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The BEST LAWYER ANYONE COULD ASK FOR!!! Todd changed our lives! He’s not JUST a lawyer representing us for a case. Todd and his office have become Family. When we entered his office in August of 2022, we entered with such anxiety, uncertainty, and so much stress. Honestly we were very lost. My husband and I felt alone. How could a lawyer who didn’t know us, know our family, know our background represents us, When this could change our lives for the next 5-7years that my husband was facing in Federal jail. By the time our free consultation was over with Todd, we left his office at ease. All our questions were answered and we had a sense of relief.

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Best Austin Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers

April 14, 2024

What is Austin Federal Criminal Defense?

If you’ve been charged with a federal crime in Austin, Texas, you need an experienced federal criminal defense attorney on your side. Federal crimes are prosecuted by the U.S. government and the penalties can be much more severe than for state-level offenses. Having the right legal representation is critical.Austin federal criminal defense refers to the specialized legal practice of defending individuals accused of committing federal crimes in the Austin area. Federal criminal defense attorneys have specific knowledge of federal laws and court procedures to provide the most effective defense possible against charges brought by U.S. government prosecutors.Some key aspects of Austin federal criminal defense include:

  • Defending clients in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, which has jurisdiction over federal cases in Austin
  • Handling a wide range of federal charges such as drug trafficking, white collar crimes, computer crimes, and immigration offenses
  • Navigating the complex federal criminal justice system and federal sentencing guidelines
  • Protecting the constitutional rights of the accused throughout the process

If you’re facing federal charges, it’s essential to hire a skilled Austin federal criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to start building your defense. Let’s take a closer look at what’s involved.

The Federal Criminal Justice Process

The federal criminal justice system operates very differently than the state system in Texas. Here are the key stages of a typical federal criminal case:

  1. Investigation – Federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI, DEA or IRS investigate suspected criminal activity. They may use undercover operations, surveillance, search warrants and other tactics to gather evidence.
  2. Charging Decision – If investigators believe they have sufficient evidence, they refer the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A federal prosecutor then decides whether to bring formal criminal charges, usually in the form of an indictment or criminal complaint.
  3. Initial Appearance/Arraignment – Shortly after an arrest or indictment, the accused appears before a federal magistrate judge. The charges are read, rights are explained, and the defendant enters an initial plea (usually “not guilty” at this stage). The judge also makes decisions about pretrial release or detention.
  4. Discovery – The prosecutor must turn over evidence to the defense, including police reports, witness statements, photos/videos, and other materials. The defense attorney analyzes this discovery and investigates to build the strongest possible case.
  5. Pretrial Motions – The defense may file motions challenging the legality of searches, seizures, interrogations or identifications. Winning these motions can result in evidence being suppressed. The defense may also request a bill of particulars for more details on the charges.
  6. Plea Bargaining – The vast majority of federal cases are resolved through plea agreements negotiated between the prosecution and defense. A defendant may agree to plead guilty, often to reduced charges, in exchange for a lower sentence. Plea deals must be approved by a judge.
  7. Trial – If no plea deal is reached, the case goes before a federal district judge or jury for trial. The prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Both sides present evidence and arguments according to the Federal Rules of Evidence and Criminal Procedure.
  8. Sentencing – If found guilty, the judge determines the sentence based on federal sentencing guidelines, which provide ranges based on the offense and the defendant’s criminal history. The judge considers sentencing memoranda from both sides as well as victim impact statements and other factors.
  9. Appeal – A defendant found guilty after a trial has the right to appeal their conviction and sentence to a federal appeals court. An appeal challenges legal errors, not the facts of the case. The appeals process can take months or even years to resolve.

Having an experienced federal criminal defense attorney guide you through this complex process is absolutely critical. Your lawyer can identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, negotiate for reduced charges or sentencing, and zealously defend your rights at trial if necessary.

Common Federal Crimes in Austin

Federal criminal charges can arise from a wide variety of illegal activities, often based on interstate commerce or national security issues. Some of the most common types of federal cases handled by Austin criminal defense lawyers include:

Drug Crimes

Drug trafficking is one of the most frequently prosecuted federal offenses. This includes manufacturing, distributing, selling or possessing illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana. Prescription drug fraud involving opioids has also been a major focus of federal law enforcement in recent years. Penalties for federal drug crimes are severe and based on the type and quantity of the drug involved.

White Collar Crimes

White collar offenses are non-violent financially-motivated crimes, often committed by business professionals or government officials. Examples include various types of fraud (mail, wire, bank, securities, healthcare), embezzlement, money laundering, tax evasion, and bribery. These tend to be complex cases involving extensive paper trails. Penalties may include lengthy prison sentences and massive fines.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.


As technology has advanced, so have criminal activities involving computers and the internet. Federal cybercrimes include hacking, identity theft, credit card fraud, cyberstalking, and child pornography. These cases often involve multiple jurisdictions and require analysis of digital forensic evidence. Convictions can result in decades behind bars.

Immigration Offenses

Austin’s proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border makes immigration-related offenses a common focus for federal law enforcement. Illegal entry and reentry, human trafficking, harboring undocumented immigrants, and document fraud are some examples. Penalties have become increasingly harsh in recent years.

