Somerset Federal Criminal Law Attorney Protects Clients’ Rights

Providing effective legal representation in Somerset County and surrounding areas

Being investigated for or charged with a federal crime can be a nightmare. Federal agents and prosecutors bring enormous resources to bear in aggressively pursuing evidence and suspects, and sentences for federal crimes are often greater than those for state-level offenses. Matthew R. Zatko, Attorney at Law has spent over two decades defending clients in criminal cases. I represent residents of Somerset County and nearby areas of Pennsylvania who are targets of federal investigations or who face federal criminal charges. I will represent you zealously and work toward achieving a positive outcome.

What makes a crime a federal offense?

A federal criminal offense is one that violates a law enacted by Congress. The offense can be a violation of U.S. Code, Title 18, which is the main federal criminal statute, or of any other federal law. Some federal crimes have counterparts at the state level, but they are considered federal when they are investigated and prosecuted by U.S. authorities. Investigative agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Federal crimes are prosecuted in U.S. District Court by attorneys working for the U.S. Justice Department. Upon a conviction, any sentence of incarceration is served in a federal prison facility.

Types of crimes commonly prosecuted in federal court

Here are some examples of crimes that are commonly prosecuted in federal court:

  • Crimes that take place on federal property or that cross state lines
  • Drug crimes that involve manufacturing, distribution and trafficking
  • Sex crimes involving children, human trafficking and aggravated sexual abuse
  • White collar crimes such as tax fraud, internet fraud, antitrust law violations and insider trading

There are thousands of federal crimes on the books, many of which can expose a defendant to prison time. No matter what federal offense you’re accused of, I will work diligently on your behalf throughout every step of your case.

How do you know you’re under federal investigation?

Federal cases are typically built by lengthy and thorough investigations carried out by specialized agents. You may have no prior notice of an impending charge or arrest. However, you might learn you are being investigated if:

  • You are contacted over the phone or by mail or email by a government agent.
  • You are subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury.
  • You receive a target letter informing you of an investigation.

If any of these events occur, or if you otherwise learn of a possible investigation, you should contact a federal defense attorney immediately. Speaking to law enforcement yourself can only worsen the case against you.

Assertive lawyer builds strong defenses against charges of wrongdoing

Once I am retained as your defense counsel, I will advise you about the reason you are being charged at the federal level and about the possible consequences you face. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, judges take into account both the immediate criminal conduct and the defendant’s prior criminal history in imposing sentence. Some crimes are subject to prescribed mandatory prison terms.

As an attorney with over 20 years’ criminal law experience, I will carefully explain all of your options and fight to achieve the most positive resolution in your case. Whenever beneficial to a client, I will seek a dismissal or reduction of charges through a plea bargain. However, I do not hesitate to go to trial if it is the most effective way of fighting for my client’s vindication.

Contact a tenacious Somerset law firm for help when you’ve been federally charged

At Matthew R. Zatko, Attorney at Law in Somerset, I defend individuals in Somerset County and other parts of Pennsylvania who are accused of federal crimes. To schedule a free consultation, call my firm at 814-483-7075 or contact me online.