Federal Crimes & Examples of Federal Offenses

What are federal crimes?

Federal crimes are defined as any kind of act that would violate U.S. federal legislation. Examples of federal crimes include kidnapping, carjacking, mail fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft, bank robbery, child pornography, piracy, drug trafficking, tax evasion, federal hate crimes and computer crimes. Such cases are tried in federal states instead of state or local courts.

Are felonies also federal crimes?

A felony is defined by our federal government as any crime that is either punishable by either death or by imprisonment for one year or longer. Any crime with a prison sentence of less than a year is considered a misdemeanor.

What does the US Attorneys Office do?

This office is the primary prosecutor for our country in criminal cases. They also represent the United States as either the defendant or the plaintiff in civil cases, depending on the type of case that is brought to trial.

What do criminal defense attorneys do?

A top criminal defense lawyer like Mark Bennett in Houston, TX is hired to represent their clients in a court of law. Many of their clients are often facing misdemeanor or felony charges. The lawyer will usually work with the prosecuting attorney to determine a possible plea bargain for their client. Some of the other tasks that criminal defense attorneys are responsible for include examining the crime scene if applicable, interviewing witnesses, researching similar cases, gathering evidence, creating exhibits for use in trials and consulting expert witnesses when necessary.

Federal courthouse - Criminal Defense LawyersAbout 90% of all criminal defense cases never go to trial. This can happen for different reasons. Sometimes, the defendant decides to plead guilty and accept a lighter sentence or penalty. For many cases, a plea bargain is reached between both parties, so there is no need to go to trial. In some instances, the case is dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

There are hundreds of criminal cases that are tried in courts of law around the country ever year. Some of them are noteworthy because they have either affected changes to existing laws or because they have been featured in the national news headlines. Most cases, however, are ones that you’ve never heard of. Other cases you’ve probably heard of, but usually for the wrong reasons.

Examples of Infamous Federal Crimes

The Fairfield, CT Bank Robbery Case

In Fairfield, Connecticut. would-be thieves Albert Bailey and an underage associate decided to take a courteous approach to bank robbing. They decided to call the bank ahead of time to let them know they were going to be robbed!

Albert informed the bank employee that he reached that he would be expecting a bag of $100,000.00 cash to be waiting for them. If not, he insinuated that “there would be a blood bath.” The bank employee who received the call calmly called the local authorities and started initiating lock down procedures immediately afterwards.

Soon enough, Albert’s teenage accomplice strolled into the bank and casually informed a teller that he was there to pick up their money. Albert was waiting nearby in a getaway car. The employee handed the accomplice the money, but forgot to inform him that there was a dye pack inside. Albert had specifically asked for a bag full of cash without dye packs, but it seems that instruction was forgotten somehow.

The police arrested the two attempted bank robbers in mere minutes, but not until after the dye pack exploded, leaving the aspiring criminals in a colorful, sticky mess in Albert’s getaway car. These two learned the hard way that banks don’t take kindly to being called and told they are going to be robbed!

The Ocala, Florida Credit Card Thief

Credit card theft is no laughing matter, except of course when the thief poses for a picture of themselves holding the stolen credit card! Mashana Harris was arrested in Ocala, Florida on multiple felony counts after having fraudulently used someone else’s credit card to ring up about $500 of purchases from a local gas station and beauty supply store. When ringing up the transaction at the beauty store, the clerk asked Harris for her ID. Harris replied that she didn’t have ID with her. However, she did allow the store clerk to take a photo of her holding the credit card, which was soon discovered to have been stolen.

The victim in this case reported the card as stolen not long before this incident. The senior citizen had lost the card at a nearby Wal-Mart and had called the police after seeing several fraudulent charges appear on her monthly credit card bill. Needless to say, she was overjoyed when she was informed that her credit card was found and the culprit had been apprehended. Harris was found to have a rather lengthy rap sheet, with prior convictions for resisting arrest and larceny. It’s probably safe to say that she will never again pose for a selfie with a stolen credit card ever again!

The Colorado Identity Bandit

Identity theft cases have been on the rise in recent years. While most criminals take every precaution to ensure they don’t get caught, wisdom was apparently not one of this thief’s strong suits.

Brianna Priddy, an Applebee’s waitress in Colorado, had recently had her wallet stolen. She never expected to see her money, credit cards or identification cards ever again. That is, until the day a customer with a fake ID came in to her restaurant and started ordering drinks.

Sure enough, the ID the customer was using was Priddy’s! Brianna had known the thief was somewhere nearby, because her checkbook had also been stolen and she had noticed that someone had recently started writing bad checks all around town. When she received her ID from the customer, she was shocked. Brianna calmly told the customer to wait a minute, as she left her station to call the local authorities.

She returned to the table with the drink order, doing her best to keep a straight face as she waited for the police to arrive. The suspect was soon arrested on multiple counts of identity theft, criminal impersonation and narcotics possession. Unbelievably, she never noticed that the picture on the ID card belonged to her server. This is one rare instance of the victim of an identity theft case being in the right place at the right time.

Theft Offenses & The Texas Legal System

Understanding Texas Law & Theft Cases

The Texas Penal code statute includes almost all methods of stealing, transferring or possessing another person’s property without their consent.

The penal code states, a person commits theft when they appropriate property with intent to deprive the owner of the property without effective consent, knowing it was stolen or believing it was stolen.

There exist several industries or items that have been prone to theft and the theft statute addresses these areas and imposes requirements on persons who either deal or work with these items. These areas that are regulated by the penal theft code include persons, buying used cars, pawnshops, and restricted use pesticide.

