Federal Charges For Online Offenses

Many people do not realize that the Internet is a public place and every transaction that takes place has a backlink thread. In many situations communications are transmitted from one state to another or from one nation to another, making any criminal activity committed online a federal offense. In addition, the federal statutes specifically describe certain activity that is unlawful and federal law will be used to prosecute the case. This can be a real problem for those who are accused because federal offenses are much more serious than typical in-state offenses. Sentencing guidelines for federal crimes are very strict and harsher than state sentencing. That is why it is vital for anyone facing federal charges for online offenses to retain an aggressive criminal defense attorney who understands how federal charges are prosecuted.

Pretrial Hearing

When a defendant is arraigned on federal charges for online offenses the judge will assess bond arrangements, just as in a state case. In many instances, the arraignment also becomes the pretrial detention hearing as well, but the criminal defense attorney can request a continuance. This is usually no more than five days. The pretrial hearing will consist of the U.S. Attorney submitting the articles of evidence against the defendant, often with a federal agent present for cross-examination by the criminal defense attorney. This serves the same purpose as discovery in a state case, and it is normally the only chance at questioning an agent for the defending counsel before the actual trial. The actual trial will be scheduled by the judge at the end of the pretrial hearing.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof in a case for federal charges for online offenses is the same as other cases, as the federal government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the crime was committed. A defendant can also be responsible for paying restitution and damages for any funds that have been stolen by illegal transfer or identity theft, but these cases are proven by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a much lower standard. Even if a defendant does escape a conviction for federal charges for online offenses, the defendant can still be sued for compensatory or punitive damages, depending on the nature of the charges.

Federal defendants should have an attorney when being prosecuted because all federal charges normally carry significant jail time. A convicted defendant must also serve 80% of any federal sentencing term, so it is never a good decision to settle for a public defender. Always choose an experienced federal case attorney like legal professional Louis J. Goodman who understands how to craft a solid defense against the U.S. Justice Department.

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