Firearms Offenses

Illegal possession, use, and sales of firearms are often prosecuted at the federal level, especially when they occur across state lines. Convicted felons, drug users, and those subject to domestic violence restraining orders are prohibited from having guns under federal law. Using a firearm during a violent or drug trafficking crime brings enhanced penalties.

Child Exploitation

Crimes against children are a top priority for federal investigators and prosecutors. This includes child pornography, online enticement of minors, child sex trafficking, and transporting minors across state lines for illegal sexual activity. Convictions bring severe mandatory minimum prison sentences and sex offender registration.Other examples of federal crimes include bank robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, espionage, and wildlife trafficking. If you’ve been accused of any federal offense, you need an Austin criminal defense attorney with specific federal court experience on your side right away.

Defenses to Federal Criminal Charges

An experienced Austin federal criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly investigate the facts of your case to identify all possible defenses. Some common defenses raised in federal cases include:

Lack of Evidence

The prosecution has the burden to prove every element of a federal crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If there are holes in their evidence, or it was obtained illegally, your attorney may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed. Challenging the reliability of witnesses, the chain of custody of evidence, and the accuracy of tests is crucial.

Violation of Constitutional Rights

We all have rights under the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, to remain silent, and to have legal counsel. If federal agents violated these rights during their investigation, your lawyer can file motions to suppress illegally obtained evidence. This might include challenging an unlawful traffic stop, warrantless search, coerced confession, or denial of an attorney.


Entrapment occurs when federal agents or informants induce someone to commit a crime they otherwise would not have committed. It’s not entrapment for officials to simply provide an opportunity to break the law. But if they used coercion, threats, harassment, or fraud to get someone to engage in criminal conduct, that can form the basis of an entrapment defense.

Lack of Intent

Many federal crimes require the prosecution to prove that the defendant acted with criminal intent or knowledge. If your actions were accidental, mistaken, or done under duress, your attorney may be able to show that you lacked the necessary mental state for the crime alleged. This is especially relevant in complex white-collar cases.


An alibi defense asserts that the accused was somewhere else when the crime occurred, and therefore could not have committed it. This requires evidence in the form of witness testimony, surveillance video, GPS records, or other documentation to conclusively show that the defendant was not at the crime scene.The specific defenses that may apply in your federal case will depend on the unique facts involved. Having a skilled federal criminal defense attorney evaluate all the evidence is the first step towards identifying the best path forward.

Hiring the Right Austin Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

When your freedom is on the line, you can’t afford to take chances with an inexperienced lawyer. Federal criminal cases are incredibly complex, high-stakes matters. You need an attorney who focuses their practice on federal defense and knows the system inside and out. Here are some key things to look for:

Federal Court Experience

Not all criminal defense lawyers are admitted to practice in federal court. Look for an attorney who is licensed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas and has extensive experience handling cases there. Federal court has its own rules, procedures, and culture that are distinct from state courts. Your attorney needs to be intimately familiar with how it all works.

Knowledge of Federal Laws

Federal crimes are defined by the U.S. Code, not Texas statutes. Federal sentencing guidelines are also completely different than state sentencing schemes. Your lawyer must have a deep understanding of the specific federal laws you’re accused of violating and how to navigate the sentencing process to get the best outcome.

Investigative Resources

Federal cases often involve complex fact patterns that span multiple jurisdictions. Your defense attorney needs to have the resources to conduct a thorough independent investigation. This includes working with private investigators, forensic experts, and other specialists to analyze evidence and build your case.

Trial Experience

While most federal cases end in plea bargains, yours may need to go to trial to get the best result. You want an attorney who is a skilled and experienced litigator, comfortable with federal jury trials. Look for a lawyer with a track record of success in the courtroom.

Reputation and Reviews

The best federal criminal defense attorneys have a reputation for excellence among their peers, clients, and even prosecutors and judges. Look for a lawyer who is well-respected in the legal community, with positive reviews from past clients. You can check attorney directories like Avvo and Martindale-Hubbell to get a sense of their standing.

Personalized Attention

Finally, you want a federal defense lawyer who will give your case the individualized attention it deserves. Avoid attorneys who seem overworked or who want to hand your case off to less experienced associates. Your lawyer should take the time to listen to your story, answer your questions, and keep you informed at every stage of your case.At the end of the day, you need to feel confident in your choice of attorney. Schedule consultations with a few different lawyers and trust your gut. Your future is at stake, so don’t settle for anything less than the best.


Being charged with a federal crime is a terrifying experience. The power and resources of the federal government can seem overwhelming. But remember, you have rights, and there is hope. Hiring a top-notch Austin federal criminal defense attorney is the most important step you can take to protect your freedom.Your lawyer will stand by your side every step of the way, from the initial investigation through trial and appeal if necessary. They will be your champion, working tirelessly to uncover evidence, identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and tell your story in the most compelling way.No attorney can guarantee a particular outcome, but you can be assured that your Austin federal defense lawyer will fight for the best possible result. Whether that means getting charges dismissed, negotiating a favorable plea deal, or winning an acquittal at trial, they will be there for you.

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