Federal Charges

Columbus Criminal Defense Lawyers Handling Federal Charges

Defending the accused in federal courts throughout Ohio

If you think Ohio is tough on crime, wait until you have a run-in with the federal government. At Soroka & Associates, LLC in Columbus, Ohio, we are proven advocates in both state and federal courts. Our criminal defense lawyers have the experience and resources to fight for Columbus residents charged with federal crimes. Our lawyers have tried and won serious criminal cases in Ohio’s federal courts, and we never shy away from trial when it is best for our clients.

How can we help?

What types of federal criminal cases do you handle in Columbus?

Generally, federal crimes include crimes that cross state lines, and crimes that are of national interest. Our Columbus federal criminal defense practice covers a range of federal charges, including:

  • Drug crimes, including conspiracy, distribution, and manufacture.
  • Weapons charges, such as felony possession/unlawful possession of firearms.
  • White collar crimes, including embezzlement, counterfeiting, forgery, fraud (such as healthcare or mortgage fraud), bribery, insider trading, Ponzi schemes, money laundering, and identity theft.
  • Crimes committed on federal installations, including DUI/OVI and crimes under the Assimilative Crimes Act.

Some of the many other types of federal crimes our lawyers are ready to handle include:

  • RICO crimes. RICO is short for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. RICO is a federal law that focuses on criminal acts that are part of an ongoing criminal organization.
  • Tax crimes. These include failure to file a tax return, improper withholding, tax evasion, and other offenses.
  • These offenses include stealing someone’s identity to use credit cards, bank accounts, and Social Security information. Cybercrimes involve the use of malware, hacking, and stealing software.

Whether you have been charged with a federal offense or have just learned that you are being investigated by a federal agency or the federal government, our Columbus federal defense lawyers are available to represent you through every phase of the criminal process.

How does a federal case differ from an Ohio criminal case?

There are some similarities and many differences between state and federal criminal cases. In both jurisdictions, a jury must find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You have the right to assert your Constitutional defenses. There are specific rules that govern how the charges against you should be decided by a judge and jury. If convicted, you do risk imprisonment, fines, and other consequences.

Some of the differences are generally as follows:

  • Federal crimes are brought based on violations of federal laws/statutes. State crimes are filed based on violations of state laws/statutes.
  • The rules of procedure are different. For example, federal courts may (or may not) allow evidence to be introduced based on different criteria than state courts. The rules for bringing an indictment differ.
  • The lawyer representing the government is different. Federal prosecutors handle federal crimes, while state prosecutors handle state crimes.
  • The courts are different. Ohio crimes are normally heard in county courts. Federal crimes are heard in either the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio or the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
  • The juries are different. Federal juries are usually pooled from a broader geographical area than state juries. Jurors in federal cases may live in different counties. Juries in state crimes usually live in the same county.
  • The sentencing process is different. The sentences for convictions of federal crimes are based on federal sentencing guidelines. There are other key sentencing differences:
    • Anyone convicted of a federal crime and sentenced to incarceration will be sentenced to a federal prison. Anyone in Columbus who is convicted of a state crime and sentenced to incarceration will be sentenced to a state prison.
    • The sentences and fines for federal crimes are generally longer and larger than for Ohio crimes.
    • Probation is used more in state courts than in federal courts.
  • Federal charges involve federal agencies. These agencies include the DEA, the FBI, the Immigration and Customs Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and other agencies. In most Ohio cases, local law enforcement agencies investigate the alleged offense and arrest anyone they have reason to believe committed a criminal offense.

Can a defendant be tried in both federal and state courts?

Yes, they can. Under the Fifth Amendment, you cannot be tried for the same crime twice, but that only applies to either the state or the federal government. This is because of the divided sovereignty of our country. Essentially, the federal government has its own code of laws (and its own jurisdictions), just like Ohio does. As such, you can be tried by both governments – federal and state – for the same crime because the laws governing those crimes are different. It’s a tricky little loophole.

In practice, charges are normally brought in federal court or in state court. It’s more likely, that if there is a federal case, the case will be filed in federal court. If a defendant is found guilty in one court, then being sentenced in one court could be enough to deter the prosecutors from filing charges in the other court – but this is not guaranteed. In fact, even if you are found “not guilty” in, say, federal court, Ohio may still choose to prosecute you because the scope its laws may be different, and the state may feel that the crimes you are accused of committing are easier to prove under its own parameters.

Do you have a federal criminal defense lawyer near me?

The Columbus office of Soroka & Associates is located at 503 South Front Street, Suite 205. Our office is close to Rt. 23 and I-71 and Rt. 23. We do meet defendants anywhere they have been detained. We have also handled federal matters in various states with the use of local counsel.

Speak with a respected Columbus federal crimes defense lawyer now

If you’ve been charged with a federal crime or you’re being investigated for a federal offense, you need legal help now. You need a lawyer who will speak for you, who will assert your rights, and who will aggressively work to obtain and preserve your freedom. At Soroka & Associates, our criminal defense lawyers are experienced federal and state defense lawyers. We fight to have the charges dismissed, to have evidence suppressed, to obtain acquittals, and to negotiate plea arrangements. Call us at 614-358-6525 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation.