Tampa Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
With more than 1,200 federal cases handled over 35 years,
Joffe Law, P.A. has the experience & skill to best defend you
Initially, the serious implications of a federal crime often isn’t fully understood. The legal process can feel complex, confusing and in some cases, devastating to those being accused of or charged with this type of crime. Federal judges adhere to different (and more strict) sentencing guidelines than state judges. Mandatory minimum sentences tend to be much longer for federal crimes, which can be added on top of state charges for the same offense. In some cases, multiple counts of a single federal charge can lead to decades in prison. This makes it critical to have an expert, private Tampa federal criminal lawyer in your corner from day one. If you are accused of a federal crime or suspect that federal charges may be brought against you, take action immediately. Doing so may help you protect your rights, assets and family. Charges may be reduced or lessened in severity if they are addressed properly and quickly.
Why not go with a public defender for my federal case?
While public defenders in Tampa typically are well-meaning, these dedicated public servants often are burdened by heavy caseloads or extremely busy schedules. That could mean less time to prepare for your case. When your very way of living is threatened, a private Tampa federal defense attorney can give your case the time and attention it demands. Joffe Law, P.A. has defended more than 1,200 federal cases over the past 35 years, offering a wealth of experience for your unique, complex case. Watch our video on the differences between a private counsel and a public defender.
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.
Federal crimes vs. state crimes
When you’re charged, knowing the difference between federal and state crimes is vital. Federal charges can carry much more weight than similar crimes prosecuted at a state level.
The main difference between federal crimes and state crimes is that federal crimes break the specific laws set by United States federal agencies. State crimes don’t necessarily break federal laws. Florida has different laws and constitutions from other states, and some crimes could overlap. Any infraction of a federal legal code is classified as a federal crime, which typically carries longer mandatory sentences and significantly higher fines.
Prosecuting crimes at both the state and federal level
In Florida, defendants can be prosecuted at the state and federal levels for the same offense. This means that a federal crime may have additional consequences if it also happens to violate a state law. While the Constitution’s double jeopardy clause could protect the accused from being tried again for the same crime with the same evidence if a valid acquittal or conviction has been reached, “dual sovereignty” – reaffirmed by the United States Supreme Court in 2019 – makes federal crimes exempt from this protection. Crimes prosecuted at both levels can lead to longer sentences, greater fines and larger asset loss. This is just one of the reasons that retaining an experienced defense attorney is so critical. Your Tampa federal defense lawyer could shield you from certain consequences and potentially uncomfortable legal procedures.
Tampa federal criminal defense attorney David Joffe
proudly defends the following types of cases…
In the United States, a federal offense is an act that has been made illegal by national legislation. In most federal criminal cases, federal government agencies are involved. These agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the United States Postal Service (USPS). In this section, Tampa federal criminal attorney David Joffe discusses some of the most commonly prosecuted federal crimes in Tampa.
Federal drug crimes in Tampa
While drug offenses can be prosecuted at both state and federal levels, federal drug charges are almost always filed for the following crimes in Tampa:
Trafficking of illegal drugs occurs when narcotics are transported over state lines, or internationally. Type and quantity of drug factor in to conviction and sentencing, and additional related charges are possible. For example, if firearms are discovered in a vehicle allegedly used to smuggle drugs, state and/or federal weapons charges are likely to accompany trafficking charges, increasing the chance of a longer prison sentence upon conviction.
Prescription drug fraud
Tampa is facing an Opioid epidemic and the feds have increasingly taken notice. Fraud involving prescription drugs is a federal crime that occurs when people take prescription drugs – usually controlled substances – that weren’t legally prescribed to them. Pharmacists, doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners could be charged with type of federal offense if they use their prescribing privileges to profit from the sale of narcotics or similar prescription drugs.
Tampa white collar crimes
While white collar federal crimes may sound less threatening than certain others, they can carry lengthy prison sentences and serious real-life repercussions. White collar crimes in Tampa usually involve nonviolent, financially motivated infringements of federal law. Some are closely related, meaning multiple charges are possible. Your Tampa federal criminal lawyer can best explain the differences and potential impacts.
