Are you facing federal criminal charges in Fort Lauderdale? If you were recently contacted by federal law enforcement, the FBI, or were notified that you’re being targeted as a witness or a suspect of a federal crime – you’re in the right place.

Whether you’re already facing federal charges or believe you’re under investigation, it’s never too early to bring on a criminal defense lawyer. The sooner you hire a South Florida federal criminal lawyer, the better the chances are that you get the best possible outcome on your case.

What is a Federal Crime?

A federal crime is different from a state crime, but federal crimes can still be committed within the state of Florida and by Floridians. Most crimes are violations of state law, and states of the jurisdiction (power) to handle the case.

A federal crime is any criminal offense that the United States and U.S. Federal legislation deems to be illegal, and the U.S. federal government has jurisdiction (power) over the case.

What makes a crime a federal crime?

  • The criminal conduct crosses state lines
  • The criminal defendant crosses state lines
  • It takes place on federal land or involves federal officers
  • It involves fraud or misrepresentation of the federal government or one of its agencies
  • Immigration and Customs Violations


A variety of federal crimes take place in Fort Lauderdale fairly routinely. Rossen Law Firm primarily handles federal criminal cases in Broward and Palm Beach counties, but don’t hesitate to reach out if you’ve been charged with any of these federal crimes in South Florida and are looking for award-winning defense attorneys to fight for you and protect your future.

  • Federal Possession of Child Porn: The federal crime of possession of child pornography is when someone has, transports or ships visual depictions of child porn. Any form of possession of child porn is a crime and becomes a federal crime if it took place in multiple states, internationally involving the U.S., or was otherwise considered under federal jurisdiction (most online porn possession charges are federal).
  • Federal Distribution of Child Pornography: Distributing child porn is a federal crime and consists of sharing pornographic images or videos of children and minors across state lines. Many Distribution of Child Porn crimes are federal crimes because the materials are often shared in numerous states or nationwide over the internet.
  • Federal Internet Crimes: Federal internet crimes are “cyber crimes” that include a number of crimes that can take place through a computer such as hacking, viruses, identity theft, cyberstalking, child porn crimes, email phishing and more.
  • Federal Counterfeiting: A federal counterfeiting crime is when a person uses counterfeit money or tries to sell a counterfeit item by claiming that it is real when, in actuality, it is not a genuine product.
  • Federal Drug Smuggling: Federal drug smuggling is when someone illegally imports or exports drugs from one state or one country to another.
  • Federal Oxycodone Trafficking: Federal Oxycodone trafficking is when one deals with oxycodone, an addictive substance, to either trade or sell it – or even if in possession of large amounts of oxycodone – across state lines.
  • Federal Heroin Trafficking: Federal Heroin Trafficking is when someone sells, transpors, or illegally imports heroin, a prohibited narcotic either across state lines or into the US from another country.
  • Federal Marijuana Trafficking: Federal Marijuana Trafficking is when someone is found in possession of certain amounts of marijuana and has crossed state lines with the Marijuana.
  • Federal Cocaine Trafficking: Federal cocaine trafficking is the crime related to intentionally or knowingly distributing, or transporting cocaine across state lines.
  • Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking: If you manufacture , distribute or possess large quantities of methamphetamine, you could be charged with federal methamphetamine trafficking.
  • Federal Gun Running: Gun-running, also known as gun trafficking or gun smuggling is the activity of bringing guns and ammunition across state borders or into the US secretly and illegally – especially if for use against the government.
  • Federal Conspiracy: Conspiracy is when 2 or more people plan to break any federal law or to commit a federally harmful act. You do not need to commit the crime to be charged – you just have to have PLANNED to commit the crime.
  • Federal Mail Fraud: Federal Mail Fraud includes planning, creating, or carrying out a scheme to defraud someone for money or property by using the United States Postal Service.
  • Federal Felon in Posession of a Firearm: If you were previously convicted of a federal felony, and then are found in possession of a gun or firearm in South Florida you could be charged with a Federal felon in possession of a gun crime.
  • Federal Toxic Waste Dumping: Federal toxic waste dumping is when you dispose of hazardous or non-hazardous waste in a public area or private area that you do not own.
  • Federal Government Investigations: Federal Government agencies that employ criminal investigators to collect and provide information to the United States Attorneys in their districts include: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); United States Secret Service (USSS); and Homeland Security Investigation (DHS/HSI). You could be under investigation by any one of these agencencies, and part of the investigation involves search warrants and/or target letters. Hiring an attorney the moment you know you’re under investigation is incredibly helpful to your case.


