Violent crimes have become a priority for the U.S. Department of Justice. On March 8, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called upon federal prosecutors nationwide to investigate, prosecute and deter repeat actions from the most violent offenders.
What does this mean for individuals who are charged with violent crimes, or have been accused of them in the past? As prosecuting violent criminals is now a high priority, law enforcement at every level will be pushing to get violent crime offenders “off the streets” and “punished appropriately for their crimes.”
In many respects, the rationale behind this new push all comes down to the numbers. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting, the occurrence of violent crimes rose 5.3 percent in the beginning of 2016. This was preceded by an estimated 3.9 percent increase in 2015.
Federal prosecutors have been directed to use all tools at their disposal, working with local, state and tribal law enforcement to find the charge and venue that “best ensures an immediate and appropriate penalty for these violent offenders.” This means anyone deemed a violent criminal can potentially be charged using a variety of offenses at every governmental level. When federal prosecution is deemed appropriate, charges can include:
- Firearms offenses, including possession and straw purchasing offenses
- Possession of a firearm during and in relation to a violent crime or drug trafficking offense
- Hobbs Act robbery
- Violent crime in aid of racketeering
- Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) offenses
- Drug offenses under the Controlled Substances Act
If you are facing violent crime charges, or have been charged with them in the past, it is important to take any criminal charges very seriously. Work with a criminal defense attorney who understands what is now at stake for violent crime offenders.