Houston Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Houston Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

How is a Federal Crime Different from a State Crime?

If you’ve been accused of a federal crime, you may be feeling scared and unsure of how to proceed. Being convicted of a federal crime can have life-altering consequences for you and your family. The number one choice you can make is to speak with a Houston federal criminal lawyer. A lawyer can answer any questions you may have and develop a strong defense strategy for your case.

At Greco Neyland, PC, we understand the unique aspects of federal cases. We have vast experience with many different types of federal crimes, from bank fraud to drug trafficking, and we can ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process. The penalties for federal crimes can be much more severe than those for typical offenses, so a strong defense strategy is absolutely crucial. We can build a defense catered to your circumstances to strive for the most favorable outcome possible.

In the area of criminal law in the United States, the great majority of criminal prosecutions that occur are done so to enforce state laws. But just as we have state laws that are passed by state governments, we also have federal laws that are passed by the United States Congress. While the most common crimes (DWI, Assault, Murder, Rape, Robbery, etc.) are governed by state law, crimes like federal tax fraud, wire fraud, bank robbery, and drug trafficking are all governed by federal laws.

What’s the difference? What makes a crime a federal crime? To properly answer these questions, try to think of it like this; if any suspected criminal activity is alleged to cross state lines, affect the federal government in any way, or concern interstate commerce then that alleged activity is likely to be governed by federal law. If you have legal questions about a specific case, then it is important that you speak to an experienced Houston federal criminal lawyer as soon as possible.

Houston Federal Criminal Lawyer

What Are Some Examples of Federal Crimes in Houston?

Common examples of federal crimes that are charged in Houston include:

  • Transporting illegal drugs into the United States
  • Firearms trafficking
  • Lying on your federal tax returns
  • Making a plan with another to commit a federal crime
  • Committing fraud against a business
  • The trafficking of women or children
  • Illegal Entry or Reentry
  • Bank Fraud
  • Wire Fraud

The different activities listed above can lead to various criminal charges. Specific federal criminal charges can be found below. This is not a complete list of federal offenses by any means:

  • Federal drug trafficking (21 U.S.C. § 841)
  • Wire fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343)
  • Federal tax fraud (26 U.S.C. § 7201)
  • Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 371)
  • White-collar crime
  • Human trafficking (21 U.S.C. Chap. 77)
  • Immigration Crimes

Federal agencies such as the FBI, DEA, ICE, and other agencies investigate and pursue suspected federal crimes. A conviction for any of these charges can lead to significant time in federal prison along with hefty fines. These fines can easily be in the millions of dollars depending on the case.

The Federal Court Process

The federal court has its own rules and procedures for criminal trials. Some steps are similar to those of state cases, and others are much different.

  • Investigation. During this process, the federal government and its agencies will employ investigators to collect evidence and provide it to the federal prosecutor. Depending on the case, multiple agencies could be involved. Evidence can include witness testimonials, photos, videos, etc. Search warrants will likely be involved as well. Defendants are protected under the Fourth Amendment, which mandates that law enforcement has probable cause before they search your home, car, or property. Search warrants issued by a neutral and detached judge are often required, and before any arrests can be made, there must be probable cause or an arrest warrant.
  • Charging. After the evidence has been gathered, the prosecutor can decide whether or not to bring the case before an impartial group of citizens, known as a grand jury. Witnesses will likely be called, evidence will be shown, and the case will be presented to the jury. The grand jury will listen to the case and vote on whether they believe there is enough evidence for the defendant to be charged. If the defendant is charged, they may hire an attorney or be appointed one by the government.
  • Initial hearing. Initial hearing. After the defendant is charged, they will be brought before a judge for an initial hearing of their case. Here, the judge will arrange for the defendant to be held in prison or released until the time of their trial. In many cases, the defendant is released on bail.
  • Discovery. The prosecutor and defense attorney take this time to familiarize themselves with every aspect of the case and prepare for trial. They are studying evidence, talking to witnesses, and analyzing the facts of the case.
  • Pre-trial. Pre-trial motions could be filed in some cases. Common pre-trial motions are a motion to dismiss, a motion to suppress, or a motion for a change of venue. These could be attempts to have the case dismissed altogether, keep certain evidence from being introduced in court, or move the trial in case the jury is not impartial.
  • Trial. Trial is where the case is heard before the jury with opening statements, witness examinations, objections, and closing arguments.
  • Post-trial motions. If the defendant is found guilty, certain post-trial motions could be filed. There could be a motion for a new trial, a motion for judgment of acquittal, or a motion to vacate.
  • Sentencing. The judge will then sentence the defendant if found guilty. As your criminal defense firm, we can work to avoid this scenario.
  • Appeal. Even if you are found guilty and sentenced, there is still the possibility of appeal. An appeal isn’t another trial. It is a chance for you to highlight errors in your trial. For instance, if the courts interpreted a law incorrectly or allowed evidence that should have been inadmissible, there may be grounds for an appeal.

