Federal Sex Crimes Attorney Serving Michigan
If you are being investigated or charged with a federal sex crime, then there are some fundamental facets of federal criminal court proceedings worth considering. In most situations, a case is prosecuted in federal court instead of state court because a violation of federal law has occurred, and there are significant differences between federal court defense and state court defense. Most of the subject matter jurisdiction for federal crimes will involve interstate commerce, interstate criminal activity, or a large-scale crime. If you have been charged with a federal sex crime in Michigan, hire a knowledgeable lawyer now. Our Federal sex crimes attorneys have successfully defended clients throughout Michigan.
If an enforcement agency decides to prosecute an offense in federal court, then the potential outcomes could be much more severe, because federal courts utilize mandatory minimum prison sentencing guidelines. Therefore, a federal conviction can automatically require between five and thirty years in prison depending on the offense.
It is essential to work with an attorney who has experience dealing with federal prosecutors, federal judges, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) because working with the federal agencies can be very different from state agencies. A different license is required to practice law in federal courts because federal practice requires a different skill set and a different basis of knowledge.
Grabel & Associates has been practicing criminal law in the federal courts for nearly two decades. Our lawyers specialize in the federal defense of sex crime charges. We will work with you no matter what stage of the legal proceedings you find yourself to create a favorable outcome.
Federal Jurisdiction in Michigan
The federal courts have exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over criminal law cases involving federal questions, the constitution, and crimes occurring on federal land. The federal district courts of the United States have subject matter jurisdiction granted under 18 U.S.C Section 3231. Conversely, Michigan state courts are courts of general jurisdiction which include the limitation only to prosecute violations of Michigan law. Federal question subject matter jurisdiction exists when a crime arises under federal law. Federal power has expanded over the last century to cover crimes that "affect" interstate commerce no matter how indirectly. Federal expansion has led to the inclusion of such areas as sexual abuse, violence against minority groups, loan sharking, drugs, gambling, and firearm offenses. Consequently, federal courts only pursue criminal prosecutions when there has been a violation of federal law.
There are circumstances when federal courts have concurrent jurisdiction over a claim. Concurrent jurisdiction is when either state or federal court could prosecute a particular offense because an action or incident violated both state and federal law. Violating both state and federal law is a common feature of sexual abuse.
In most instances, the enforcement agencies will reach an agreement about how to proceed with prosecution, but it is possible for one violation or offense to be prosecuted in both federal and state courts. Double jeopardy is not a valid defense to multiple prosecutions as long as there is at least one distinct element in one charge from the other corresponding charge.
Federal Child Pornography Offenses
Federal law prohibits a broad range of offenses related to child pornography. The federal law details these categories in Chapter 110 of Title 18 section 2251, 2252, 2252A, and 2260. The federal child pornography laws and penalties differ markedly from the corresponding Michigan state laws on child pornography laws that are called child sexually abusive materials. Notably, federal law has four different categories of child pornography that all have different elements and different penalties. These four primary types of federal child pornography laws are the distribution, transportation, receipt, and possession of child pornography.
Possession of child pornography does not have a mandatory minimum sentence, but there is a maximum punishment of up to 10 years in prison and if the person was under 12 years of age then the maximum penalty is elevated to 20 years in prison.
An Investigation by the Federal Agency
If you are under investigation for a federal sex crime, then a federal governmental agency will be conducting the investigation instead of the state police. In most cases, this means that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or Homeland Security will be conducting the investigation related to your case. There are three things worth knowing if a federal agent visits you at home to ask questions. First, there is a right to remain silent, so it is not necessary to answer any of the agent’s questions. Second, there is a right to have an attorney present during interrogations, and it is permissible to invoke this right and cease answering any more questions until you have had the opportunity to consult with proper legal representation. Finally, anything said in front of an agent can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Potential Penalties for Federal Sex Crimes
In 2016 there were 2,633 sex offenders convicted in federal criminal courts in the U.S. which accounted for 4.2% of all people sentenced in federal criminal courts. 56.4% of these convictions were for child pornography, and 40.6% were for sexual abuse. The remaining three percent were convicted of both sexual abuse and child pornography. Receipt of child pornography has a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, but possession of child pornography has no mandatory minimum sentence. The average sentence for receipt of child pornography was 85 months in prison, whereas, the average sentence for possession of child pornography was 55 months in prison. Thus, the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines in the federal courts do have the potential to increase prison sentences substantially.
