A Look at the Definitions, Penalties, and Defense Strategies for Violent Federal Crimes

Violent crimes encompass a broad spectrum of offenses. Under 18 U.S. Code § 16, a "crime of violence" is defined as an offense that involves the use or attempted use of physical force against another person or their property or a felony offense that poses a substantial risk that physical force may be used during its commission. These crimes include but are not limited to assault, aggravated assault, robbery, kidnapping, and murder. Each offense carries severe legal consequences under federal law, often resulting in lengthy prison sentences and significant fines.

Understanding the legal framework surrounding violent federal crimes is paramount for individuals accused. These matters are serious and can have life-altering consequences for those involved. By comprehending the elements of the offense, defendants can better shape their case and mount a strong defense strategy. Recognizing what the prosecution must prove allows defendants to prepare counterarguments and challenge the evidence presented against them.

Moreover, understanding the gravity of these charges underscores the necessity of retaining competent legal representation. A defense attorney can provide guidance and advocacy throughout the legal process. They have the knowledge to navigate the complexities of federal statutes, investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense, and formulate a robust defense tailored to the client's specific needs. The stakes in violent federal crime cases are high, and having an attorney by one's side can make a significant difference.

At Keegan, Tindal & Jaeger, we fight federal charges in Iowa City. Please contact us at (319) 499-5524.

What Constitutes a Federal Violent Crime?

Federal crimes are offenses falling under the federal government's jurisdiction, as delineated in the U.S. Constitution. These offenses can also include crimes committed on federal property, crimes affecting interstate or foreign commerce, and crimes that involve violations of federal statutes. Unlike state crimes, which state authorities prosecute, federal crimes are investigated and prosecuted by federal law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

As mentioned, violent crimes involve the use, attempted use, or threatened use of force against another person or a person’s property. These offenses can result in physical injury to someone else.

Examples of different types of federal violent crimes include the following:

  • Simple assault: Simple assault under federal law includes assaulting certain officers or employees while engaged in official duties, as outlined in 18 U.S. Code § 111. Additionally, assaulting a congressional member, cabinet member, or Supreme Court Justice is considered a federal offense under 18 U.S. Code § 351. A conviction can result in imprisonment for up to 1 year.
  • Aggravated assault: Aggravated assault involves causing physical contact or demonstrating the intent to commit another felony, as defined in 18 U.S. Code § 111. Depending on the circumstances, aggravated assault can lead to varying degrees of imprisonment. Under 18 U.S. Code § 351, if a deadly or dangerous weapon is used or bodily injury is inflicted, the offense can result in up to 20 years of imprisonment.
  • Robbery: Federal robbery offenses are categorized under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 103. These offenses encompass a range of actions, including robbing personal property of the U.S., robbing a bank, or assaulting a person in possession of mail, money, or U.S. property with the intent to steal. Convictions for federal robbery offenses carry significant penalties.
  • Kidnapping: Kidnapping under federal law, as outlined in 18 U.S. Code § 1201, involves seizing or confining a person against their will and transporting them across state lines or country borders. Kidnapping can also occur in special maritime or aircraft jurisdictions. A conviction for federal kidnapping can result in life imprisonment.
  • Murder: Murder offenses are addressed in 18 U.S. Code § 1111. First-degree murder involves the unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought or under certain circumstances. Second-degree murder encompasses other conduct resulting in the unlawful killing of another person. Penalties for first-degree murder include death or life imprisonment. Second-degree murder carries any number of years of imprisonment up to life.

Facing charges for violent federal crimes can be an overwhelming and daunting experience. However, individuals accused of such offenses have constitutional rights and legal avenues to defend themselves against the allegations. Experienced defense attorneys employ various strategic approaches to protect their clients' rights.

Below are some strategies for fighting federal violent crime charges:

  • Challenging the evidence
  • Asserting self-defense
  • Establishing a lack of intent
  • Presenting an alibi or exculpatory evidence
  • Negotiating a plea bargain

Crafting Your Defense with Legal Help

Facing charges for violent federal crimes is a severe matter demanding equally serious representation. The legal landscape surrounding these offenses is complex and nuanced, often presenting significant challenges for individuals caught in the judicial system.

Understanding the intricacies surrounding violent federal crimes can be daunting for individuals without legal experience. However, a defense attorney can provide guidance and advocacy, explaining the laws and options for fighting charges and seeking a favorable resolution.

Our Iowa City attorneys at Keegan, Tindal & Jaeger provide dedicated and strategic representation. Call us at (319) 499-5524 or contact us online today.

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