Charges of money laundering are brought by the feds against people suspected of concealing the source of their income. Those who commit this crime often engage in illegal activities to obtain large sums of money, and related federal criminal charges are likely.
If a person uses money to pay for something different from what those funds were intended, he or she could face embezzlement charges. Siphoning, check kiting and Ponzi schemes are classic examples of embezzlement.
Federal bribery charges typically are filed when someone offers money or other items of value to public officials in an attempt to influence their actions. Public officials include police officers, judges and politicians. If public officials are caught accepting these bribes, they, too, could be charged with federal bribery.
Racketeering and RICO refer to acts of a criminal nature that are used to illegally acquire businesses. They also can involve business owners who obtain funds illegally to operate legitimate businesses, or those using seemingly legitimate businesses for illegal activity. Crimes that fall in this category often are related to one or more of the aforementioned white collar crimes, and multiple charges are possible.
Federal fraud offenses in Tampa
Fraud at the federal level can refer to many different types offenses that are closely related. In general, fraud is any type of intentional deception or misrepresentation that financially benefits one party to the detriment of another. The federal government penalizes many different types of fraud, and specific penalties are associated with each type. Some people commit fraud accidentally or are unaware that they’ve committed a crime at all. For that reason, retaining an experienced Tampa federal defense attorney can mean the difference between a slap on the wrist and a lengthy imprisonment.
When a person is caught knowingly partaking in a scheme to defraud a financial institution, he or she likely will need the expertise of a Tampa bank fraud lawyer. This type of fraud is aggressively prosecuted at the federal level, and potential consequences are severe.
Bankruptcy fraud occurs when someone conceals assets in an attempt to avoid losing them in the bankruptcy. It often involves filling out misleading or incomplete information on related forms. Some people commit this type of federal crime numerous times spanning multiple states, making multiple charges – and counts – possible.
Credit Card Fraud
Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards involves using stolen credit cards (or their numbers) to defraud a financial institution of goods, services or other valuable items. Because banks often are the issuers of credit cards, bank fraud charges also are possible.
Health Care Fraud
The crime of health care fraud (or Medicare fraud) occurs when medical practitioners or facilities bill insurance companies for services that are not necessary, or that were not performed. It could also involve falsifying diagnoses, claims or services. Medical providers who receive kickbacks or prescribe medications that are not necessary also could face charges of healthcare fraud in Tampa.
Insurance fraud is the act of defrauding an insurance company or agent for the purpose of financial gain. Examples of this crime include faking accidents and their related injuries or falsifying theft or damage claims on cars, boats, homes, businesses or other property. This type of fraud is a broad category that overlaps some of the other fraud sub-types in this section.
Use of the Internet to scam others is known as Internet fraud, and there are many ways this federal crime may be committed. The most common types of schemes involve email phishing, fake tech support, dating scams, phony virus warnings, ransomware demands and Nigerian 419 schemes.
Mail & Wire Fraud
Mail and wire fraud cases usually are tried at the federal level because both involve the crossing of state lines, and because the United States Postal Service is a federal entity. Wire and mail fraud charges are among the most commonly pursued by federal prosecutors in Tampa, and can carry sentences of up to 30 years in prison per count.
There are two main categories of mortgage fraud. The first is “fraud for profit,” which involves the lending process for mortgages being used to steal money and other items of value from homeowners or lenders. “Fraud for housing” schemes occur when someone intentionally provides erroneous information in an attempt to influence a loan or appraisal of a Tampa property.
Also commonly referred to as insider trading, securities fraud occurs when an insider uses deception to influence stock market investors into buying or selling stocks based on false information. These transactions often result in substantial monetary losses for investors.
Using the telephone to obtain money by falsely promising goods or services constitutes telemarketing fraud. Examples include magazine subscription scams, charity fraud and lottery/sweepstakes winner claims.
Sex offenses in Tampa
The penalties for sex crimes convictions transcend the prison sentence. People convicted of felony sex offenses are required to register with the National Sex Offender Registry, meaning that your case is public record. Even after you’re released from prison, it could be impossible to find housing or employment. Prosecutors aggressively pursue sex offenses, making it imperative that you contact a Tampa sex crimes attorney immediately after you’re arrested, or if you suspect you might be under investigation of a sex offense.
