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Harrison & Hart takes the tough cases.

No matter the case, we’re dedicated to finding the best possible outcome. While we can’t guarantee a particular result, we’ll fight for you at every turn and with our experience, we’ve likely handled a case like yours.

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New Federal Sentencing Guidelines: Can You Get a Sentence Reduction?

In August 2023, the U.S. Sentencing Commission made significant changes to the federal sentencing guidelines that could result in shorter prison sentences for thousands of individuals. If you have a loved one who is currently incarcerated or awaiting sentencing, it’s crucial to understand these revisions and how they might impact their case.

If you believe your loved one may qualify for a sentence reduction under the updated guidelines, seek legal assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney at Harrison & Hart. We can review your loved one’s case, determine their eligibility, and guide you through the process of applying for a reduced sentence.

Understand the Key Changes

The most notable update relates to how a defendant’s criminal history is factored into their sentence. Previously, individuals with no prior criminal records (known as “zero-point offenders”) were treated the same as those with criminal histories when calculating their sentencing range.

However, under the new federal guidelines, zero-point offenders whose offenses did not involve aggravating factors like violence or firearms will have their offense levels reduced by two levels. This change could potentially reduce sentences by months or even years for some offenders.

When Will the Changes Take Effect?

The new amendments went into effect on November 1, 2023, for those awaiting sentencing. For individuals already incarcerated, the changes applied retroactively starting on February 1, 2024. The three-month delay was intended to allow those released early to receive necessary reentry programs and transitional services, promoting their successful reintegration into society and enhancing public safety.

Who Can Seek a Reduced Sentence?

The amendments aim to increase fairness and reduce overly harsh sentences, particularly for non-violent, first-time offenders. Those convicted of lower-level drug offenses or white-collar crimes are among those who could benefit the most from these changes.

However, not everyone will qualify for a sentence reduction. To be eligible, defendants must meet specific criteria, including:

  • Having no prior criminal history points
  • Not having committed offenses involving terrorism, hate crimes, sex offenses, civil rights violations, or continuing criminal enterprises
  • Not having caused death, serious injury, or substantial financial hardship in connection with the offense
  • Not having possessed or used firearms or other dangerous weapons during the offense

If your loved one meets these qualifications, they may be eligible for a reduced sentence under the new guidelines.

How Will These Changes Help?

The updates to the federal sentencing guidelines don’t just impact future cases – they also provide a path for thousands of currently incarcerated individuals to potentially get their sentences reduced retroactively.

However, implementing retroactive sentence reductions is a major undertaking. The U.S. Sentencing Commission recognized that the courts and prison system would need adequate time to review petitions and prepare for the safe release and reentry of those receiving reduced sentences.

That’s why they built in a 3-month delay, setting the effective date for retroactive application as February 1, 2024. This will allow all parties involved – judges, lawyers, prison officials, and more – to get ready for the changes.

How Many People Will Be Affected?

So how many people might benefit from getting their sentences reduced retroactively? According to the Commission’s estimates from July 2023:

  • 11,495 currently incarcerated individuals could have their sentencing range lowered under the “status points” provisions, resulting in an average 11.7% reduction in their sentence lengths.
  • 7,272 currently incarcerated individuals are expected to be eligible for reduced sentencing ranges as “zero-point offenders” with no prior criminal histories. For them, the average sentence reduction could be a substantial 17.6%.

These numbers represent thousands of people, many of them likely non-violent offenders, who may get a second chance thanks to the revised guidelines promoting more proportional sentencing.

The Commission carefully analyzed this issue from all angles before voting to apply the changes retroactively. They reviewed data, heard testimony from experts and stakeholders across the legal system, and ultimately concluded that reducing excessive sentences would increase fairness while maintaining public safety.

Get Help from a Criminal Defense Attorney with Harrison & Hart Today

At Harrison & Hart LLC, our team of dedicated attorneys is well-versed in the intricacies of the federal sentencing guidelines and committed to fighting for the rights of our clients and their families. We understand the profound impact these changes can have on your loved one’s future, and we’re here to help you navigate this opportunity.

Contact us today at (505) 295-3261 for a free consultation and let us explore the possibilities of a reduced sentence for your loved one under the new federal sentencing guidelines.

What Is a Federal Grand Jury?

