Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer in Cincinnati

Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer in Cincinnati

Written By: Moermond & Mulligan, LLC

Last Updated: 01-24-2024

The federal crime defense lawyers at Moermond & Mulligan, LLC provide top-notch representation for individuals charged with high-level offenses in Cincinnati and across Ohio. You may feel fear and uncertainty if you’ve been arrested or are under investigation for a federal crime. Our seasoned federal criminal defense attorneys understand what you’re going through and are ready to stand up and fight for you. With a combined 50 years of experience handling criminal defense cases, our attorneys have the skills to guide you through this process. We are former state prosecutors and will fight for our clients, no matter the case.

We understand your fear and stress and are here to support and represent you. Time is limited to take action, so call us or contact us online for a confidential consultation with a Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer.

Table Of Contents

    Federal Cases We Handle

    At Moermond & Mulligan, LLC, our experienced defense attorneys handle a wide variety of federal criminal cases. We recognize that each type of case presents unique challenges and complexities, and our team is committed to providing personalized representation tailored to your specific needs. Below, we provide an overview of the different types of federal criminal cases we handle and our approach to each.

    Sex Crimes

    Sex crime cases can carry significant social stigma and consequences. Our attorneys handle these cases with care and discretion. We represent clients accused of various sex crimes, including sexual assault, child pornography, and other related offenses. We work diligently to protect your rights and guide you on potential effects of conviction.

    Drug Crimes

    Our attorneys can handle drug offenses, from drug trafficking, to distribution, manufacturing, federal drug conspiracy, and prescription drug offenses. We understand federal drug laws and guidelines, including mandatory minimums.

    Criminal Appeals

    If you believe your conviction or sentence was unjust, our experienced attorneys can help you pursue a criminal appeal. We will carefully evaluate the grounds for appeal, such as procedural errors, insufficient evidence, or ineffective assistance of counsel. We will guide you through the appellate process and passionately advocate for your rights in court, striving to overturn your conviction or obtain a more favorable sentence.

    Theft Crimes

    Theft crime cases can involve offenses like embezzlement, identity theft, and bank fraud. Our attorneys have the expertise to handle these complex cases, working diligently to minimize potential penalties and protect your rights. We will examine the evidence, challenge the prosecution’s case, and develop a strategic defense plan to safeguard your future, including addressing potential restitution payments.

    Weapons Crimes

    Weapons crime cases often involve unlawful possession or sale of firearms. Our team understands the intricacies of federal firearms laws and regulations, and we will work on challenging the evidence against you, exploring potential defenses, and securing a favorable outcome in your case.


    Murder cases are among the most serious criminal offenses and can carry severe penalties, including life imprisonment or even the federal death penalty. Our attorneys understand the gravity of these charges and will work relentlessly to build a robust defense on your behalf. We will investigate the circumstances, challenge the prosecution’s evidence, and advocate for your rights, ensuring you receive the best possible representation during this critical time.

    What Is The Difference Between State and Federal Crimes?

    Understanding the difference between state and federal crimes is essential if you face criminal charges since the distinction might significantly impact the legal process and the potential penalties if convicted. State and federal laws govern various criminal offenses in Cincinnati and across Ohio. The key differences between state and federal crimes include the following:


    State courts typically prosecute state crimes governed by state laws. These offenses primarily involve violations of Ohio state statutes and affect the local community. Examples of state crimes are theft, assault, and drug possession.

    Federal crimes involve violations of federal statutes and are prosecuted in federal courts. These crimes generally have a broader impact, affecting interstate commerce, national security, or the interests of the United States. Examples of federal crimes include mail fraud, kidnapping across state lines, and counterfeiting currency.


    State and local law enforcement agencies, such as the Cincinnati Police Department or the Ohio State Highway Patrol, primarily investigate and enforce state crimes. The prosecuting authority for state crimes in Cincinnati is the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office, which represents the state in criminal cases.

    Federal crimes are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The United States Attorney’s Office prosecutes federal crimes, representing the federal government in criminal cases.


    State crime penalties are determined by Ohio state law, which sets specific sentencing guidelines based on the nature and severity of the offense. State penalties can include imprisonment, fines, probation, community service, or a combination, depending on the crime and the defendant’s criminal history.

    Federal crime penalties are governed by federal sentencing guidelines, which can be more severe than state penalties. Federal sentences can include prison terms, fines, and probation. Additionally, some federal crimes carry mandatory minimum sentences, which require judges to impose a specific minimum prison term upon conviction.

    The Legal Process

    The legal process for state and federal crimes also differs. State criminal cases follow Ohio’s procedural rules, including specific timelines and requirements for pretrial motions, discovery, and appeals. State cases are tried in Ohio state courts, such as the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.