Child Pornography Charges
Possession of child pornography involves the viewing and downloading of digital images or videos which depict minors engaging in sexual acts. Transmission and production of this type of Internet pornography typically carry sentences that are more severe.
A person commits child molestation by engaging in sexual contact with a minor under the age of 18. Severity of penalty upon conviction is contingent upon the age of the victim. Typically, the lower the age of the victim, the lengthier the prison sentence.
Human trafficking – also referred to as ‘modern-day slavery – occurs when someone is forced to perform labor or engage in commercial sexual acts. It often involves smuggling people into the United States from other countries, and carries some of the harshest penalties of all federal crimes.
Chat Room Charges
Federal agents sometimes pose as underage individuals in chat rooms to catch adults who attempt to coerce them into illegal activities, including in-person sex acts or the exchange of pornographic images or videos. Such federal sting operations have become more common in recent years, and prosecutors work hard to secure convictions in chat room charge cases.
Can I appeal a federal case post-conviction?
In Tampa, a federal appeal may be filed after conviction in a federal case if the losing party sees cause to challenge the trial court’s proceedings or the way the law was applied. Successful appeals could result in a reduction in charges or outright dismissal. Federal appeals are extremely complex and require the services of an expert Tampa federal defense lawyer like David Joffe, who has handled more than 1,200.
What should I expect from
my Tampa federal criminal lawyer?
You’re considering hiring private counsel. Naturally, you’re wondering, “What do I get for my money?” The quick answer is “peace of mind.” Once you retain counsel, you’re no longer going it alone, and you no longer have to worry that the public defender previously assigned to your case is overburdened by dozens of others. Your federal attorney will examine all of the facts of your case, and will advise you on your best course of action. Because no two cases are alike, it’s a given that two strategies are alike.
Your federal defense lawyer will help you make some big decisions regarding your next move. He or she will inform you of what you can expect to happen next, and what may happen as your case moves forward. Counsel will help you decide whether your case merits your cooperation with the federal government. Whether or not you cooperate will depend on the severity of potential charges and evidence that could be used against you. In addition, your Tampa federal criminal attorney will help you decide or understand:
- if you will enter into an early plea of negotiations;
- if you wish to enter into an early plea of negotiations is also a big decision;
- what kinds of federal charges (if any) may be filed against you;
- if a plea agreement can be reached before any charges are filed;
- the severity of your case. Your attorney will listen to your case or the information you provide and let you know what you should expect. In some cases, you may find that your situation is less severe that you may have previously thought. In other cases, you may find out that things are far more difficult than you can handle on your own as a civilian.
In some cases, favorable plea agreements may be reached before any official charges are filed or added to your record. This is why it is so important to contact a Tampa federal defense lawyer from the very beginning stages of your case. David Joffe, P.A. is a law firm dedicated to defending those who are facing serious federal charges. We have more than 35 years of experience handling such cases, and stand ready to help you beginning right NOW. Call us at (813) 591-5558 immediately for a consultation.
Do’s and Don’ts after being arrested
and charged with a federal crime
What you say and do after being arrested and booked on federal charges could have a significant impact on your case. Criminal lawyers usually advise those accused of federal crimes not to speak with anyone until they consult with their attorney. Why? Because “anything you say will be used against you” in court, as explained to you when you were read your Miranda rights. Legally, police and investigators are permitted to lie to you. For example, they might tell you that if you cooperate “now,” prosecutors will “go easier on you.” In reality, police and investigators have zero clout with the feds, and you could easily seal your fate by cooperating. For this reason alone, it’s not advisable that you speak with anyone until you’ve consulted with your Tampa federal defense attorney.
- Remain silent. There’s a reason you’re advised to do so at the beginning of the Miranda warning. Let your federal lawyer do the talking for you.
- Remain calm. While easier said than done, it’s imperative that you maintain your composure until you meet with your attorney. There is no benefit to you losing control and perhaps blurting out something in anger that you might regret later.
- Give your name and address. This is required by law. You are not required to answer questions. If you have no intentions of saying anything further, tell police or investigators, in no uncertain terms, that you will not speak without your attorney present.
