Federal Case Defense: When it's You vs. the Feds
What is federal case defense?
Whenever a person is being convicted of a federal offense, he or she will want a federal case defense lawyer on the case. Here’s a list – by no means exhaustive – of the charges that deserve the attention of federal defense lawyers:
Insurance fraud, embezzlement, extortion, tax fraud; violent crimes like kidnapping, manslaughter, aggravated assault; sexual offenses like statutory rape, solicitation of prostitution, child pornography; other misdemeanors and felonies like money laundering, mail fraud, bank fraud, disorderly conduct, robbery; drug possession with intent to distribute, cultivation of marijuana. The list goes on. Basically, if the crime is charged by a federal body – the federal government – or if it breaks federal laws, rather than state laws, you’ll want to research lawyers with experience in federal law.
The following is a quick overview of the differences between federal and state courts.
Federal courts: They decide cases that involve disputes under federal laws, disputes with the US government, conflicts between different states, or conflicts between the US government and foreign entities. Cases tried in federal courts must raise what’s known as a “federal question,” like disobedience of federal laws.
State courts: The federal government’s crime laws differ from the individual states’. Rules of evidence are also different, marking a split in how trials work in federal versus state courts.
Federal crime cases are prosecuted by the US Attorney’s office, whereas state crime cases are prosecuted by states’ District Attorneys’ offices.
Federal cases are usually investigated by federal bodies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Secret Service, Homeland Security, or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Federal prosecutors generally have smaller case loads than their state prosecutor counterparts. That means federal prosecutors have more time to devote to individual cases.
The conviction rate in federal court is an impressive 90% because the government spends a large amount of time and money on the investigative process.
Hiring: Look for lawyers with long histories of experience in the federal system.
What they do: Federal attorneys negotiate a plea to get charges reduced. If you end up going to court, a federal case lawyer can work for your acquittal (that means you would not be found guilty of the crime), and can work to make sure you are proven innocent. In preparation for trial proceedings, federal case lawyers gather information from witnesses and prosecutors to use in the defense of your case.
Who is a federal case defense lawyer for?
If you have been accused of a federal crime and you could be facing jail time, you’ll want a federal case lawyer working in your defense.
Federal case lawyers understand the consequences that the charges have on you and your family.
There are also those who are wrongfully accused. Unfortunately, a charge is a charge, whether or not you know (or think) that you are innocent. Often, the wrongfully accused party will plead guilty in order to avoid appearing in court and drawing out the whole process. Even though pleading guilty (to a wrongful accusation) could get you out of serving jail time, you could still end up with a felony charge on your record.
Federal case defense lawyers can guide you through federal legal traps. They can act as intermediaries between you and the authorities carrying out the investigation.
The pros and cons:
Federal case lawyers have an intimate knowledge of federal law. They investigate each case in depth. Keep in mind that federal prosecutors tend to have more academic credentials than state-level prosecutors. And federal cases are often more difficult to defend than state cases. For all these reasons, a federal case lawyer working in your defense could greatly benefit you.
Of course, costs vary. These lawyers are trained, expert, and experienced in their field. Many have worked prosecuting the charges of the federal government. For these reasons, they will come at a cost equal to their expertise. You’ll have to decide whether you want to face the federal government’s charges alone, or whether it’s worth it to you to have the guidance of a master of federal statutes.
The bottom line:
It’s no blessing to face federal criminal charges. The federal government has the toughest groups of people investigating its charges – groups like the FBI, DEA, and IRS. A federal case defense lawyer takes his or her credentials from work in the federal government, or work specializing in federal law.
*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this article as a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances, and you should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. Publication of this article and your receipt of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship.