Federal Crimes FAQ

What Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Will Handle Your Criminal Case?

Most federal crimes are investigated by a federal law enforcement agency.

Those agencies can include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the United States Postal Inspector, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of an agency, such as Health and Human Services (HHS), the United States Attorney's Office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which is a division for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and a variety of smaller agencies and their branches.

Should You Answer Questions When These Agencies Come Calling?

If you are contacted by any of these agencies and advised that they are conducting an investigation, it is important to respond that you wish to speak with them in the presence of your legal counsel. This invokes your right to counsel and is an important protection. Identify the agent and his/her contact information and contact an experienced Federal Criminal attorney immediately. Do not forcibly resist any attempts to search or arrest, but do not provide any consent to search to the agents.

It is also common to receive what is termed a "target" letter from an Assistant United States Attorney. The same advice applies. Contact Ball & Hase for expert assistance if one of these contacts occurs.

What Should You Expect In A Federal Criminal Investigation?

In federal criminal cases, it is more common that there is an extensive period of investigation before any formal charges are filed. This provides an opportunity for an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer to influence the outcome of the case and even the federal prosecutor's charging decisions. It is therefore of extreme importance that if you are contacted by a federal investigative agency that you contact an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer immediately.

What About Federal Level Corporate Investigations?

In the federal criminal justice system that there are large and complex investigations of corporations for law violations. Our law firm works with corporate counsel and executives to assist in the management of these investigations. Conflicts of interest have to be evaluated when handling these cases. We represent executives and other employees who are either targets of the investigation or merely government sought witnesses.

How Do Federal Prosecutions Differ From State Prosecutions In Terms Of Sentencing?

Sentencing has always been conducted in federal courts by the presiding judge. The implementation of the United States Sentencing Guidelines has substantially changed the course of federal sentencing. The Guidelines provide a somewhat complex set of rules to govern sentencing. Recent decisions of the United States Supreme Court have created an opportunity for experienced Federal criminal attorneys to obtain sentences below the guideline range. It is common for clients to be shocked at the severity of guideline sentences, particularly in comparison to sentences imposed in similar state court prosecutions. At Ball & Hase, we have extensive experience in federal crimes and the complex area of federal sentencing.

Who Are The Presiding Judges In The Northern District Of Texas?

In the United States District Courts for the Northern District of Texas, the presiding judges are Judge McBryde, Judge Kinkeade, Judge Fitzwater, Judge Lindsay, Judge Lynn, Judge Godbey, Judge Boyle, Judge O'Connor, and Senior Judges Means, Fish Robinson and Cummings.