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Even the penalties for small federal offenses can be devastating

Oftentimes when we talk about federal crimes, we discuss offenses that carry severe penalties that may include decades behind bars and tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Though many federal crimes fall into this category, there are many others that are relatively minor. Yet, those accused of these seemingly lesser crimes should still zealously defend themselves against the charges, as failing to do so could still have a significantly negative impact on his or her life.

For example, it is a federal crime to enter property owned by the military, navy, or Coast Guard for any purpose that is against the law. This includes posts, reservations, forts, yards, stations, and arsenals. Additionally, it is a federal crime to reenter any of these areas after being removed from the property. Though this seems like a small offense that would carry little, if any, ramifications, the truth of the matter is different.

Those convicted of this offense can face jail and fines. In fact, federal law authorizes imprisonment for up to six months and or a fine. Six months in federal prison is no laughing matter, and the long-lasting effects of a conviction can be difficult to escape. Those who are convicted of this crime, whether sentenced to prison or not, may have trouble finding and holding a job, housing, and acquiring an education. Also, the fine that may be imposed upon conviction could leave an individual struggling financially, perhaps even disallowing him or her from adequately caring for his or her child.

As illustrated above, even what seem like small federal offenses can prove to be devastating for an individual's life. Therefore, if someone becomes a suspect, faces allegations, and/or is placed under arrest, then he or she should start considering what legal defense options are available.

Source: Legal Information Institute, "18 U.S. Code § 1382," accessed on July 17, 2015

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