal charge. However, fines in federal criminal cases are usually much higher than those in state criminal cases.
In serious federal criminal cases, your punishment includes jail time in federal prison. Depending on the severity of your charges, your potential jail sentence can range from a few years to decades.
If your charges carry a potential federal prison sentence, you’ll want a skilled federal criminal defense lawyer on your side.
In some federal criminal cases, your punishment might include restitution. Restitution requires convicted criminal defendants to provide financial compensation to the victim for the losses they suffered as a result of the crime.
Restitution is different than a fine because its purpose is to repay the victim for their loss rather than to punish the defendant.
What Types of Cases Does Gounaris Abboud Handle?
- Conspiracy: When two or more people agree to commit a crime, they can be charged with conspiracy. They can still be charged even if they don’t end up committing the crime. Conspiracy charges are often “tacked-on” to other criminal charges to increase the possible penalty.
- Federal Drug Crimes: Federal drug crimes include possession with intent to distribute, manufacturing, distribution, and trafficking of controlled substances. Fines and sentences are different depending on the type and quantity of the substance.
- Gun Violations: Federal gun crimes include illegal possession, sale, or transport of a firearm. The most common charges include possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, possession of a firearm in relation to a drug felony, and stolen firearm, ammunition, or explosive.
- Internet Sex Crimes: Internet sex crimes involve child pornography and sexual exploitation of children under 18 years old.
- Internet Sex Crimes: Internet sex crimes involve child pornography and sexual exploitation of children under 18 years old.
Contact Gounaris Abboud LPA’s Federal Criminal Lawyers in Ohio Today
If you have further questions or would like to discuss your case with a legal professional, do not hesitate to contact an Ohio criminal lawyer at our firm. Please feel free to call us at 937-222-1515. We look forward to hearing from you.