4 Most Common Federal Crimes in Los Angeles

Federal crimes often involve more serious offenses and penalties than state crimes. The government agency in charge of the case believes they have substantial evidence to convict the suspect by the time of the arrest. A federal criminal attorney can provide the accused with reliable legal representation throughout the case for the best possible outcome. Here is more information about federal crimes in Los Angeles:

What Are Federal Crimes?

Federal crimes are illegal actions that break the United States federal laws. California courts do not handle such cases. Federal agencies will investigate these crimes and take them to federal courts for those judges to prosecute. The United States Federal Court will apply the Federal Sentencing Guidelines during sentencing, unlike California state courts, which are more flexible. It is a federal case if any of the following agencies are involved:

  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • The Secret Service
  • The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Some offenses may be state or federal, depending on the circumstance. Drug offenses become federal when they involve a significant drug amount, an organized gang, or a drug cartel. It is also possible for one to be charged at the federal court and California court for the same crime as the courts are independent of each other.

What Are the Most Common Federal Crimes in Los Angeles?

For over two decades, crimes involving drugs, immigration, firearms, fraud, theft, or embezzlement have made up the bulk of federal felonies. The 2021 report by the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) shows that these crime types accounted for up to 83.1% of all cases reported to the Commission.

Drug Offenses

Federal drug offenses include crimes that go beyond simple possession or small-scale sales. The federal court handles cases that include interstate or international drug trafficking and drug production. According to the 2021 report, drug crimes remain the most common federal crime. Almost all recorded drug cases involve drug production, distribution, or substance transportation.

The report also indicates that most federal drug cases involve methamphetamine, accounting for about 50% of all drug offenses. Powdered cocaine and heroin follow, with the fewest crimes involving marijuana. Penalties for federal drug cases vary based on the type of drug, among other factors, including:

  • Amount of drugs involved in the case
  • Accused person’s prior criminal history
  • Statutory minimum sentences
  • Defendant’s cooperation with authorities during the investigation of the crime

Immigration Offenses

The second most frequent federal crime, accounting for 29.6% of cases submitted to the Commission in 2021, was immigration-related offenses. Immigration-related offenses may fall into one of these categories:

  • Unauthorized entry or reentry into the country
  • Immigrant smuggling, transportation, or harboring
  • Fraud connected to immigration, including document and marriage fraud

Federal immigration offenses attract hefty penalties for anyone found guilty of involvement.

Firearms Offenses

In fiscal year 2021, firearms-related crimes ranked third among all federal offenses reported by the United States Sentencing Commission. Over 90% of firearms cases involved prohibited transactions or illegal receipt, ownership, or transportation of firearms or ammunition. Some cases involved convicted felons who were illegally in possession of weapons. 5.8% of those cases involved firearms used in drug trafficking jobs or violent crimes.

Economic Offenses

Economic crimes are those that result in substantial financial losses. Charges of fraud, theft, or embezzlement made up the fourth-largest share of all federal criminal convictions in 2021. Offenders punished under the guidelines for theft, property destruction, or fraud offenses made up the largest category among economic crime cases.

Other less common federal crimes a person may be charged with include:

  • Health Care Fraud
  • Mail Fraud
  • Income tax evasion
  • Money laundering
  • Counterfeiting
  • Bank Robbery
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Antitrust violations
  • Federal property crimes
  • Child pornography

An experienced federal criminal attorney may help accused persons navigate the legal system based on their unique circumstances.

How Can a Federal Criminal Attorney Help?

When you receive a search or arrest warrant for a federal crime, speak with a skilled federal criminal attorney in Los Angeles immediately. Federal attorneys will examine every detail of your case to determine the best course of action. They will help you know what to anticipate from the federal court proceedings and explain your options.