You’ve probably heard about the important role of the grand jury in major news stories or legal dramas. But what exactly is a grand jury, and what do they do in federal cases? You may be surprised to learn that grand juries are one of two types of juries that operate at the federal level, each serving unique functions.

Learn more about the grand jury’s purpose, powers, proceedings, and its role in the federal justice system.

When Is a Case Brought Before a Federal Grand Jury?

The right to grand jury indictment is constitutionally required in federal felony cases. Felonies that can be charged at the federal level include white collar crimes, drug trafficking, fraud, or violent crimes.

Who Serves on a Federal Grand Jury?

A federal grand jury is composed of 16 to 23 jurors drawn from the district where the federal court is held. Jurors typically serve around 18 months, but can serve up to 24 months if a judge grants an extension. As with any jury, the selection process aims to produce a group that represents a fair cross-section of the community.

How Does a Federal Grand Jury Work?

The primary function of a federal grand jury is to investigate potential federal offenses and determine whether there is enough evidence to bring formal charges, known as an indictment, against a suspect. Unlike petit juries, which decide the guilt or innocence of a defendant during a trial, grand juries do not determine guilt. Instead, they decide whether there is probable cause to proceed with a prosecution. Grand juries do not meet every day and will hear multiple cases during their term of service.

Broad Powers

A federal grand jury holds expansive authority due to its constitutional role in the justice system. It can initiate investigations without probable cause or suspicion of a crime based on information from any source, including the grand jurors’ own knowledge. This autonomy allows the grand jury to conduct thorough investigations and operate free of the constraints typically required in criminal investigations.

Secrecy Rules

Grand jury proceedings are secret. The only people allowed in the room are the jurors, the prosecutors presenting the case, the court reporter, and witnesses when they testify. This confidentiality is intended to protect the reputation of the accused if they aren’t indicted, protect the jurors, and encourage witnesses to speak freely.

There are some exceptions to the secrecy rules of a federal grand jury. For example, basic demographic juror information isn’t confidential, and disclosure of some information can be authorized to assist foreign investigations. Courts can also authorize disclosures for national security or public interest reasons.

The accused may have limited access to grand jury materials for their defense. Some transcripts may eventually become public records; however, these exceptions are carefully considered to balance competing interests.

Federal Grand Jury Process

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts provides a Grand Juror Handbook with helpful information outlining what to expect in the grand jury process. Federal grand jury proceedings usually follow these steps:

Evidence Presentation and Witness Questioning

The prosecutor, representing the government, presents evidence and calls witnesses to testify before the grand jury. Jurors are active participants in building the case, not passive receivers of information. The jury can request to hear from additional witnesses and or ask for more evidence.

Grand jury witnesses are usually subpoenaed to appear, and a witness’s attorney cannot be present in the room when they testify. Failing to comply with a subpoena is grounds for holding a witness in contempt.

Deliberation and Voting

After hearing all the evidence, the grand jury deliberates in secret. The prosecutor is barred from these deliberations. This independent deliberation highlights the unique role of the grand jury.

For an indictment to be issued, a majority of jurors must agree there is probable cause. In the federal system, at least 12 jurors must vote in favor of an indictment.

Possible Outcomes

If the grand jury finds sufficient evidence and determines the accused should be put on trial, it issues an indictment against the defendant. The indictment is then sealed until the defendant is arrested or appears voluntarily before the court.

If there’s insufficient evidence, the grand jury can decide not to indict. The prosecutor can still pursue charges through a different process depending on the case. They can resubmit the charges if new evidence emerges.

Facing Federal Charges? Call Harrison & Hart, LLC Today

If you are the target of a federal grand jury investigation or learn you’ve been subpoenaed to testify, it’s crucial to understand your rights and work with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Even though an attorney cannot be present if you testify, a lawyer can help you prepare for what’s to come and fight to protect your rights.  Our legal team at Harrison & Hart, LLC will hear your questions and concerns and provide honest advice and guidance based on our years of practice.

Call (505) 295-3261 or contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

What Constitutes Illegal Search and Seizure in New Mexico?

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the privacy of all citizens. You have a right against unreasonable searches and seizures of your personal property from your person, home, business, and other places where you can reasonably expect privacy. There are legal safeguards to protect your privacy against illegal searches and seizures.