The federal sentencing guidelines have five, ten, fifteen, and thirty year minimum sentences for federal sex crime convictions depending on the specific offense. For example, sex trafficking of a minor, solicitation of a minor for prostitution, and transportation of a minor for prostitution all have ten year minimum sentences for a conviction. Compare to a thirty year minimum sentence for aggravated sexual abuse with children or buying and selling children for pornography. Additionally, there is a mandatory minimum penalty of life in prison for a second conviction of certain sex offenses against minors.
A federal sex crime conviction can result in life-altering criminal penalties that may be even more serious than the corresponding state law sex crime penalties. For example, federal sex offenses are more likely to include mandatory minimum sentences, which require years in prison, probation or parole and mandatory sex offender registration. If a person is required to register as a sex offender, then their name, birthdate, the offense they were convicted of, and a picture of their face will be posted to a public website with a map of their current residence. Federal sex offender registration can be a significant obstacle in securing employment, housing, and may even limit the places that you can travel. Additionally, a federal sex crime conviction may require a lifetime of electronic monitoring.
Federal sex crime convictions routinely require additional treatment at the Federal Medical Center or enrolling in a residential Sex Offender Treatment Program or a Sex Offender Management Program. Additional treatment may be beneficial at aiding a person in rehabilitation. However, it can also be invasive and prevent a person from pursuing their goals and employment opportunities, because the time commitments can include demanding requirements, monitoring, and added responsibilities.
Statutory and Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Relief Provisions
Fortunately, even if a conviction is entered, there are still things an astute attorney can do to circumvent the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. Congress directed the commission for mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines to authorize a statutory mechanism for relief. Under USSG Section 5K1.1 a departure from the guideline range is appropriate if it is demonstrated that substantial assistance was provided to law enforcement, and therefore, the court can sentence below the mandatory minimum guidelines. Mandatory minimum sentencing relief is only an example, but a conviction is never the intention. There are many legal, factual, and evidentiary arguments available to help create a favorable outcome.
Our Attorneys Defense for Federal Sex Crimes
Grabel & Associates believes that every individual accused of a sex crime deserves a fair trial and a chance to prove their innocence. A false accusation or small indiscretion should not negatively impact the rest of your life. With more than 19 years of experience representing people charged with all types of federal sex crimes, our team is prepared to fight to protect your rights and achieve a favorable outcome in your case. We devote the necessary time, research, and investigation to every case to develop the most thorough legal defense strategy possible. Our record demonstrates how our dedication, persistence, and commitment to detail makes a difference when it comes to outcomes in cases we represent.
If you or someone you know is facing federal sex crime charges, then the best thing you can do is contact Grabel & Associates today for a free consultation. We understand that these charges can be both terrifying and stressful, and we are here to help ease your burden and guide you down the path towards a brighter future. We have the experience, commitment, and skill to bring a case through the federal sex crime process to a favorable outcome. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call us at 1-800-883-2138 today to schedule your free consultation.
Federal Sex Crimes Practice Areas
- Our Federal Sex Crimes Representation and Results
- Understanding Federal Sex Crimes in Michigan
- Hiring a Federal Sex Crimes Attorney in Michigan
- Federal Aggravated Sexual Abuse Attorney
- Activities Relating to Material Constituting or Containing Child Pornography Attorney
- Activities Relating to Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors Attorney
- Coercion and Enticement Attorneys
- Engaging in the Business of Selling or Transferring Obscene Matter Attorneys
- Importation or Transportation of Obscene Matters Attorneys
- Production of Sexually Explicit Depictions of a Minor for Importation Attorneys
- Selling or Buying of Children Defense Attorney
- Sex Trafficking of Children or by Force Attorney
- Transfer of Obscene Material to Minors Attorney
- Transportation of Minors Attorney
- Transportation of Obscene Matters for Sale or Distribution Attorney
- Use of Interstate Facilities to Transmit Information About a Minor
- Sexual Exploitation of Children Attorney
- Sexual Abuse of a Minor or Ward Attorney