Federal Cases

Palm Beach Gardens Federal Offense Attorney

If you are facing a federal criminal charge, you should seek legal representation from an aggressive defense attorney. Federal crimes include any offenses that violate the United States Criminal Code. While Florida state law may cover some of the same conduct, a drug or gun charge brought in federal court can be more challenging and complex. Not all Florida criminal defense attorneys are admitted to practice in federal court. The counsel and assistance of a Palm Beach Gardens criminal defense attorney with experience working on federal cases can make a significant difference if you are facing federal charges.

My name is William Wallshein. I have 29 years of criminal law experience, including 5 years as a state prosecutor. Having worked on the side of law enforcement, I have unique insight into prosecutorial strategies and tactics, and this allows me to better serve my clients. My firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals charged with all kinds of crimes, including serious federal offenses.

Federal Drug Offense Charges in Florida

If you are caught trafficking in a large quantity of controlled substances or taking controlled substances over state lines, a federal prosecutor may bring charges against you under Title 21 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) Controlled Substances Act. Federal authorities often build very strong cases even before they indict someone for a drug offense. The government's preparation and the severity of the punishments are two of the reasons it is crucial to retain a defense attorney that is knowledgeable about the rules, laws, and procedures applicable in Florida federal courts.

A federal judge may be required to sentence those convicted of federal drug charges to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration. For example, if you are caught with anywhere between 500 and 4,999 grams of cocaine and charged with a first offense, a federal judge may not sentence you to less than 5 years. In this case, you can be sentenced to a maximum of 40 years imprisonment. The judge may not fine you more than $5 million as an individual.

Federal Firearm Charges in Florida

18 U.S.C. § 924(c) prohibits using a firearm during a crime of violence or drug trafficking. This code section mandates a minimum penalty of 5 years in prison. If you used a short-barreled rifle, shotgun, or semiautomatic in connection with a drug trafficking charge, such as the sale of cocaine or marijuana, you face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. If you carry a machine gun, a destructive device, or a firearm that is equipped with a silencer in connection with drug trafficking, the minimum sentence is 30 years.

These punishments are not simply part of the mandatory minimum sentence for the trafficking charge, but a separate consecutive punishment on top of the penalty for the trafficking charge. The code does not define a maximum penalty but most circuit courts conclude that "life" is the implied maximum.

Even actions associated with firearms that may not seem egregious to you are punished very harshly. For example, 18 U.S.C. § 922(d) bars you from knowingly selling or disposing of a firearm or ammunition to somebody that is (1) indicted or convicted of a felony, (2) a fugitive, (2) abuses drugs, (4) has been found by a court to suffer from mental illness, (5) is an illegal alien or alien admitted under a non-immigrant visa, or (6) dishonorably discharged from the military.

Most often this statutory section is charged because someone transfers a weapon to a convicted felon. However, it can also be charged if you make a false misrepresentation on ATF Form 4473, which you must fill out when you purchase a gun from a dealer. If convicted under § 922(d), you can be punished with up to 10 years in prison.

Experienced South Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

A federal conviction can not only result in prison time, fines, and a criminal record, but can also impact your job search, housing search, and ability to pursue certain careers. As a Palm Beach Gardens criminal defense attorney, I offer an aggressive defense to many different charges in federal criminal court, including those related to drug offenses, firearms, murder, rape and grand theft. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact me by phone at 561-533-1221 or via my online form. My Palm Beach Gardens office is located near I-95 and PGA Boulevard. For your convenience, I also take appointments at a second office, located in West Palm Beach. I represent individuals throughout the surrounding South Florida area. I accept credit cards.