The renowned San Francisco federal criminal defense lawyers at Dudek Cintean have successfully represented numerous federal defendants in San Mateo and the rest of the bay area. We are dedicated to protecting your rights and achieving the best possible outcome in your case.
Federal crimes refer to crimes prosecuted under federal law. While the district attorney prosecutes state crimes, the United States attorney prosecutes federal crimes. State courts are responsible for adjudicating most state-related issues, including family law, real property issues, and traffic violations. Federal courts have jurisdiction over cases implicating federal laws and issues involving more than one state. Most white-collar crimes, for example, are governed by federal securities law and therefore are adjudicated in federal court. Matters involving interstate and international commerce, like drug trafficking, racketeering, and wire fraud cross state lines and are therefore considered federal crimes.
Examples of other federal crimes include:
- Money laundering
- Forgery and counterfeiting
- Computer and cyber crimes
- Insurance and healthcare fraud
- Federal drug charges
- Gun crimes
California, like other states, is entrusted with enforcing state and federal laws. Due to the constitutional division of authority between the federal government and the states, California may elect to decriminalize some types of conduct, such as the use of medical marijuana, even though it remains illegal under federal law. The federal government regulates drugs through the Controlled Substances Act, which does not recognize the difference between medical and recreational use of marijuana. These laws generally apply only against those who “possess, cultivate, or distribute” large quantities of marijuana. California’s Compassionate Use Act , however, guarantees the right of “seriously ill” Californians to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes, such as in the treatment of certain illnesses. State law thus exempts some patients and caregivers from prosecution regardless of contrary federal law.
Drug trafficking is a common federal crime. Federal laws penalize the selling, transportation, and illegal import of unlawful controlled substances into the country. The punishments and “determinate sentencing” laws for drug trafficking crimes vary according to certain factors. These include the drug type, the amount in possession, the geographic area of distribution, and whether the distribution targeted minors. The list of illegal controlled substances is separated into “schedules” and includes marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, and heroin. Cocaine base, for example, is a Schedule II drug. A first trafficking offense for cocaine base can result in a prison sentence of at least 5 years for a quantity of 5 kilograms or more. The penalty increases to 10 years if the defendant has 280 grams or more.
Federal law also prohibits the production, possession, distribution, or receipt of child pornography. Defendants charged with selling or buying children for sexual exploitation under18 U.S.C. §2251 face a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years to life if convicted. Individuals who possess, distribute, or receive child pornography may receive a maximum sentence of 20 years under Section 2252. Section 2260 likewise punishes the importation of child pornography, prescribing a term of 10 years.
The federal government aggressively prosecutes mortgage fraud. Fraud is a knowing misrepresentation of the truth or a concealment of material fact to induce another person to act to his or her detriment. In mortgage fraud cases, the fraudulent activity is related to the mortgage process. Sometimes “industry insiders” purposely perpetrate mortgage fraud for profit by falsely inflating the value of the property or issuing loans based on fictitious properties. In other cases, the borrower commits the fraud by acquiring a house under false pretenses, for example, by misrepresenting his or her income or employment history to qualify for a loan.
If you were charged with a federal crime, the experienced California federal criminal defense lawyers at Dudek Cintean can help. We have successfully handled a wide variety of cases, from the defense of medical marijuana charges to white collar crimes. Whether you face charges for embezzlement, theft, or healthcare fraud, we are here to defend your reputation and protect your rights. Our firm has helped numerous clients throughout California get a fresh start. Call (415) 946-4020 for a consultation or contact us online .