New Mexico Search and Seizure Laws

Both state and federal laws protect you against illegal searches and seizures. You cannot be searched, and your property cannot be taken unless law enforcement has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed.

However, specific wording in the New Mexico state constitution makes the application of this 4th Amendment right unique. This wording led to a definitive ruling in the case State v. Gomez.

Because of this case and others, “application of the New Mexico Constitution’s protections regarding search and seizure can lead to better outcomes for criminal defendants than the application of the Fourth Amendment protections enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.” In other words, the New Mexico Constitution offers you more protection than does the U.S. Constitution.

When Is a Warrant Needed?

In most situations, law enforcement must have a search warrant to search a person or their property and seize property.

If an officer has information that indicates you may be involved in a crime, they must seek a warrant from the court. Their request must have enough information to show probable cause that a crime was committed.

If officers want to search a specific person or location, they must have information showing that the person or place was involved in the crime. A police officer cannot just get a warrant based on a hunch.

Exceptions to When a Warrant is Needed

There are some exceptions to when a warrant is necessary, including:

  • The circumstances are emergent
  • The search will protect law enforcement or others from immediate harm
  • Evidence is in plain view of an officer
  • An officer is making an inventory of things collected during an arrest (all other regulations must be followed)
  • The person voluntarily consented to a search

If any exceptions apply, a police officer or investigator may perform a search. If they find illegal objects, they can seize them under these circumstances.

When Is a Search and Seizure Illegal?

A search and seizure is illegal if an officer does not have probable cause that a crime has been committed. If they do not have a warrant to search you and there is no specifically mentioned circumstance as an exception, then any search and seizure may be illegal.

What Happens to Evidence Found Illegally?

Evidence recovered as the result of an illegal search and seizure may be excluded from the case. It would be considered inadmissible because it was obtained illegally.

Evidence obtained from an illegal search and seizure is called “fruit of the poisonous tree.” The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree doctrine excludes illegally obtained evidence.

Your criminal defense attorney can file a motion to exclude evidence obtained illegally. Without that evidence, the prosecutor may not have enough information to support your charges. If that is the case, then your charges may be dismissed.

It’s important to know that there are ways law enforcement can keep this evidence in a case. For example, if the prosecutor can prove it would have been discovered naturally regardless of the illegal search, it may be allowed to stay. You must work with a lawyer who can dispute these claims.

What to Do If You Believe You’ve Been Illegally Searched

It can be hard to challenge the validity of a search and seizure. You will need to have solid proof that your rights were violated.

You may be able to obtain evidence, including the officer’s body camera, eyewitness statements, and the police report. You will likely have to fight against the claims of the law enforcement officer.

If you think you were illegally searched, you should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney and tell them what happened. Write down exactly what happened and collect as much information as possible. Provide your lawyer with as many facts as possible.

Contact Harrison & Hart, LLC Today

If your constitutional rights have been violated, you have options regarding how to proceed. Your best step is to contact a criminal defense lawyer at Harrison & Hart, LLC. We will immediately start working on your case and ensure your rights are protected.

Call us today at (505) 295-3261 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

What Is a Drug Conspiracy Charge?

Drug conspiracy includes an array of drug-related activities. Federal charges result in decades in prison, significant fines, and other severe penalties. You should avoid these charges at all costs.

Types of Drug Conspiracy Charges

Federal drug conspiracy is a crime that may or may not actually involve handling drugs. The government must simply prove that:

  1. There was an agreement between two or more people to break a federal drug law
  2. You knew about the conspiracy and knowingly joined it

You don’t need to have completed the criminal offense to be convicted of drug conspiracy. You must have had intent to commit the crime.

Manufacturing a Controlled Substance 

One of the most common federal drug conspiracy offenses involves manufacturing a controlled substance. This may include growing, processing, extracting, or producing illegal drugs.

Distributing a Controlled Substance 

Planning (or conspiring) to deliver illegal drugs to another person may be considered distributing a controlled substance. You don’t have to exchange money to get convicted of drug conspiracy under the distribution of a controlled substance. Any distribution qualifies under this law, including fake prescriptions, online drug pharmacies, and delivering illegal drugs to another person.

Possessing a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Distribute It

Simple drug possession involves having it on your person or within your control. However, the government may try to prove that you conspired to distribute the drugs or sell them. You may be charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs if you also possess baggies, scales, or other evidence of drug sales.

