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What Makes A Theft Charge A Federal Offense?

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The federal government has discretion on which cases they file and which cases they don’t file. They’re typically going to get involved with cases that are more complicated than your average offense. For example, when someone is committing bank fraud at an ATM. They’re using encoded cards, they’re stealing people’s identities, and they’re taking out thousands of dollars. Investigators are going to have to be able to go to different banks and conduct surveillance. They’re not going to let the state deal with that; the feds will pick that up. If someone is just going in and robbing a liquor store, it is likely to be handled by the state.

Another factor is the scale of whatever crime is going on and the amount of money that’s being taken. A lot of times, I will see multi-agency investigations where the feds will decide that they’re going to deal with the case. If you had a general litmus test for which cases the federal government is going to take, it’s going to have to do with how large a scale of money is being taken, how sophisticated the operators are, and whether it involved multiple states.

Is It Ever Possible For Both State And Federal Authorities To Have Jurisdiction In A Theft Case?

I often see both state and federal agencies get involved in an investigation to assess the offense. Usually, this happens in a more elaborate or sophisticated scheme, where multiple agencies are going to have to get involved to effectively investigate the theft and then the choice will be made as to whether the feds or the state is going to prosecute it.

Sometimes, thefts are sophisticated and it takes multiple agencies to truly investigate them effectively. If it’s complicated and it involves multiple jurisdictions, you can usually anticipate the feds are going to deal with it because they’ve got a lot of investigation power. They’ve got G.P.S. tracking systems and wiretapping warrants, so they can get they can listen to conversations. They’ve got the ability to assign multiple FBI agents to investigate a particular crime whereas, at the state level, resources and manpower are limited.

Could We Get My Federal Case Moved Back To State Court?

The government has the ultimate say on who prosecutes your case. It really has to do with whether or not your criminal activity falls within federal jurisdiction. If it does, then they can prosecute. If it doesn’t fall within their jurisdiction, then it can be argued that they shouldn’t be allowed to prosecute you because they do not have jurisdiction to deal with that particular case.

As far as moving cases between the state and federal government, that’s going to be up to the prosecuting agency and you have very limited say, as a defendant, on who prosecutes you. It will be up to your attorney to make the decision whether or not any type of jurisdiction or venue challenge is appropriate.

What Are Potential Defenses To My Federal Theft Charges?

There are all sorts of different defenses available, at the federal level, when it comes to a theft-related event. If the government does not have evidence that you’re the one who committed the theft, then that could certainly be a basic defense. Another defense is that someone else is more responsible for the act than you and that you were not acting with intent when you did whatever it is that you did related to the theft.

Sometimes, people are operating innocently and they don’t realize that a theft-related offense is going on. They should not be prosecuted for that particular crime. Before you can just start spouting off defenses, as a defense attorney at the federal level, you’re going to want to have all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. Maybe there is a traffic stop related to the case but all the goods that were found in the vehicle cannot be used against the person because the stop was illegal.

There are a whole host of things that can be utilized in a federal theft-related offense to defend you. However, it’s going to take a skilled federal criminal defense attorney, who understands what’s necessary to win and understands when you can’t win. Once your attorney is armed with the facts about what happened and has the pieces of the puzzle from the investigation from the other side, then you and your attorney must have an honest conversation about whether you have a chance to win or not.

For more information on Federal Theft Charges In California State, a free initial consultation is your best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0994 today.

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