434 Fayetteville St #2030
Raleigh, NC 27601

Federal Defense

Federal charges mean the defendant fight for his freedom from the U.S. Government, with its vast resources for investigating and prosecuting criminal offenses. Any person under investigation by a federal agency or accused in a U.S. District Court faces the potential of a long federal prison sentence—in some cases, with a mandatory minimum number of years.

If you face federal prosecution, you need a defense attorney with federal court experience.

Raleigh Federal Defense Lawyer

For any charge in federal court, you can turn to the Coolidge Law Firm for an experienced federal defense attorney who will seek the best possible outcome for your case. Whether your case calls for skilled negotiation tactics or aggressive representation in the courtroom, a Raleigh federal defense lawyer from the Coolidge Law Firm has the experience you seek. Contact us today at (919) 239-8448 so we can begin working on your defense strategy.

Our attorneys are licensed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Federal Criminal Defense Attorney David Coolidge understands the challenges that you face. He has the experience and compassion to successfully defend you against the federal government. Federal prosecutors know and respect his trial advocacy skills. Unlike many lawyers, Attorney Coolidge requires that the federal government prove their case before ever discussing a plea.  Facing Federal charges in North Carolina, call us today.


Info on Defense in U.S. District Court


Back to top

Types of Federal Charges

Federal law includes a wide range of criminal offenses. Federal officials have jurisdiction over anywhere in the state. Offenses include:


Back to top

Differences Between Federal and North Carolina Law

Most criminal accusations in Wake County involve alleged violations of the North Carolina General Statutes. The Raleigh Police Department, Cary Police Department, Wake County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, and other state and local agencies usually investigate alleged state offenses.

If you are accused of a state crime, you will face trial at the Wake County Justice Center. The district attorney represents the people, and you may be represented by an attorney licensed to practice by the North Carolina State Bar. If convicted, you face a sentence that may include state prison.

Federal charges, on the other hand, are accusations of breaking a criminal statute of the U.S. Code. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, or other federal agency typically investigates these allegations.

If accused of a federal crime, you face trial in one of the six U.S. District Courthouses in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The U.S. Attorney represents the people, and to represent you, your attorney must be licensed in the Eastern District. If convicted, you may be sentenced to time in federal prison.

Some federal charges carry more severe penalties than charges for similar allegations under state law. The federal government also typically has more resources to investigate criminal allegations than state or local agencies.

Both state and federal charges have one important commonality: If accused, a person should immediately seek knowledgeable counsel. Your attorney should be familiar with the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence. At Coolidge Law Firm, we are proud to have experience representing clients in the Eastern District of North Carolina.


Back to top

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

In pop culture, you may see references to federal prison as a country club. This is a myth. In federal prison, you will be completely stripped of your liberty.

Many federal charges carry mandatory minimum sentences. If a mandatory minimum sentence applies, the Court has no discretion in sentencing the defendant to a lesser term, despite the presence of mitigating circumstances.

Mandatory minimums apply for many charges of trafficking a controlled substance. If convicted of manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with the intent distribute a certain amount of a drug, the defendant may face a mandatory minimum sentence. The length of the sentence depends on the amount and the type of substance and how many prior convictions are on the defendant’s record.

For example, for a first offense of manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin, 10 grams of LSD, or 1,000 marijuana plants, the lowest sentence possible is 10 years. If any part of the operation resulted in the death or serious bodily injury of another, the minimum goes up to 20 years.

Not all mandatory minimums are for drug charges. Some other examples are:


Back to top

Downward Departure in a Federal Case

Section 5K1.1 of the United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines Manual gives the U.S. Attorney the power to offer a downward departure to a person who offered substantial assistance to an investigation or prosecution. This means that the person offered certain helpful information about a case and obtained a lesser sentence as a result.

If you are being investigated for an alleged violation of federal law or you have already been arrested, you may have heard about downward departures and think you might be able to help out the prosecution for leniency. However, do not act on your own by trying to strike a deal with the U.S. attorney.

Substantial assistance deals are delicate matters. If the deal falls through, you could wind up giving away information against yourself and suffer the maximum penalty. Be represented by a skilled attorney, who can negotiate on your behalf. Never talk without representation.


Back to top

Finding the Best Defense Attorney for Charges in the U.S. District Courthouse in Raleigh

Federal charges are a very serious matter. Act now to preserve your freedom. Contact a skilled Raleigh federal defense lawyer who is both experienced in the U.S. District Courthouse and dedicated to fighting for your rights. When results matter, contact federal defense attorney David Coolidge. At the Coolidge Law Firm, our attorneys are licensed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call us today at (919) 239-8448 for a free consultation so we can begin working to protect your rights. We will never stop fighting for you.  

Pay Online
credit cards icons Click to Hire Us Now
Our Office Location
office building
Coolidge Law Firm
BB&T Building
434 Fayetteville St.
Suite 2030
Raleigh, NC 27601
Map · Directions
Explore Our Website
Our Attorney and Staff
David Coolidge
David A. Coolidge
is heading up our team as criminal defense attorney and graduate at the top of his class from Duke University School of Law ...
Read More
Steven MacGilvray
Steven P. MacGilvray
Steven P. MacGilvray is an Associate Attorney at Coolidge Law Firm, focusing primarily on Criminal Defense. Mr. MacGilvray graduated from Regent University School of Law ...
Read More
Brent Blakesley
Brent Blakesley
manages the daily operations at Coolidge Law Firm. Brent graduated from Duke University in 2008 with a BA in Computer Science, BA in Linguistics ...
Read More