Importation of a Controlled Substance

Conspiracy to import illegal drugs may involve bringing a controlled substance into the United States from another country — this may take place by plane, boat, or roadway. The larger the operation, the more likely you will get the maximum penalties.

Consequences of Drug Conspiracy Charges

The penalties for federal drug conspiracy convictions depend on the amount and type of drug involved in the crime.

Marijuana

  • No alleged amount – up to 40 years in federal prison
  • 100 kg or more – between five and 40 years in federal prison
  • 1,000 kg or more – between 10 and 40 years in federal prison

Heroin

  • 100 kg or more – between five and 40 years in federal prison
  • 1 kg or more – between 10 and 40 years in federal prison

Cocaine and Crack Cocaine

  • 500 g or more of cocaine or 28 g or more of crack – between five and 40 years in federal prison
  • 5 kg or more of cocaine or 280 g or more of crack – between 10 and 40 years in federal prison

Methamphetamine

  • Less than 5 g – up to 20 years in federal prison
  • 5 g or more – between five and 40 years in federal prison
  • 50 g or more – 10 years up to life in prison

Opioids and GHB (including ketamine and fentanyl)

  • Up to 20 years in federal prison
  • Enhanced penalties involving death or serious injury to another person
  • Enhanced penalties for any prior felony drug convictions

Possible Defenses to Drug Conspiracy Charges

Many of the defenses against drug conspiracy charges are similar to those that can be used in other criminal cases. Those include:

  • Illegal search or seizure
  • Lack of valid search warrant
  • Law enforcement exceeded search warrant
  • Law enforcement failed to read your Miranda rights
  • You were denied legal counsel after a request
  • Law enforcement entrapped you in a conspiracy situation

However, some unique defense tactics can be used with conspiracy charges. For example, conspiracy is a “specific intent” crime. That means you must have had actual knowledge and intent to commit the crime. It is not required that you committed the crime. However, you must have purposefully conspired to commit the crime.

Also, if you withdrew from the conspiracy before the crime occurred, you can use this to your benefit. This would be an especially strong defense if you worked with law enforcement against the conspiracy.

Contact a Drug Conspiracy Lawyer Right Away

If the government charges you with federal drug conspiracy, they have likely already conducted an investigation and have significant evidence against you. You must hire a drug crime lawyer immediately to get someone on your side to protect your rights. You need an independent investigation and practical assistance from your counsel.

Call Harrison & Hart, LLC today at (505) 295-3261 or contact us online to schedule a case consultation.

How Long Is a Federal Sentence for Money Laundering?

Money laundering is a federal white-collar crime that can result in significant penalties, including decades in prison. The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 establishes details of this crime and consequences that defendants may face for violating the law. Under federal law, you could face up to 20 years in prison and hefty fines.

What Is Money Laundering?

Money laundering occurs when an individual disguises the source, amount, or destination of money obtained by illegal means. This often happens through bank transfers and interactions with legitimate businesses. Funds are usually obtained through embezzlement, fraud, drug trafficking, or other unlawful activities.

Money laundering is often associated with other crimes, such as racketeering, tax evasion, credit card fraud, cryptocurrency crimes, and white-collar crimes that may be added or lesser included charges.

Domestic Money Laundering

Domestic money laundering is often associated with false organizational operations. An individual may form a business and transfer money between domestic bank accounts. The more money is transferred, the harder it is to track. To avoid money laundering charges, it’s important to carefully track every penny in personal and business accounts.

International Money Laundering

Many money laundering activities take place between domestic and international bank accounts. International bank accounts are more difficult to track. This makes it easier for an individual to hide the source, amount, and destination of money. International money laundering may result in criminal charges in more than one country.

Undercover “Sting” Laundering Operations

If the government suspects money laundering is occurring, they may set up an undercover “sting” operation. A sting operation creates a situation where an individual may take part in money laundering where they would not otherwise. Sting operations are often considered “entrapment,” where the police persuade an individual into illegal activity.

Federal Sentencing for Money Laundering

There is no mandatory minimum sentence for federal money laundering charges. However, the penalties can be severe. The government views money laundering very harshly.

A money laundering conviction could result in up to 20 years in federal prison. Additionally, you will likely face a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the laundering, whichever is greater.

