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Offenses related to drugs and fraud have been relatively stable, but more people have been facing federal immigration charges in recent years.

Immigration Beats Drugs and Fraud in Federal Criminal Caseload

If you or someone you know has been charged with a federal crime, the chance that it was an immigration offense is quite high. When the Office of Research and Data analyzed the criminal caseload of federal courts, immigration charges accounted for 32.2 percent of all cases in 2012. Drug crimes come in a close second at 30.2 percent in the same year, and 10.5 percent of cases involved fraud charges.

Top Immigration-Related Offenses

According to the same report, immigration issues had been increasing for 10 years prior to 2012. The number one source of charges was unlawful entry into the United States, followed by overstaying legal authority to remain in the country. Smuggling activities made up a smaller portion of cases. Because of the prevalence of immigration issues in recent years, law firms that work in the area of federal criminal defense would need expertise in the complexities of immigration crimes.

Leading Sources of Drug Charges

In the federal courts, cocaine, in either the powdered or crack form, was the drug most often responsible for criminal cases. Marijuana offenders followed closely on the government’s docket. Charges for methamphetamine manufacture and distribution came in third as of 2012.

Fraud Reaches into the Millions

Although only about one-tenth of federal criminal cases pertain to fraud, the cases often concerned large amounts of money. In 2012, the average monetary losses suffered by victims in federal fraud cases equaled $5,340,498. With these three categories forming the bulk of criminal cases, law firms that represent clients in federal courts would do well to specialize in one or more of these legal areas.