    Federal criminal cases are subject to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which govern the process from investigation to trial and appeal. Federal cases are tried in United States District Courts, with appeals heard by the United States Courts of Appeals and, in rare instances, the United States Supreme Court.

    How Do Federal Investigations Work?

    Federal investigations can be complex and intimidating, involving various stages and techniques federal law enforcement agencies employ. If you are under federal investigation or believe you might be, understanding how these investigations work can help prepare you for what to expect and how to protect your rights. The process of a federal investigation will typically include:

    Initiation of Investigation

    Federal investigations typically begin when a federal law enforcement agency, such as the FBI, DEA, or ATF, receives information about a potential federal crime. Information comes from tips, state or local reports, or intelligence from other investigations. Once the agency decides to investigate, it will open a case and assign agents to conduct the inquiry.

    Preliminary Investigation

    Federal agents gather information during the preliminary investigation to identify potential suspects and determine whether a federal crime has occurred. This phase may involve background checks, reviewing financial records, analyzing electronic communications, and conducting surveillance. Agents may also interview witnesses, possible suspects, and other individuals with relevant information.

    Full Investigation

    If enough evidence is found, the case may proceed to a full investigation. In this stage, agents use more intensive investigative techniques to collect additional evidence, identify all parties involved in the criminal activity, and build a prosecution case. These techniques may include –

    • Wiretapping phones – Federal agents may obtain a court order to monitor and record phone conversations to gather evidence of criminal activity.
    • Conducting surveillance operations – Agents may covertly observe suspects or locations, using video, audio, or other electronic means to gather evidence.
    • Recording conversations – With proper authorization, agents may secretly use undercover operatives or confidential informants to record conversations with suspects or other persons of interest.
    • Reviewing online activity – Federal agents may examine suspects’ email, social media, and other online activities to uncover evidence of criminal activity or connections to other suspects.
    • Examining relevant documents – Agents may review financial records, business documents, and other paperwork to trace money flow or identify illegal transactions.
    • Executing search warrants – If agents have probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime is located in a specific place, they can obtain a search warrant to search the premises and seize relevant evidence.
    • Arrest and interrogation – If agents believe a suspect committed a crime, they can arrest them. Following the arrest, agents may attempt to interrogate the suspect, seeking to obtain additional information or a confession.

    Cooperation with Other Agencies

    Federal law enforcement agencies often cooperate with each other and state and local law enforcement to investigate federal crimes. This collaboration can involve sharing information, coordinating operations, and providing resources and expertise to enhance the effectiveness of the investigation.

    Conclusion of Investigation

    Once the investigation is complete, the federal law enforcement agency will compile the evidence and present it to the United States Attorney’s Office for review. The prosecutors will then decide whether to pursue charges, initiate plea negotiations, or close the case without further action.

    Stay informed and protect yourself or your loved ones from the severe consequences of federal crimes. Learn more about your rights and legal options today. Contact a trusted criminal defense attorney who can provide expert guidance and representation. Don't wait, act now to defend your freedom and future. CONTACT US

    Am I Under Federal Investigation?

    Recognizing that you may be under federal investigation is crucial for taking appropriate steps to protect your rights and interests. Federal investigations can be secretive and lengthy, which makes it difficult to know if you’re being investigated. However, several signs may indicate you are under federal investigation or that your case will be heard in federal court, including:

    • Contact from federal authorities – If you have been contacted or visited by federal law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), or the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), then you are likely under federal investigation. These agencies have extensive resources compared to state authorities, and their involvement suggests your case may involve federal offenses.
    • Grand jury subpoenas – Federal prosecutors often use grand juries to investigate potential federal crimes and gather evidence. If you receive a grand jury subpoena for documents or testimony, this may indicate you are under federal investigation or have information relevant to an ongoing federal inquiry.
    • Witness interviews – If federal agents are interviewing your friends, family members, colleagues, or other associates, this could suggest you are under investigation. These interviews may be conducted to gather information about your activities, relationships, or involvement in potentially criminal conduct.
    • Search warrants – If federal agents execute a search warrant at your home, workplace, or other property, this is a strong indication that you are under investigation for a federal crime. The agents may seize documents, electronic devices, and other evidence of the alleged criminal activity.
    • Surveillance – If you notice unfamiliar vehicles or individuals in your neighborhood or you suspect you are being followed, this could be a sign of federal surveillance. Federal agents may use physical or electronic surveillance to monitor your movements, communications, and activities during an investigation.
    • Target letter – A target letter from the United States Attorney’s Office informs you that you are the target of a federal investigation and may be charged with a federal crime. Receiving a target letter is a clear indication that you are under federal investigation and should seek legal representation immediately.