Money laundering convictions are often combined with other charges, such as racketeering. By combining the offenses, you may face even stricter penalties.

Sentencing Factors

Although the maximum penalty for money laundering is significant, it is unlikely that a person will receive the harshest consequences unless aggravating factors are present. If you are a first-time offender, your criminal defense lawyer can present mitigating factors to lessen your sentence.

Some mitigating factors that may make your sentence less harsh include:

  • This is your first criminal offense
  • You can quickly pay all fines and restitution
  • You opt for alternative punishments like community service
  • You weren’t aware of the circumstances surrounding the crime
  • You didn’t know the source of the money
  • Extent you worked with or assisted law enforcement
  • Lack of knowledge of specific facts
  • Whether you take a plea bargain or go to trial

Aggravating factors can also make your sentence worse, up to the maximum length of time in prison. Those aggravating factors include:

  • Extent to which you were involved in the crime
  • Knowledge of what took place
  • Involvement of other individuals in the crime
  • Length of time the activities occurred

Defending Against Money Laundering Charges

Your money laundering defense attorney can attack the allegations against you in many ways. Some common defenses and strategies used include:

  • There was no underlying criminal conduct
  • You did not have the requisite intent to commit the crime
  • You did not know that the money was from an illegal source
  • There was an illegal search and seizure
  • You were not read Miranda rights
  • You were not provided with legal counsel when requested

Any illegally obtained evidence, including your own statements, may be excluded from the case. If the judge grants a motion to exclude evidence, the prosecution may not have enough information to sustain charges against you, and your case may be dismissed.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

Money laundering charges result in severe penalties that seriously affect your private and professional life. You need to work with a white-collar crime lawyer who can protect your legal rights and reputation.

Call Harrison & Hart, LLC today at (505) 295-3261 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

How to Hire a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been federally indicted (charged with a federal crime), you need to quickly hire an attorney you can trust. Whatever you do, don’t talk to the feds without your federal criminal defense lawyer present. You can make some considerations to ensure you get the right person on your side.

Tips for Hiring the Right Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

No one wants to hire an attorney. However, working with the right federal criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid the worst parts of the entire situation.

Ask About Their Experience

You should ask all potential lawyers about their experience with cases like yours. If you face federal embezzlement charges, you will want a federal lawyer familiar with white-collar crimes.

Some attorneys focus on murders or sex crimes. You need someone who has specifically worked with the laws that will be used to target you.

You also need someone who knows federal law inside and out. Some attorneys primarily practice in state courts and aren’t as knowledgeable about federal laws, court processes, and penalties.

Discuss Fees

All attorneys charge fees, but some take money in different methods or for various types of services. You need to clearly understand the costs of your legal services and how you will be charged.

Most federal criminal defense attorneys request an up-front deposit called a retainer. They will generally charge an hourly rate and pull from the retainer until it is exhausted or to a certain level. Then, you will be expected to replenish that retainer.
You should also clearly understand what you will be charged for. For example, you may have to pay for court costs, but you may also have to pay for copying and postal expenses. Your attorney’s office should give you a list of standard costs they apply to your account in addition to legal fees for the attorney’s time.

Above all, the most important thing for you to know is your attorney’s hourly rate or flat fee. If your attorney charges you by the hour, keep in mind that means money for every email and text message. A flat fee is less common for criminal defense attorneys, and you may not get as many services with a flat fee.

Gauge Their Communication Skills

You should ask your attorney how they communicate with clients, including how often and who will return calls. Some lawyers use a lot of “legalese,” or confusing legal language, that takes time to understand. You want to work with someone who uses plain language and calls you back quickly.

When you discuss your case with your attorney, you should get an idea of their ability to speak and write persuasively. They must use available evidence to persuade the court or jury to rule in your favor. You can do this by asking about your best arguments and what information supports those claims.

Arrange a Consultation

Your attorney should address these questions and any other concerns during a consultation. When you initially call a law firm, you will likely speak with an administrative professional. However, your consultation should be with an actual federal criminal defense attorney.

During your consultation, you can ask about the outlook for your case. A good lawyer will be honest and truthfully tell you the chances you have of receiving a positive outcome. If things don’t look great, your attorney can at least tell you some alternatives to the harshest penalties and how they can help you avoid the worst-case scenario.

