Have You Gotten A Ticket For A Crime On Federal Property?
If you are accused of committing a crime on federal property, the charges and penalties are different than if the alleged crime occurred elsewhere. While you might be handed what looks like a regular traffic ticket, the truth is that if you pay it like a regular traffic ticket you may end up with unexpected consequences such as a federal criminal record that could impact future job prospects and worse.
At The Law Office of Corey I. Cohen & Associates in Orlando, our attorneys understand the unique nuances involved in cases of crimes allegedly committed on federal property. Whether you have been accused of a federal DUI or another federal misdemeanor or petty offense, we can defend you against being convicted and facing potentially life-changing penalties.
What Makes A Crime A Federal Misdemeanor Or Petty Offense?
If a crime is committed on federal property, that means it is within federal jurisdiction and can be charged as a federal misdemeanor or petty offense. Example of federal properties include:
- Military bases such as Patrick Air Force Base
- National park land such as Ocala National Forest and Canaveral National Seashore, which encompasses Playalinda Beach
- NASA facilities such as the Kennedy Space Center
- Post offices
- Federal government buildings
People don’t usually think of crimes like drunk driving or speeding as federal offenses, but if they are committed on any of the federal properties listed above they may be. You may not even realize you are on federal property. You might be driving on a road that is considered federal land and thus be subject to a federal misdemeanor or petty offense.
Some federal misdemeanors and petty offenses may be specific to the federal property on which they are committed. These include things like feeding animals, taking rocks or other souvenirs, or even driving on a road not open to the public.
Other federal misdemeanors and petty offenses are the same illegal acts that may be committed elsewhere, except that the charges are more serious because they are on federal property. Examples include:
- Speeding and traffic violations
- Public intoxication and other alcohol-related crimes
- Drug crimes
- Disorderly conduct
- Hunting and fishing violations
Petty offenses and misdemeanors are not exclusive categories. Petty offenses are those with penalties of fines and up to half a year in jail. Lesser misdemeanors, class B and class C misdemeanors, are included within petty offenses. Infractions, which are noncriminal offenses, are also included within petty offenses. Misdemeanors vary in severity, from the most severe class A misdemeanors to the least severe class C misdemeanors. Unfortunately, the person charged may not know whether they are facing a misdemeanor or a petty offense. In both cases, the process starts with a simple citation.
Drinking and driving is among the most common crimes that occur on federal property such as national parks. DUI committed on federal property may be charged as a federal misdemeanor, typically a class B misdemeanor. A conviction for federal DUI comes with serious penalties including fines and time behind bars, as well as driver’s license suspension.
What Are The Penalties?
Penalties for federal petty offenses and misdemeanors vary depending on the nature and severity of the charge. Here is a guide to potential penalties based on the level of offense:
Federal Petty Offenses
Federal infraction: This is the lowest level of federal petty offense. Infractions are noncriminal offenses that come with a fine and/or up to 5 days in jail as punishment.
Federal class C misdemeanor: This is the lowest level of federal misdemeanor, but it still can result in a fine and/or a maximum jail sentence of 30 days.
Federal class B misdemeanor: This is the highest level of federal misdemeanor. The penalty can be a fine and/or up to 6 months in jail. Most federal DUIs are charged as class B misdemeanors.
Federal Offenses Greater Than Petty Offenses
Federal class A misdemeanor: This is more serious than a federal petty offense, but not a felony level crime. A year in jail is the maximum sentence, and there may be a fine as well.
Keep in mind that different federal charges may also carry collateral consequences such as loss of your driver’s license.
What Is The Central Violations Bureau?
The Central Violations Bureau is the national center that processes tickets for petty offenses committed on federal property. They accept payments for federal violation notices. On your ticket, you may see instructions to pay a fine to the Central Violations Bureau. However, you must be aware that you are not simply paying a ticket online or by mail. You are pleading guilty to the offense you have been accused of, opening the door to other potential ramifications such as driver’s license loss and a criminal record.
What An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Do
Before you pay your Central Violations Bureau ticket or take any other action, you have the right to review your options with an experienced lawyer. Could the charge or penalties be reduced? Could the ticket be dismissed? We will help you understand the possibilities and the potential consequences.
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