False accusations can literally destroy a person’s life. Earl Washington Jr., for example, a man falsely accused of murder in 1983, spent about 18 years of his life in prison, half of which were on death row, before evidence finally exonerated him. Washington had people fighting for him, but unfortunately for most individuals falsely accused of crimes, this isn’t the case. What’s even worse than this, however, is when an individual is falsely accused of a federal crime.
Common Types of Federal Charges
There are a host of federal charges that an individual could face. Even with such a wide array of statutes, however, certain charges are more likely to be brought forth, or just capture more attention, than others.
Postal Charges: Since the United States Postal Service is part of the Federal Government, any crime committed using the mail can result in federal charges. This includes mailing drugs, toxic substances, ransom notes or even fraudulent solicitations for money.
Military Charges: Any crime involving the military, even those which are simply committed on a military base, will likely lead to federal charges. This can include evading a draft, interfering with military actions, impersonating personnel and even drinking and driving on a military base.
Firearm Charges: Individuals can also face federal firearms charges. Nearly half of these charges result from a convicted felon allegedly having a firearm.
Immigration Offenses: Immigration offenses make up more than a third of all federal criminal charges. These charges are usually brought forth when it’s discovered, often during prosecution of other crimes, that an individual is in the country illegally.
What to do about False Federal Crime Accusations
How an individual handles being falsely accused of a federal crime will play a huge role in whether or not they’re exonerated. Making one mistake can land a person in hot water, and in these situations, a failure can end with a person being imprisoned in a federal penitentiary. Because of this, there are a few simple steps that everyone accused of a federal crime should abide by.
Insist on a Search Warrant: After a person is accused of a crime, police, assuming they haven’t arrested a person already, will ask to perform a search of the individual’s property. They usually either need consent or a warrant to do this. It’s imperative to not give consent. Making police get a search warrant is the best way to ensure that they follow proper protocol.
Hire a Federal Charges Attorney: While local lawyers admitted to a state bar may be fully adept at legal defense, it’s important to realize that federal laws are much different than state laws. This means the best attorney in the state may be unable to properly defend an individual accused of federal crimes. In addition, an attorney will need to be admitted to a district court in order to defend an individual against false federal charges.
Recognize Legal Rights: Just because a person is accused of a federal crime doesn’t mean that they lose their rights. All of a person’s rights remain intact, and this is especially beneficial for those falsely accused of a crime. It’s imperative to remain silent. Far too many people think they can talk their way out of trouble, but police may end up twisting a person’s words against them. A falsely accused individual should never speak with police before speaking with qualified legal counsel.
Being accused of a federal crime is going to be a difficult experience for anyone, but for those who are falsely accused, the experience can be especially disheartening. This is why anyone facing false federal charges should follow the aforementioned steps, especially speaking with a federal defense lawyer, if they hope to walk away with their freedom. Federal charges are intensely serious, so going it alone in these situations is never advisable.