Learn More from a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

Before you decide which federal criminal defense lawyer you want to hire, ask them enough questions that you are comfortable with their representation. You must trust them with personal information, some of which may be incriminating. Be honest with your potential lawyer and know that everything you share with them is privileged.

The federal criminal defense attorneys at Harrison & Hart, LLC have helped countless people facing federal indictments. We develop strategic defenses that help our clients get the best outcome possible in their cases. Call us today at (505) 295-3261 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

5 Signs You Could Be Under Federal Investigation

Many federal agencies are authorized to carry out investigations. If you think you may be under federal investigation, you should contact a federal defense attorney immediately.

Those agencies will collect evidence against you, and you need someone on your side to protect your rights and prevent federal charges or arrest.

Who Conducts Federal Investigations?

Many federal agencies may conduct investigations. They may be tipped off by an informant, or your actions may seem suspicious. No matter the reason for their investigation, you need to find out who they are and what they want.

Some of the agencies that have the authorization to perform formal investigations include:

  • The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
  • The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • The Secret Service (SS)
  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (AFT)

Federal investigations generally arise because a government agency believes you have broken a federal law, you committed a crime on federal land, or your crime occurred across state lines.

What Happens in a Federal Investigation?

A federal investigation may begin when there is a report about a crime that has been committed. In some cases, federal charges are related to data obtained by a federal agency, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Upon receiving information about a federal crime, special agents will begin a federal investigation involving an organization or individual. They will gather evidence and interview witnesses. Multiple federal agencies may be involved in a single case.

Federal agents work on a case that is assigned to a federal prosecutor. The prosecutor helps the agents obtain legal documents like subpoenas and search warrants. The prosecutor also files formal criminal charges.

Federal agents use many tools to collect information during their investigation and obtain a federal indictment.

How Long Does a Federal Investigation Take?

A federal investigation could get resolved quickly, or years could pass. The length of time depends on how long it takes agents to obtain the information they need to support federal criminal charges.

5 Signs You Might Be Under Federal Investigation

You should be aware of some telltale signs that you are under federal investigation. This helps you determine when to contact a federal defense attorney to protect your interests.

1. You Receive a Target Letter

A federal prosecutor may issue a target letter requesting your cooperation in the case. It will ask you to speak with the investigators and provide information about a specific topic.

The letter may not state exactly what they want to know. You should never answer their questions without first getting legal advice from a federal criminal defense attorney.

2. You Are Served a Subpoena

The court may order a subpoena to force you to testify in a case. They could also order one to obtain documents, such as business records or tax information. If you receive a federal subpoena, you should know your Constitutional right against self-incrimination.

3. Your Friends or Family Are Questioned

Federal agents may begin questioning friends, family, or business partners. If they ask about you or your organization, you may be the target of a federal investigation. You should tell your acquaintances not to answer their questions willingly and immediately call a federal defense lawyer.

4. You’re Approached by Federal Agents

If federal agents have a significant amount of evidence against you, they might talk to you directly to get more information. They may knock on your door unexpectedly and ask to speak with you. You should never talk to federal agents without first seeking legal counsel.

5. A Search Warrant Has Been Issued

If a federal agent approaches you with a search warrant to look at your home, business, or other location, you should know that you are likely under investigation. The prosecutor must have enough probable cause to prove to a judge that you may have committed a crime to get a search warrant. You must allow the federal agents to execute a search warrant, but do not offer any additional information without your lawyer present.

What to Do if You’re Under Federal Investigation

You must call a defense lawyer with experience in federal crimes if you think a federal agency is investigating you. Your federal defense lawyer could help protect your rights and interests throughout an investigation.

You have a right to have an attorney present at all stages of a federal investigation. If federal agents approach you, do not waive your right to legal counsel. Federal investigators are trained to get you to talk. Don’t succumb to their tactics. Call an attorney before you discuss anything with them.

Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Offer Legal Protection

If you are the target of a federal investigation, you may have no idea what steps you should take. Instead of trying to diffuse the situation alone, contact a federal lawyer who can evaluate the situation and help you present a solid defense.

Contact Harrison & Hart, LLC today at (505) 295-3261, or use our online form to reach out.

Street Crime vs. White-Collar Crime

You might think all crime is the same – involving guns, gangs, and violence. However, crime commonly depicted in media is usually what is called “street crime” or “blue collar crime.”

