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I want to personally welcome you to the Hedding Law Firm Federal Criminal Defense Blog. We will make every effort to discuss the latest developments and issues in the Federal Criminal Defense World. There are so many issues related to federal criminal cases, I am sure that we will cover many of them as the months and years pass.

Probably the most significant topic ,related to the federal criminal system, is the federal sentencing guidelines. Many people do not realize that the same federal guidelines are used across the country. It is also important to note that the federal criminal defense sentencing guidelines are advisory..a judge now has the ability to give whatever sentence they deem long as they consider the sentencing guides. This development has now shifted significant discretion back to the federal court judges. In my opinion, this has given and will continue to give deserving defendants the opportunity to stay out of federal prison.

I sincerely hope that you enjoy reading about some of the topics, issues and cases in this blog. If you are charged with a federal crime, I encourage you to contact me and discuss your case. I have successfully handled many federal criminal defense cases over the years and feel confident that once you meet with me, you will be convinced that I have the know how and legal abilities to help you.

Can Federal Agents Stop Someone During an Investigation?

We are sometimes asked if federal agents are allowed to stop somebody when they are conducting a criminal investigation? The answer to this question, in general, is no.  The feds nor the state can stop anybody for no reason whatsoever.  They’re going to have to have what’s called probable cause. They’re going to have to have some information that someone is doing something criminal.  It will have to be valid information. Otherwise, the stop can be illegal, and the evidence seized from the stop, whether drugs or any fraudulent activity, for example, can be suppressed and not used against the...

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Does the Weight of Drugs Matter in a Criminal Prosecution?

In federal drug crimes, weight is huge because every drug has a specific weight that if you have that weight or greater, it can trigger a five or ten-year mandatory minimum in federal prison.  So, when you’re talking about that kind of number, you begin to realize that weight is crucial. Sometimes, a person will be caught with methamphetamine, for example, and look at a mandatory ten-year minimum because they have over 50 grams. The amount of methamphetamine is very close to that 50-gram marker. Suppose the person believes that they may have under 50 grams. In that case, it’s...

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Wiretap Information in a Federal Drug Case

Many people charged with moving drugs end up being caught on a wiretap.  Sometimes their phone is tapped by the federal government; other times, someone else’s phone is tapped, and they end up speaking to that person and getting caught on the wire. To challenge a wire tape situation, your attorney would have to file a motion saying that the wiretap was illegally obtained. What ends up happening is a federal agent will go to a judge and ask them, based on information they have collected, to put a wiretap on your phone or someone else’s phone or a group...

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Can I Get Out of Custody While My Federal Case is Pending?

Were you arrested for a federal criminal case? Is it possible to stay out of custody while your case proceeds through the court? This is a big question on many people’s minds because either they have been arrested or they’re thinking they’re going to get arrested or a family member and trying to figure out how to get their loved one out of custody. Some people who do know how bail works at the state level don’t realize it’s an entirely different scenario at the federal level. Most people are not familiar with the process where the United States Department...

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Characteristics of the Best Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys

I’ve been doing this now for almost 30 years, handling matters at the federal level all over the country.  I think I have a pretty good feel for those attorneys who I would consider among the best. Of course, I am including myself in there, so a lot of the things I am touching upon, I believe I possess the superior skills as it relates to them. I think the first thing, believe it or not, is really getting a feel for your client, what their hopes are, how is life is set up and what it is going to...

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Federal Sentencing for RICO Act Violations

Are You Looking at a Long Federal Prison Sentence if You’re Involved in a RICO Case? Organized crime in the United States is generally described as a criminal enterprise with members engaging in illegal activity for financial gain. The federal RICO Act was first used by prosecutors to go after mob leaders, but has evolved into a powerful tool against fraud, extortion, and drug cartels. The Organized Crime Control Act includes the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law that allows prosecutors to file charges against the members within of the organization. Racketeering is a term used to describe members...

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Seizure of Home Computers in a Child Pornography Investigation

What Should I Do After the Feds Search My Home and Take My Computers in a Child Pornography Investigation? If anyone is found possessing, producing, selling or distributing any material depicting a child under 18 in a sexual manner, they could face federal charges of child pornography under 18 U.S.C. § 2252. The subsections of 18 U.S.C. § 2252 describe different categories of conduct covered by the statute. For example, it’s a federal crime to knowingly transport child porn using interstate commerce, by computer or mail, visual depictions of a minor who is engaged in sexually explicit conduct. These subsections...

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How to Get a Short Sentence in Federal Criminal Case

If you’re charged with a federal crime, you obviously don’t want to go to prison for a long time. Probably one of the biggest factors that will get you a short sentence is if your attorney can convince the judge that you’re not a threat to the community and you don’t deserve to get a lengthy sentence. There are a number of what we call downward departures which can be used to help you.  For example, your family circumstances, if you cooperate with the government you can get a 5K departure which can take your sentence down significantly, if you...

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Factors That Cause Long Prison Sentences in a Federal Case

There are a whole host of factors that judges and prosecutors look at when dealing with federal criminal cases and giving lengthy sentences.  One of the biggest, obviously, is whether you’ve committed a crime that has a mandatory minimum. For example, there are certain theft offenses that a 2-year mandatory minimum if it’s aggravated.  Also, there are certain drug crimes, that if you have enough of the drug, there’s a 10-year mandatory minimum. There’s a number of other situations where mandatory minimums apply. Obviously, one of the biggest things you want to do if you’re facing one of these mandatory...

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Are Federal Courts in Los Angeles Open During the Coronavirus?

For the most part, judges in federal court, at least across the criminal courts, are really trying to prevent litigants from coming into their courtroom. They are mostly seeing video and WebEx type appearances, meaning that all parties will appear on video. Nobody is really going into the courtroom. The one exception that I see in the criminal court at 255 East Temple Street on the third floor, which is pretty much the initial appearance or arraignment court, post-indictment arraignment. Video Court Appearances A lot of times they actually have the defendants there in the building, but they’re doing video...

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