- Follow basic instructions. If you’re moved from one location to another, or if you’re told to stand still (or a certain way) for a mug shot, do so. Law enforcement follows a set procedure during the booking process which is closely followed and enforced. Cooperation on these items is not voluntary.
- Ask for a federal criminal lawyer. This is mentioned many times here for a reason. Counsel will advise you on what should or should not be said. Better yet, your Tampa federal defense attorney will speak on your behalf. Legally, once you have requested an attorney, questioning must stop and your request must be granted.
- Be truthful with your attorney. Your lawyer is there to help you, not judge you. The best way to help yourself is to give as many accurate details of your case as possible. You are protected by attorney-client privilege, which means all your communications with counsel are kept private. Once your Tampa federal defense lawyer has a complete understanding of the circumstances surrounding your case, he or she will advise you on your best legal options.
- resist arrest. You may be innocent, but you won’t accomplish anything positive trying to prove it here. You will get a chance to tell your story. You will have your day in court. The last thing you need is additional charges for resisting arrest.
- argue with police. They could try to bait you into losing your cool in an attempt to gain information. Don’t fall for it.
- act in a threatening manner. Keep your hands where they can easily be seen, and don’t act in an abusive manner. While it’s understandable that you’re confused and scared, you could face additional charges if you lose control and assault a police officer. Such actions could also place your life in danger if law enforcement concludes that self defense is necessary to neutralize you.
- let them search your property. This, of course, doesn’t apply if they have a search warrant. Absent a warrant; however, you do not have a legal obligation to allow them access to your property. If they claim they have a warrant, ask to see it. Without a warrant in hand, they may not enter unless you permit it.
- discuss details during your phone call. When you’re allowed to make your one call, keep it brief and do not say anything that could be overheard. Do not permit law enforcement to listen in on your conversation with counsel.
- believe everything you’re told. Some overzealous police officers or investigators might try to intimidate you into saying something that might incriminate you. Just remember: Ask for an attorney and remain silent until your consultation.
FAQs: Answered by David Joffe, a
Tampa federal defense attorney near me
Are federal criminal defense attorneys free?
You may select a public defender, whose services will be provided to you free of charge by the government. A private Tampa federal defense lawyer like David Joffe does not provide services free of charge. So, what’s the difference between a public defender and private counsel? While public defenders generally are well-meaning, they often are overloaded with cases, which could severely limit the time spent on your defense. When a person’s future is on the line, many choose to hire a private federal defense attorney who can ensure that the case gets the time and attention it needs for the most potent defense possible.
What types of cases does a Tampa federal criminal lawyer handle?
A defense attorney who specializes in federal cases typically handles serious criminal cases involving drugs, white collar offenses, fraud and sex offenses. Federal charges often are leveled when an alleged crime is commissioned in more than one state. Federal charges usually carry harsher sentences than state charges, making it all the more imperative that you retain a criminal attorney with a proven track record of successfully defending federal cases.
When should I call a federal defense attorney?
Contact a federal defense lawyer immediately after you’re arrested. If you suspect you might be under investigation or indicted for a federal crime, take advantage of a criminal attorney’s free consultation. Doing so familiarizes counsel with your situation and could helps you understand best understand what to expect if you’re arrested. The sooner you make the call, the greater your chances for a positive outcome for your complex case.
What are the differences in sentencing for state and federal convictions?
Prison time resulting from a conviction on federal charges is usually 85% higher than it is from convictions at the state level. Your sentence can be even longer if you are prosecuted at both federal and state levels. The right federal criminal lawyer could help you significantly decrease the amount of time that’s normally served for similar crimes. Counsel will fight to protect your rights and help you find the best options in these types of situations.
What if I didn’t know I committing a federal crime?
In the eyes of the Court, ignorance of federal law is not an excuse, and therefore not a viable defense. However, judges sometimes could be more lenient with first-time offenders or those who seemingly had good intentions and legitimately didn’t know they were committing a crime. Each case – and judge – is different.
Can the feds still prosecute if a grand jury doesn’t indict?
Without an indictment from a grand jury, charges still are possible if the prosecutor successfully convinces a judge that he or she has enough evidence to warrant a trial.