There is another type of crime called “white-collar crime.” These terms sound confusing, but they are very descriptive of the kinds of offenses involved in each.

Defining White Collar and Street Crimes

There are many similarities and differences between street crimes and white-collar crimes.

Street crime, also called “blue-collar crime,” is often thought to be committed by stereotypical criminals. These crimes often involve weapons and violence; however, they don’t have to. There is generally an easily identifiable victim in street crime offenses.

On the other hand, white-collar crime is typically committed by business and government professionals (who often wear button-up shirts with white collars). These crimes are non-violent and may be challenging to identify. They may cause significant monetary damage instead of physical harm.

These illegal acts often appear to be general work activities for a white-collar criminal. Despite this, white-collar crimes do have victims. Those victims may be individuals, or the victim may be a business or the public in general.

Types of White-Collar Crime

White-collar crimes often cross state lines and may be federal offenses. They have significant penalties and consequences that can ruin the lives of those accused, regardless of whether they are ultimately convicted.

Some common types of white-collar crime include:

  • Corporate fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Securities & commodities fraud
  • Falsification of financial information
  • Self-dealing by corporate insiders (insider trading)
  • Mortgage and financial institution/bank fraud
  • Intellectual property theft/piracy
  • Bribery
  • Embezzlement
  • Forgery
  • Health care fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Public corruption

Often multiple law enforcement agencies are involved in the investigations of these crimes. These investigations can take years to complete because obtaining the necessary evidence for a federal indictment can be complicated.

Types of Street Crime

There are generally two types of street crimes – crimes against persons and crimes against property.

Some crimes against other people include:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Sexual assault
  • Rape
  • Domestic violence
  • Robbery

Some common crimes against property include:

  • Burglary
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Shoplifting
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism
  • Arson

Street crime may be charged in state or federal court. However, local law enforcement often begins the investigation, which may be transferred to federal agencies if criminal charges are initiated.

Public Perceptions of White-Collar vs. Street Crime

People generally think of these two categories of crime differently. There is a negative public perception of street crime, with very few excuses for such behavior. White-collar crime is not as negatively viewed, and the public may be more likely to excuse it for various reasons.

Perceptions of Street Criminals

The stereotypical street criminal may be thought of as an inherently “bad” individual who commits criminal acts purposefully to harm another person. One of the elements of most street crimes is that the criminal had the necessary “intent” to harm another person.

Additionally, the news media covers street crime frequently and highlights it often. Blue-collar crime is generally easier to understand and form an opinion about. The public usually has a disproportionate view of how prevalent street crime is compared to white-collar crime.

Perceptions of White-Collar Criminals

White-collar criminals are often motivated by money and do not want to hurt others. The public may even applaud a white-collar criminal who “sticks it to the man” and defrauds a large company. Public perception of white-collar crime is not as negative as street crimes.

In some cases, white-collar criminals are more affluent and have connections in the professional world. Their behavior may be swept under the rug or ignored in some circles. Although a federal indictment will bring their criminal activity to light, the public may not understand precisely what happened or who has been harmed.

Prosecution and Punishment of Street Crime vs. White-Collar Crime

Although street crime and white-collar crime are different, they are prosecuted and punished similarly. Both types of crime begin with an investigation by law enforcement and charges brought against an individual. You have a right to effective legal assistance no matter what crime you have been charged with.

Street crime is typically prosecuted in state court, and penalties include time in prison and fines— white-collar crime is more often seen in federal courts. Penalties may also include prison time, but fines are usually much higher for white-collar crimes. For example, a conviction for insider trading can result in a fine of up to $5 million.

Instead of prison, white-collar crimes may result in home detention, community confinement, and supervised release. Since these crimes are not violent, defendants may have more options for punishment.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney for Any Type of Charges

You need a criminal defense lawyer if you or a loved one has been charged with a street or white-collar crime. Both categories of offenses result in severe penalties that can affect your entire life.

You need to contact someone with experience with crimes like yours and familiar with relevant laws.

Harrison & Hart, LLC has helped clients with all types of crimes. Call us today at (505) 295-3261 or use our online contact form to reach out.

The Right Firm For Your Case

We’re ready to help you get your life back on track.

From our office in Albuquerque, Harrison & Hart, LLC serves clients throughout New Mexico. We are focused on getting you the best outcome possible in the harshest of situations.

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