If convicted, Federal crimes often come with serious fines and federal prison sentences.

Working with a skilled federal defense attorney in South Florida is important to making sure that you and your future are protected and that your criminal exposure and potential fines and prison time is minimized.

  • Possession of Child Porn: If convicted of a federal child porn possession crime you face a minimum of 5 years in federal prison for a first offense and up to 40 years in prison if it’s your second offense. Hefty fines are also involved and prison sentences are longer depending on the nature of the pornographic content.
  • Distribution of Child Pornography: If convicted of a federal child porn distribution crime in South Florida, you are looking at fines and up to 30 years in prison if you’re a first-time offender. Repeat offenders could be facing life in federal prison.
  • Internet Crimes: Because cyber crimes vary and cover many types of crimes, so do the consequences if convicted of a federal cyber crime. Many federal cyber crimes can lead to about 1 year in prison for a first offense, 10 years in prison for a second offense; and fines up to $100,000 or $250,000 depending if it’s a first or second offense.
  • Counterfeiting: You could face up to 20 years in prison and up to $5 million in fines if convicted of a federal counterfeiting crime.
  • Drug Smuggling: If convicted of federal drug smuggling, you could face anywhere from 10 years to life in federal prison. Fines can vary from $250,000 to $20 million for an individual as well. Fines increase if it was a group of people.
  • Oxycodone trafficking: If convicted of Oxycodone trafficking, you do not face a mandatory minimum prison sentence. The federal average sentence for offenders is about 5 years in federal prison. Sentences increase if weapons are present or someone was in more of a leadership role in trafficking the oxy.
  • Heroin Trafficking: Federal heroin trafficking convictions carry varying consequences ranging from 5 to 40 years in federal prison all the way to life in federal prison. High fines are also possible.
  • Marijuana Trafficking: Federal Marijuana Trafficking penalties if convicted vary depending on the amount of marijuana someone has. Federal prison sentences can range from up to 20 or 40 years in prison; with fines ranging from up to $20 Million all the way to $75 million.
  • Cocaine Trafficking: Federal cocaine trafficking can come with minimum prison sentences of 10 or 20 years depending on the details. Fines can also range from up to $10 million all the way to $50 Million depending on the crime and if it was an individual or group effort.
  • Methamphetamine Trafficking: For a conviction of a first-offense of federal meth trafficking a person is looking at 10 years in federal prison MINIMUM with a maximum of life in prison possible. Fines start at $10,000 and go up to $50,000. Depending on the nature of the offense, 15, 20 or even 25 years in federal prison could be the minimum sentence.
  • Gun Running: Consequences vary if you’re convicted of federal gun trafficking, but you could face 5, 7, 10, or 30 years all the way to life in federal prison.
  • Conspiracy: If convicted of federal conspiracy crimes, the penalties vary based on the crime conspired to commit. Penalties can usually range up to 5 years in prison with up to $250,000 in fines possible.
  • Mail Fraud: Depending on the extent of the crime, federal mail fraud can result in up to 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fine penalties. If the fraud involves benefits for declared natural disaster or emergencies the fines may be up to $1 million and prison sentences up to 30 years in prison.
  • Felon in Possession of a Firearm: You could be facing a second-degree felony and looking at up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
  • Toxic Waste Dumping: Consequences vary on the type and nature of the substance and the amount, but a conviction of a federal toxic waste crime could result in penalties such as up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $100,000 – sometimes you can be penalized with a fine for each day there was a violation.
  • Government Investigations: There is no real “consequence” for an investigation, since it happens prior to a federal crime being charged against someone. But, if you’ve been contacted for being under investigation you can be sure that you’re potentially facing serious federal crime penalties.


We don’t leave a single stone unturned when it comes to building your defense case against the U.S. government’s federal crime allegations against you.

If you’re looking for a skilled, award-winning Fort Lauderdale federal criminal lawyer – you’re in the right place. We work to minimize your risk of prison and fines so you can get back to living the life you love.

Federal Crime Defense Strategies

Being charged with a federal crime in South Florida in no way indicates that you will be convicted of the crime – and having a great federal attorney helps to maximize the chance that you will suffer minimal consequences.

There are numerous defense strategies that can be employed to protect you, your rights, and your future from the threat of a federal allegation, charges and convictions. Contact our Fort Lauderdale office today to get started.

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