Why Federal Charges Are Much More Serious Than State Charges

 Posted on May 31, 2022 in Federal Crimes

b2ap3_thumbnail_chicago-federal-crimes-lawyer_20220531-142824_1.jpgIf you find yourself charged with a federal crime, you might be wondering how your charge compares to a similar charge at the state level. There is some bad news - federal charges are typically a much more serious matter than state-level charges. Federal charges often lead to harsher sentencing, and you are less likely to receive a favorable plea bargain. This is partly because federal judges and prosecutors have less discretion than prosecutors and judges at the state level. If your offense carries a lot of prison time, you will probably serve quite a bit of it should you be convicted or plead guilty. White-collar offenders can expect no special treatment in federal courts, regardless of their position in society prior to the charge. If you are facing federal charges, it is important that you immediately retain a skilled federal criminal defense attorney. Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney has over 20 years of criminal defense experience at the federal level. 

Why Are Federal Charges More Serious Than State Charges?

There are a number of reasons that you should be more concerned about federal charges than state charges. For many white-collar offenders, a federal prosecution is their first interaction with the criminal justice system. A few things you should know about your federal charges include: 

  • Less discretion - At the state level, prosecutors have significant discretion in negotiating plea bargains. It is common for more serious offenses to be reduced or eliminated in the interest of avoiding a trial. State judges also have significant discretion in sentencing. Unless an offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence, there is a chance that a state judge will use alternative sentencing, like probation or house arrest. Federal judges, however, are bound by strict sentencing guidelines so you are less likely to avoid prison time. 

  • Harsher sentencing guidelines - State-level charges typically carry less prison time than federal charges. A federal charge typically carries a harsher sentence than an equivalent state charge. 

  • Enhancements - Almost every federal charge is riddled with potential “enhancements.” These “enhancements” can include things like using the internet to commit the crime. Most federal white-collar crimes do in fact involve the use of a computer in some way. These enhancements can sometimes lead to drastically increased sentencing. 

As you can see, any federal charge is a serious matter. 

Call an Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney is highly skilled at helping those accused of federal crimes achieve favorable outcomes. Our experienced Chicago federal criminal defense lawyers will do everything in our power to help you avoid harsh sentencing. Contact us at 312-629-0669 as soon as you learn that you are being charged so we can start helping you with a free and confidential consultation. 


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