Skip to Content
Trusted Defense For Las Vegas Criminal Cases

Federal Court and Charges in Las Vegas – Criminal Lawyer Ross Goodman


Federal Court and Charges in Nevada

Federal charges are those filed against someone who is accused of having violated legislation passed by the federal government as distinguished from laws made by the state government. Federal charges tend to carry harsher penalties than state law violations. If  you have been charged with having committed a federal crime, it may  be imperative for you to seek help from a Las Vegas Lawyer who is knowledgeable in federal criminal law procedure and the federal judicial system. Common cases of federal charges are:

  • Aiding and Abetting
  • Criminal Conspiracy
  • Federal White Collar Crimes
  • RICO Charges
  • Federal Drug Charges
  • Federal Drug Trafficking
  • Federal Firearm Charges
  • Federal Weapon Possession
  • Human Trafficking

Las Vegas Federal Court

The distinction between federal and state charges can often be blurred and hazy. Some crimes can be prosecuted under either federal criminal law or under state criminal law. A good attorney in Las Vegas who is as well-versed in Nevada laws as he is in federal law can work to have the charges against you brought under state rather than federal jurisdiction.

Federal Criminal Procedure

When you have been charged with a federal offense, you are made to go through several prescribed steps in the federal criminal procedure. Here you have to have a criminal defense lawyer who can actively look after your interest and safeguard your constitutional rights. The first set of steps in the legal process is the filing of the complaint, followed by the issuance of the arrest warrant, then by actual arrest. The federal prosecutor will make the complaint, stating the reasons for the charge and the probable cause for the government to arrest the alleged offender. This will be followed by the arrest warrant, which will include the information in the complaint and the signature of a judge. The alleged offender will then be arrested on the basis of the arrest warrant. After the arrest, the alleged offender will make an initial court appearance. Here, the judge will determine if the evidence is enough to make an indictment as well as inform the alleged offender of his basic rights, and set bail. Further, at this point, the alleged offender will be allowed to hire an attorney or have one appointed for him.

Within three (3) days from the arrest, a detention hearing may be held to determine whether or not the alleged offender may be released on bond until trial.

Within ten (10) days of the arrest, a preliminary hearing will be called for the prosecutor to put on evidence that there is probable cause that the alleged offender did commit the crime in question. The alleged offender’s defense counsel in turn can put on evidence proofs negating the probable cause. If the judge finds that a probable cause does exist, then the case will move to the arraignment process.

The federal prosecutor may opt to file an indictment in lieu of a complaint. In this instance, the prosecutor first presents the evidence of probable cause before the grand jury. The grand jury, which is composed of 23 randomly-selected citizens from the community where the case will be prosecuted, then decides whether or not the trial will be held. If the grand jury sees there is enough evidence to prosecute the alleged offender, they will return a “True Bill.” Otherwise, they will return a “No Bill,” which means that the federal charge is dropped.

Based on the decision of the grand jury, the arraignment will be held wherein the alleged offender is read the charges against him, is advised of his rights, is made to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, and wherein a date for the trial will be set.

Unless a plea agreement is reached, the case will then move to trial. Here the prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. Based on the evidence and the arguments presented by both sides, the jury will decide whether the alleged offender is guilty or not. If found guilty, he will be sentenced by a judge within about eight (8) weeks after the conviction. The sentencing can involve jail time, probation, fines or any combination.

The final stage of the process is the appeal. Within ten (10) days after his sentencing, the defendant must file a Notice of Appeal. In certain cases where a plea agreement is made, there may have been provisions which require the defendant to give up his right to appeal.

Who Investigates Federal Charges or Crimes?

Numerous federal agencies have been given the mandate to investigate federal offenses, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The FBI is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as the federal criminal investigative body. It has jurisdiction over a wide range of federal crimes, which include:

  • Kidnapping;
  • Cyber Crimes;
  • Murder;
  • Rape;
  • Mail Fraud;
  • Credit Card Fraud; and
  • Bank Fraud

The DEA, another law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, is tasked with combating felony drug crimes, including drug smuggling across state borders or into the United States from other countries. Crimes the DEA investigates are:

  • Drug Trafficking
  • Drug Manufacturing
  • Possession of Controlled Drugs

The ATF, another agency under the United States Department of Justice, investigates and prevents various crimes involving the unlawful use, manufacture and possession of firearms and explosives, acts of arson and bombings, illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products. Some of the crimes under its jurisdiction are:

  • Violent Crimes
  • Unlawful Possession of  a Weapon
  • Unlawful Import or Export of a Weapon
  • Unlawful Firearms Trafficking

Las Vegas Criminal Lawyer

Should you find yourself being charged with a criminal federal offense,  get in touch with a Las Vegas criminal lawyer. The one you acquire will discuss the facts of your case and let us help you choose your best available options. Criminal lawyers know federal laws and regulations and know how to interpret them to your advantage. Contact one for a consultation regarding your alleged federal charge.


Drug Enforcement Agency

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
8965 S. Eastern Avenue Suite 200
Las Vegas, Nevada 89123 USA
(702) 825-7854

Federal Bureau of Investigation
1787 West Lake Mead Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89106-2135
(702) 825-7854

US District Court
United States District Court, District of Nevada
333 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV89101
(702) 825-7854

Share To: