Tampa Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Tampa Federal Criminal Attorney Serving All Florida

Federal criminal convictions bring with them the possibility of lengthy prison sentences without the possibility of parole, expensive fines and asset forfeiture that can leave you with nothing. The U.S. Attorney’s office will have seemingly unlimited financial resources at its disposal.

That is why choosing an attorney who knows how to level the playing field is so crucial. At O’Brien Hatfield, P.A., we have handled hundreds of federal criminal cases. Founding attorney Mark J. O’Brien — a former prosecutor — and the rest of our lawyers can protect your legal rights and help you build a strong defense against nearly any type of federal criminal charge.

While we are located in Tampa and Orlando, we can defend clients throughout Florida and across the country.

Are Federal Crimes Worse Than State?

In general, federal criminal charges are more serious than state-level charges. All federal charges are felonies. Any criminal charge needs to be taken seriously, but this is especially true if you are charged in federal court.

Federal Criminal Penalties In Florida

Your potential sentence for a federal crime depends on what you are convicted of. Federal sentencing guidelines impose sentence based on the severity of the crime and how many prior convictions you have (if any). For a low-level offense and no prior convictions, you might avoid prison and receive probation instead. But the more severe the offense and the longer your criminal record, the longer the possible prison sentence — the maximum possible sentence being life behind bars.

Signs You Could Be Under Criminal Investigation

Wondering if you are being investigated for allegedly committing a federal crime? Here are some signs your suspicions are likely right.

  • A federal agent shows up at your home and asks to speak to you
  • Federal investigators arrive at your home or workplace with a search warrant
  • You receive a subpoena to testify before a grand jury
  • A federal prosecutor sends you a target letter asking you to come to their office to speak with them

If any of these things happen, we can help you protect your rights and decide what your next move should be.

What Is A Target Letter?

The target letter is a notification that you have been under investigation for having committed one or more federal criminal offenses. Target letters generally advise you of your rights, including your right to a criminal defense lawyer and your right not to testify and possibly incriminate yourself. A person can be involved in a criminal case in 3 ways: witness, subject, target.

Here is a sample target letter:

Sample Federal Target Letter

What Are The Most Common Federal Crimes?

Common federal charges can be divided into seven categories:

  • White-collar crimes like tax evasion, embezzlement and money laundering
  • Drug crimes like possession and trafficking
  • Immigration-related offenses
  • Murder
  • Being a felon in possession of a firearm
  • Child pornography crimes
  • Treason

Many of these crimes are also illegal under Florida law. To be charged at the federal level, a federal court must have jurisdiction. Often, this means you are accused of committing a crime across state lines, such as by using the internet to defraud someone in a different state.

Defending People In Federal Courts Throughout Florida

It is important that you contact our office as soon as you learn you are under federal investigation. We can walk you through how the federal criminal process works and what your options are. We can help with charges related to:

Federal trials and plea negotiations are exceedingly complex, and not just any criminal defense lawyer has the experience to handle them. Our attorneys at O’Brien Hatfield, P.A., understand federal sentencing guidelines and how they will affect you. We can craft a case strategy that gives you the best chance of resolving your case in a positive manner.

In the case of USA v. BLANGO, our client faced a mandatory sentence of 82 years in prison and up to 143 years in prison per the sentencing guidelines. We achieved two “not guilty” verdicts on the charges of Armed Bank Robbery and two “not guilty” verdicts for Using and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence. See more federal case results.

Could A Lack Of Awareness About The Commission Of A Federal Crime Serve As A Defense In Court?

Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense in court. However, there are a few specific situations where a lack of awareness about the commission of a federal crime might serve as a defense:

  • Insanity is when you are unable to understand the nature and consequences of your actions.
  • Entrapment by Estoppel is where a government official’s actions or statements reasonably lead you to believe that your conduct is legal, and you rely on that belief to your detriment.
  • A public authority defense is where you are acting under the express or implied authorization of a government agency or official, leading you to believe that your actions are lawful.

Our attorneys will help determine whether any of these defenses apply to your specific situation and advise you on the best course of action to take in your legal defense.

Can I Appeal My Federal Criminal Conviction? How Likely Am I To Succeed?

In Florida, almost every defendant gets a chance to appeal their federal criminal conviction. The grounds for appeal may include:

  • You have reason to believe one of the jurors had a conflict of interest or was ineligible
  • The judge unfairly denied your legitimate motion to dismiss
  • Incorrect interpretation of the law, making the judge’s ruling wrong
  • Wrongful denial of a legitimate motion to suppress information
  • Inadequate training of the jurors by the judge before deliberations
  • Unethical or improper behavior by the prosecutor that unfairly prejudiced the jury against you
  • Violations of your constitutional rights during investigation, trial or sentencing
  • New evidence that was not available at trial and could exonerate you
  • The sentencing judge made errors in determining your sentence, such as miscalculating guidelines or ignoring mitigating factors

Federal appeals are complex, and having a team of experienced and passionate lawyers by your side can greatly enhance your chances of success. We can help you understand your options and guide you through the appellate process, ensuring that every avenue for overturning your conviction is explored thoroughly.

Charged With A Federal Crime? Contact Us.

Our law firm has a sterling track record of helping our clients resolve serious federal criminal charges throughout Florida. Call us today at 813-440-2347 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.