If you’re facing criminal charges in connection with a theft offense in Brazoria County or Angleton, TX, don’t hesitate to contact Defense Lawyer Tad Nelson for legal representation.

Texas Law & Used Cars

The first requirements are imposed upon a person that purchases a used car. The penal code requires a person who buys a used car to take certain actions, and if you acquire a used car without taking these actions if the used car that you have purchased is reported stolen, then you will be held criminally liable. The penal code states a person who buys a used car without a title they should report to the Texas Department of Transportation and if the person does not take steps to report that they didn’t receive a title from the seller and or doesn’t file with the county tax assessor not later than the 20th day after the sale, the registration, license receipt and title or evidence of the title then that person is presumed to have known it was stolen.

Texas Laws & Pawn Shops

According to the penal code, a pawn shop must take certain action if they don’t take specific steps and they end up in possession of stolen property the criminal code presumes to have known it was stolen. The criminal code states that if a pawnshop or a loaner cash advance business pays for a loan more than $25 against an item and doesn’t record the name, address, description or identification of the seller and record a complete description of the property including the serial number and obtained a signed warranty of the right to possess the property then they are presumed to have known it was stolen.

The penal code on the restricted use pesticide.

Certain agricultural chemicals may be harmful, and they may be used to create powerful improvised explosive devices or be used to manufacture illegal substances. The penal code states if a person acquires a controlled use pesticide or one that has been limited by the states for use from a source other than a licensed retailer and they do not record the name, address and physical description of the seller or the amount and type of substance and or obtain a signed warranty of the right to possess the property, then they are presumed to have known it was stolen.

In Texas, theft is primarily graded by the number of losses incurred though there are other specifications which include theft of livestock, firearms, and metals.

Criminal Defense for Texas Murder Cases

In December 2015, Disaster Center compiled a report using data from FBI and other law enforcement agencies across United States. It was found out that Texas alone reported 1,316 murders, a 7.3% spike from the previous year’s 11,123 cases. These incidences, however, remained steady at 13,304 cases in 2016.

1/3rd of Texas Murders Are of African Decent

The worst affected racial group by homicide was African Americans, accounting for over a third of reported cases. Houston and Dallas were the cities most hit by the homicide wave followed by Fort Worth. San Antonio saw the fastest rise in murder cases. 67% of the murders were committed using guns while Knives and Cutting objects were weapons of choice in the 15% of total cases.

Texas Laws on Murder

Murder is knowingly doing an act that leads to loss of life of another person or causing the death of the person while attempting an act that was intended to inflict serious harm to the individual.

In other states and jurisdictions, intentional murder that attracts capital punishment is defined as First Degree Murder. In Texas, this form of murder is identified as Capital Murder. The defendant should meet the following requirements to be considered competent enough to stand conviction;

The defendant should have knowingly or directly caused the death of the person in question.

He/she should have forethought to injure and perpetrate an act considered to be life threatening and the action was the eventual cause of the individual’s death.

He/she should have tried to execute a felony (Besides the manslaughter) and in executing the felony, did an act that led to the killing of the individual in the question.

One of the following should be met for the offense to be considered as a Capital Murder and not merely Murder.

  • If the killed individual was a police officer or fireman on duty when the offense took place.
  • If the defendant hired or was hired by a third party to commit murder.
  • If murder was committed while the defendant was trying to escape from police custody or prison.
  • In case the defendant killed the victim and another one person or more.
  • If the defendant killed a child not older than six years.
  • If the defendant retaliates by killing a person related to or in connection to a member of the judicial team.

Capital murder attracts a life sentence in prison without parole under Texan federal law. In case of murder resulting to first degree felony, a prison sentence of over 5 years and less than 99 years is recommended with a fine not more than $10,000.

Manslaughter is a second degree felony under Texan federal law. It refers to carelessly causing the death of another person. It brings between 2 and 20 years imprisonment with it.

Criminally negligent murder results when an individual causes the death of another person by disregarding standard operating procedures or code for a sane person in a given environment. The punishment involves a sentence between 180 days to2 years in prison.

The homicide section on Bennett & Bennett’s website is very thorough when it comes to explaining the various caveats for the different types of murder offenses.

Criminal Defense

Criminal defense refers arguments and strategies the defendant employs to counter the accuracy of evidence presented by the prosecution.

Due to complex Texas laws concerning murder and capital murder offenses, the defendant requires a capital murder attorney. There are, however, two choices for the defendant in establishing a defense. The defender can simply insist that the murder was justified or declare his/her innocence. The defendant can also argue the murder took place while he/she was acting on self defiance. Sufficient evidence must however, be produced to support the claim.

The prosecutor’s job in the murder case is to prove the suspect’s guilt and prescribe the harshest punishment possible. The defendant will be considered innocent until the prosecutor clears the burden of proof. The prosecution panel must therefore prove murder was premeditated, deliberate and willfully committed by the defendant.

When can a defiant challenge presented witness

  • Accidental Murder- The killing took place while performing a lawful activity.
  • Insanity- If a psychiatric report proves the defendant has mental instability.
  • Exercise of duty- Incase the defendant was a law enforcement officer and carried the killing under the law.
  • Self Defense- Incase the defendant’s own life was under threat necessitating protection.
  • Mistaken Identity- If the defendant is being wrongfully indicted as the main suspect.

Criminal Defense for Texas Murder Cases

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