Knoxville Federal Crimes Defense Attorney


Protecting the Rights of People Charged with Federal Crimes in the Knoxville Area

Every day, people across the state of Tennessee are arrested and charged with a crime. The media is constantly reporting on the latest crime statistics and sensationalizes every case that it can. Federal crimes get special attention. Lost in all of the noise is the fact that not everyone who is arrested and accused of a crime is actually guilty.

If you’ve been charged with a federal crime in the Knoxville area, Barnes Law can help. With extensive experience representing federal defendants in a wide variety of charges, criminal defense attorney John Barnes and former federal prosecutor Ed Holt have the knowledge and skills to help you navigate the federal court system and face your charges. From the very first meeting, we work with you to make sure you understand all of your options and are completely comfortable with our legal strategy. Your future is at stake, so don’t delay – call us at 865-805-5703 or send us an email to schedule a free case evaluation and walk you through a DUI case in Knoxville, Blount, Sevier, Loudon, and Roane counties.

Schedule Your Free Criminal Defense Consultation Today

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We Know Federal Criminal Law

While there is a lot of overlap between federal and state law, it is critical to have an attorney who understands both the subtle differences and the stark contrasts between federal and state criminal charges. We work with people charged with the following federal crimes:

  • Embezzlement
  • Mail and Wire Fraud
  • Federal drug charges including drug trafficking and conspiracies
  • Healthcare Fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Immigration crimes

Knowledge of the federal laws and procedure governing these charges and the cases that have interpreted them is indispensable to a successful defense. If you’re facing federal criminal charges, you need an attorney who understands the intricacies of these complex federal statutes. We have the knowledge you need to face your charges successfully.


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We Know the Federal Court System

Knowledge of the law is essential to your defense, but understanding the court system is vital to your success. Understanding the federal court rules and procedures can not only help protect your rights but also give you a significant advantage in challenging the prosecution’s case.

The prosecution knows the ins-and-outs of the federal court system intimately and will use this knowledge to their advantage. In order to defend yourself, you need someone on your side who also understands the system and can use procedural tactics to your advantage. At Barnes Law, we understand that procedure can make the difference in your case, and we use our knowledge of the federal system to get you the best possible result.


Federal law enforcement has a wide array of investigative tools and robust enforcement powers at their disposal. Federal prosecutors don’t file charges until they believe they have assembled the best possible case, and once filed, they pursue those charges very aggressively. In addition, there are often political agendas at stake in federal cases, as well as the prosecutor’s career ambitions. Federal prosecutors are diligent and focused on one thing – getting a conviction.

Attorney Ed Holt has years of experience as a federal prosecutor and in law enforcement, as a former Assistant Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. He and the team at Barnes Law will put that experience to work on your behalf.

With extensive experience representing defendants in federal crimes, we know what to expect going into the case and how to handle the tactics of aggressive federal prosecutors. We know what it takes to get a fair result, and so we provide aggressive, dedicated legal representation to our clients.


The best possible outcome in any criminal case is a dismissal of the charges or an acquittal at trial. Unfortunately, this is not an option in every case, and so a discussion of what happens if you are convicted may be appropriate.

In order to reduce sentencing disparities throughout the federal court system, Congress created the United States Sentencing Commission. In turn, the Commission developed the federal sentencing guidelines. These guidelines will apply to any felony crime and serious misdemeanors, and will focus on two factors in determining a prison sentence following a conviction:

  1. The conduct associated with the crime; and
  2. The defendant’s criminal history.

The conduct associated with the crime determines what is referred to as the “offense level.” Under the federal sentencing guidelines, there are 43 separate offense levels. The offense level, together with the defendant’s criminal history, then determines the range or zone of your sentence. All of this is laid out in the sentencing table, an integral part of the federal sentencing guidelines.

Fortunately, federal sentencing isn’t completely formulaic. The guidelines do allow for certain adjustments and departures to either increase or decrease the sentence, but you need to know what factors may entitle you to a more lenient sentence. Also, you need to know what arguments to make in your favor to persuade the court that these factors should be taken into account. The prosecutors will not make these arguments for you, and in fact, may be arguing for your sentence to be increased. An experienced federal criminal defense attorney can protect you from overaggressive prosecution tactics and make sure the court considers all the circumstances of your case when determining your sentence.

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While federal law can be similar to state law when it comes to criminal charges, there are also significant differences that can make or break your case. It’s not enough to know the generalities – you need someone with specific knowledge of federal law, federal procedure, and the federal sentencing guidelines. An attorney may have significant experience with state criminal charges, but that doesn’t mean they’re qualified to handle a federal case. Your future is at stake, and you don’t want someone who is learning on the job.


Knoxville federal criminal defense attorney John Barnes and former federal prosecutor Ed Holt have the skill and experience you need to get the best possible result. Dedicated and aggressive, we prepare your case for trial from the very first meeting – we don’t consider a plea agreement unless we think it’s truly your best option. We make sure our clients are well informed and completely comfortable with every aspect of our defense strategy. Our focus is on protecting your future. If you would like a free consultation and case evaluation, call us at 865-805-5703 or send us an email today.

What’s Next

The large majority of DUI cases don’t get any farther than this. They are settled or dismissed during the process I’ve been describing here.

There are a few DUI cases that end up in Criminal Court, for various reason, but that’s an entire article (or book) of its own.

At this point, hopefully you have a good idea of how the DUI prosecution and defense process works and what to expect. I hope you’ll give me a call if you have questions about your case and if you’d like to see if working with the Barnes Law Firm is right for you. (865) 234-3409

You can also check out some of our other articles that address specific aspects that come up in many DUI cases from the sidebar at your right or at the top of this page.

Client Testimonials

"John is amazing not only did he get the outcome he promised he did it in a shorter time than he originally said. He went above and beyond in returning my emails and phone calls. John and staff truly cared about me as a person. I highly recommend John Barnes."

Coach M.

"I would highly recommend Mr. Barnes to everyone & I would definitely contact Mr. Barnes if I or anyone in my family should ever need an attorney again:) They were all very professional, friendly & treated our case with importance:) Mr.Barnes got my son’s DUI dropped to reckless driving so I would definitely recommend him to everyone!!!!!!!"

Alicia U.

"Mr. Barnes and his staff are amazing. I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job with my case. At no point in the long process was I disappointed in any way with how things were handled."

Scott C.