When a crime is committed on federal property, that crime can be elevated to a federal charge—even if it would normally be pursued at the state or local level. Unfortunately, federal property crimes are much more severe than the state equivalent. The result can be a seemingly minor offense turning into a serious felony with a lifetime of repercussions. If you stand charged with a federal property crime, don’t face it alone. You need to talk to an experienced Los Angeles federal property crimes lawyer.
At the Simmrin Law Group, we offer legal help from some of the best federal defense lawyers in the state. We built our law firm on a simple belief: you are innocent until you’re proven guilty. This belief led us to form a hand-picked team of lawyers including some of California’s heaviest hitters, with an emphasis on tackling federal charges—and winning. Let us give you a FREE consultation to show you how we can help you fight your case. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
What counts as a federal property crime?
Technically, any crime committed while on the premises of federal property can be charged as a federal offense. This includes post offices, federal government offices, military bases and other federal land. Even national parks and national forests count as federal property for the purpose of property crimes.
“Crimes on federal land are considered an offense against the nation itself, even if they had nothing to do with the government.”
In general, any crime is considered more serious if it targets the federal government or takes place on federal property. This is because any threat to the federal government is considered a threat to the stability of our country, and any crime on federal land is considered an offense against the U.S. government itself. Unfortunately, this legal doctrine is maintained even when the crime in question had nothing to do with the government. For example, simple graffiti on the back wall of a federal courthouse would be punished as a federal offense, even if it was not anti-government and didn’t seek to attack the U.S. in any way.
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What are the most common federal property crimes?
Although any crime becomes a federal offense on federal property, some are more common than others. These include:
- Drug Offenses
These crimes are the most common because they can easily be committed with innocent intention while on federal property. For example, the goal of theft at a federal facility may be to simply steal a small, inexpensive object—but it is still treated as a crime against the U.S. government. In some cases, even neglecting to pay for an envelope at the post office could count as a federal crime.
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What counts as federal property/U.S. government land?
Federal property can include:
- Many airports
- All U.S. Post Offices
- Any national park or national forest
- Military bases
- Government buildings or complexes and their grounds
- Federal courthouses
- Parking lots located on federal land
- National monuments
- Any property owned or operated by by a federal agency
In some cases, the land or roads surrounding a federal property also count as federal property for the purposes of charging a crime.
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What makes a federal property crime different from other charges?
Several things make it different:
- You will be prosecuted at the federal level. This is bad news. Federal prosecutors are experienced and can draw the resources of well-funded agencies like the FBI. They tend to put together stronger cases and have a high conviction rate—although it’s still possible to beat them.
- You will likely face a felony. Many property crimes are misdemeanors at the state level, or are only felonies under certain circumstances. At the federal level, it is not only a federal crime but also a felony in most cases. A conviction brands you with convicted felon status which affects your career and other factors.
- The penalties are more severe. State charges often carry jail time or can be negotiated to no incarceration at all. Federal charges typically carry long prison sentences. The fines are also much worse.
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Is it true I can be prosecuted by the state as well as the federal government?
The U.S. Constitution guarantees that no citizen will be subject to “double jeopardy,” or being convicted of the same crime twice. Unfortunately, this has been interpreted as meaning you can’t face the same charge twice—and federal charges are separate from state charges.
That means that many people find themselves in the awful position of facing two sets of charges for the same crime:
- One set of charges under state law
- A second set of charges under federal law
You can be convicted of either or both, and could serve a combined sentence for both crimes. We consider this a horrible injustice and we fight to save you from both charges.
Is it possible to defend against a federal property crime?
Absolutely. We have attorneys who have focused their entire careers on federal offenses and routinely win cases against the federal government.
The best defense will depend on your case, but some of the most effective can include:
- Moving that the case be moved to state court rather than federal court
- Challenging the evidence itself, and potentially getting the case dismissed
- Documenting any violation of your rights, which can also get your case dismissed or make it much easier to win
- Striking a plea bargain that reduces the charge or involves no prison time
Federal offenses are severe and you should not face them with just any defense lawyer. Talk to someone with experience at the federal level.
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One federal conviction can take away years of your life—and affect your rights forever. Don’t face the prosecutor alone. The lawyers of the Simmrin Law Group are ready to help you—and we will give you a FREE consultation to answer your questions and help you get started. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.