    If you suspect you are under federal investigation or have experienced any of the signs mentioned above, it is essential to take action to protect your rights. Contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to discuss your situation and receive guidance on how to proceed.

    Who Investigates Federal Crimes?

    Various federal agencies investigate federal crimes, each focusing on specific offenses. Some crimes may require multiple agencies to work together. Key federal agencies and the crimes they handle include –

    • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – The FBI handles a wide range of federal crimes, including public corruption, civil rights violations, organized crimes, white-collar crimes, violent crimes, terrorism, and cybercrimes. They often coordinate with local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute these offenses.
    • Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) – The DEA investigates controlled substance violations, including drug smuggling, distribution, and manufacturing. They also collaborate with local law enforcement agencies to tackle drug-related crimes.
    • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) – The ATF investigates crimes related to illicit liquor and contraband trafficking, illegal use of firearms, and transportation, manufacture, sale, purchase, and possession of explosives and explosive materials. They also handle bomb, explosive, and arson crimes and coordinate with local law enforcement.
    • United States Secret Service – The Secret Service investigates cyber and counterfeit offenses and protects national leaders and their families. They work closely with other federal agencies and local law enforcement to protect national security.
    • Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) – Investigates transnational crimes and threats, such as drug smuggling, child exploitation, human trafficking, financial crimes, identity fraud, and commercial fraud. They coordinate with other federal and local law enforcement agencies to address these complex crimes.

    Penalties For a Federal Crime Conviction

    Federal crimes often carry severe penalties, which can impact your life even after your sentence has been served. Understanding the potential penalties for a federal crime and the consequences of a federal conviction is crucial when facing federal charges. Below, we outline the various sentencing factors and consequences you may face upon completion of your sentence.

    Sentencing Factors

    Federal sentencing guidelines provide a framework for judges to determine appropriate sentences for federal crimes. These guidelines consider the offense’s nature and severity, the defendant’s criminal history, and other relevant factors. Key factors that may influence federal sentencing include –

    • Base offense level – Each federal crime has a base offense level, a starting point for determining the appropriate sentence. More serious crimes have higher base offense levels, leading to more severe penalties.
    • Specific offense characteristics – The sentencing guidelines also consider particular offense characteristics, such as the amount of money involved in a financial crime, the quantity of drugs in a drug offense, or the use of a weapon during the commission of a crime. These factors can increase or decrease the severity of the sentence.
    • Victim impact – The impact of the crime on the victim or victims can also influence the sentence. For example, a judge may impose a harsher sentence if the offense resulted in serious injury or death or if the victims were particularly vulnerable.
    • Role in the offense – A defendant’s role in the activity in question can affect the sentence. Those who played a leading or organizing role may receive more severe penalties, while those with a minor or peripheral role may receive more lenient sentences.
    • Acceptance of responsibility – If a defendant accepts responsibility for their actions and demonstrates genuine remorse, the judge may reduce the sentence.
    • Cooperation with authorities – In some cases, a defendant’s cooperation with law enforcement or the prosecution, such as providing information or testifying against co-conspirators, may result in a reduced sentence.

    Potential Penalties For a Conviction

    Federal crimes can carry a range of penalties, including:

    • Imprisonment – Federal prison sentences can range from months to life imprisonment, depending on the crime and the defendant’s criminal history. Some federal crimes also carry mandatory minimum sentences, which require judges to impose a specific minimum prison term upon conviction.
    • Fines – Federal crimes often carry substantial fines, reaching hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for certain offenses.
    • Probation – In some cases, a judge may impose a term of probation in addition to or instead of imprisonment. Probation requires the defendant to comply with specific conditions, such as regular meetings with a probation officer, drug testing, or community service.
    • Restitution – Federal courts may order defendants to pay restitution to victims to compensate them for financial losses resulting from the crime.
    • Forfeiture – In some cases, the government may seize assets or property connected to criminal activity as part of the sentence.

    Contact a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Now

    Are you facing federal charges for a crime in Cincinnati? Are you concerned for your freedom, finances, and reputation? If so, turn to an experienced Federal criminal offense lawyer from Moermond & Mulligan, LLC for help. Our team has more than 50 years of combined experience representing people accused of crimes in Cincinnati, including federal offenses, and we’ll be ready to put our skills to work for you. Take the first step toward an aggressive defense and call our firm or contact us online for a confidential case evaluation. From there, we can determine the best course of action for protecting your rights and seeking the best possible outcome for your case.


    You helped me with a life changing situation and I'm a better father and son with your help and support.


    Patrick and his team are the only choice!


    Help in the Middle of the Night

    Satisfied Client

    When he walks in, all the fear melts away and he comes out swinging.