Orlando Man Facing Charges Related to Capitol Riot
As a joint session of Congress was certifying the 2020 Presidential Election results on January 6, a mob outside the Capitol was breaking into the building. Joseph Biggs, a man who lives in Central Florida, was in Washington that day and participated in the insurrection. Biggs is now facing three federal charges: conspiracy, witness tampering, and destruction of government property.
Federal charges are serious accusations, and punishments are harsh. The United States Attorney’s Office prosecutes these cases, while government agencies, such as the FBI, investigate the charges. If you’re facing similar charges, hire an Orlando federal crimes lawyer familiar with these procedures and is capable of defending you.
What Are Federal Crimes?
Federal crimes refer specifically to offenses that violate U.S. federal laws. Many federal charges are unique to the national system. Still, they can also include violations that would fall under state jurisdiction had the defendant not committed the crime on federal property, such as the Capitol building.
Federal conspiracy is an agreement between two or more parties to commit a criminal act, such as breaking into the Capitol. When a government agency charges someone with conspiracy, it creates an interesting dynamic because they do not have to prove that the offense happened, just that there was an agreement for the crime to occur. This falls under 18 U.S. Code 371. Penalties for federal conspiracy include hefty fines, up to five years in prison, or both.
18 U.S. Code 1512 describes the penalties for witness tampering at the federal level. Examples of witness tampering can include:
- Bribing a witness
- Threatening witnesses
- Asking a witness not to testify under threat
The penalties for this crime are in proportion to the seriousness of the obstructive efforts from the defendant. In the most extreme cases, life in prison is possible. If the defendant uses physical force or attempts to kill a witness, the maximum punishment is up to 30 years in prison. As the severity of the witness tampering decreases, so does the sentence.
Destruction of Government Property
18 U.S. Code 1361 protects any property of the United States or government agency from destruction. This can include plundering, robbing, pillaging, or laying waster. Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone to cause physical damage or destruction to both federal and personal property in a government-run facility.
The penalties for the destruction of government property depend on the extent of the damage. If the damage exceeds $100, punishment may include up to 10 years in prison or up to a $250,000 fine. A judge may also sentence the defendant to both. When the damage does not exceed $100, the prosecution may charge the crime as a misdemeanor. Possible punishment for a misdemeanor conviction may include up to a $100,000 fine, up to one year in prison, or both.
What Is the Federal Court Process?
The process for a federal court case differs from a state or local charge. After you are arrested, a courtroom probation officer will interview you and review your background. A judge will then use this information when determining whether to release you on bail.
Federal prosecutors will work closely with several federal agencies and examine all the evidence. If there’s enough to prosecute, they will then bring the case to a grand jury, and the United States District Court that has jurisdiction will proceed over the matter.
In some cases, the prosecution may offer a plea deal. Many people accept a plea bargain for a reduced sentence, but remember that the judge will have complete discretion over your sentence. When the prosecution and defendant’s attorneys reach a deal, a federal judge will consider the guidelines and other factors when determining a sentence. However, they have the power to punish the defendant to whatever verdict they think is appropriate.
This is why it’s crucial to hire a criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about federal sentencing guidelines. They will work to obtain you the best possible plea.
Contact the Trusted Attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm
Federal charges are often long-term investigations that include several witnesses, records, and warrants. This requires an attorney who is knowledgeable about these charges—like the attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm. With our over 100 years of combined legal experience, you can be confident in our ability to defend your case. As former prosecutors and public defenders, our attorneys grasp the nuances of these cases. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.