Which Court Hears Houston Federal Criminal Cases?

Federal cases that arise in Houston are heard at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. This court is located at:

Bob Casey the United States Courthouse
515 Rusk Avenue
Houston, TX 77002

To find out where you or a loved one’s case might be heard, it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer.

Experience Matters

While a lawyer may have state court criminal defense experience, nothing properly simulates what goes on in federal court. The right attorney for a federal criminal case is one who has the proper experience and resources to put into your case when defending against the power of the federal government.

The federal government has limitless resources when it comes to investigating and pursuing criminal cases. Your first step towards making this a fair fight is to have a seasoned federal criminal defense attorney on your side. At Greco Neyland, we lean on our past experience to help bring you future success.


Q: What Is Considered a Federal Crime In Texas?

A: A federal crime in Texas can include offenses such as mail fraud, tax fraud, securities fraud, racketeering, drug trafficking, bank robbery, child pornography, or illegal immigration. Federal prosecutors tend to focus on large-scale crimes that involve large sums of money or have a significant impact.

The number of cases that a federal prosecutor will bring in is usually lower compared to the state level. That said, the potential penalties for facing federal charges are more substantial than for a state crime.

Q: How Much Does a Criminal Justice Lawyer Cost in Texas?

A: A criminal justice lawyer can differ in cost depending on their experience level, reputation, location, success in litigation, and type and size of law firm they work for. Criminal justice lawyers work on a case-by-case basis. Each case is unique, and the workload and payouts can be different. Some attorneys work in certain areas of law. The specific area of law the lawyer focuses on could impact the amount of money they charge.

Q: Why Do I Need a Federal Criminal Lawyer?

A: A federal criminal lawyer is a resource you need because the federal court system has specific rules and procedures that must be followed. Only an attorney experienced in federal cases understands how to successfully navigate the complexities that may arise. You need an attorney who is well-equipped to handle these types of cases and one who can stand up against the federal prosecutors on your behalf. Attempting to represent yourself or choosing a less experienced attorney is a recipe for failure.

Q: What Should I Do If I’m Charged With a Federal Crime?

A: If you are charged with a federal crime, you need to contact an experienced attorney immediately. The full weight of the US federal court system could be against you. They have unlimited resources and a diligent legal department. This can feel daunting, and you may be filled with several important questions that need answers. An attorney can help provide you with those answers. Remember, you should not speak to anyone about your case before you speak with an attorney.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you are facing the possibility of federal criminal charges in or around Houston, or have already been federally indicted, then it is important to listen to the advice of an experienced Houston federal criminal lawyer.

At Greco Neyland, we are proud to offer FREE consultations to anyone facing potential federal criminal charges. If you are looking for a candid evaluation of your federal criminal case, then our attorneys are available for you now.

Contact us anytime at (713) 972-1100. The advice from us is free, and any conversations will be protected by attorney-client privilege even if you decide to hire another attorney. Take the first step towards freedom by calling Greco Neyland today.

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