27 Nov 23

Hiring the Best Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer for Counterfeiting Charges

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Last Updated on: 14th December 2023, 10:39 pm

Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Federal Counterfeiting Case

Facing federal counterfeiting charges can be an incredibly stressful and frightening experience. The penalties are severe, with up to 20 years in prison for even basic counterfeiting offenses under 18 USC §471. And proving your innocence against the formidable resources of federal prosecutors is often an uphill battle.
Having an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer on your side is absolutely critical. The right attorney can thoroughly examine the government’s case, identify weaknesses, advise you on possible defenses, negotiate for reduced charges or dismissals, and vigorously represent your best interests at trial if necessary.
But not all lawyers are created equal when it comes to defending complex federal cases like counterfeiting. So how do you go about finding the best possible lawyer for your specific situation? This article provides guidance on things to look for and questions to ask as you evaluate attorneys to handle your federal counterfeiting charges.

Seek Out Genuine Federal Criminal Defense Specialists

The first thing to look for is lawyers who specialize specifically in federal criminal defense cases. Do not just hire any criminal defense lawyer without confirming their federal experience. The federal system is vastly different from state courts, with complex rules and procedures that general practitioners often struggle with.
When searching for lawyers, look for ones who prominently advertise their federal criminal defense services on their websites and bios. Phrases like “federal crime lawyer,” “federal criminal defense attorney,” or “federal defense lawyer” are good indicators. Prior experience as a federal prosecutor can also be hugely beneficial.
It’s also perfectly reasonable to directly ask lawyers about the specifics of their federal defense experience during initial consultations. A genuine federal criminal specialist should have no trouble providing details on their background defending federal counterfeiting and other federal cases.

Find Lawyers Experienced with Counterfeiting Specifically

Within federal criminal defense, you’ll also want to target lawyers with specific experience defending counterfeiting charges. Federal counterfeiting laws are complex, incorporating statutes like 18 USC §471 (basic counterfeiting) as well as laws related to possessing counterfeiting devices (18 USC §474), dealing in counterfeit items (18 USC §473), and attempting to pass counterfeit currency (18 USC §472).
The lawyers you hire should have demonstrated experience dealing specifically with counterfeiting defenses and negotiating counterfeiting charges with federal prosecutors. This specialized experience is not something you want your lawyer to be learning on the job in your case.

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Understand Their Track Record of Results

Any lawyer you consider should be able to provide concrete examples of positive results they have delivered for past counterfeiting clients.
Of course, every case is different, and no ethical lawyer can ever guarantee a particular outcome. But there are tangible metrics you can look to for indications of quality, like:

  • Examples of counterfeiting cases where charges were reduced or dismissed through effective negotiation
  • Favorable plea bargain deals secured compared to the initial charges and sentencing exposure
  • Acquittals or not guilty verdicts obtained at trial for counterfeiting defendants

Dig into the specifics here. Ask the lawyers to quantify their sentencing outcomes compared to the initial charges and guidelines faced by their clients. Acquittals and dismissals speak for themselves.
While past results don’t guarantee future outcomes, they provide objective evidence of the quality of representation you can expect.

Verify Their Resources and Capabilities

Successfully defending complex federal cases requires substantial resources and capabilities. When evaluating lawyer options, get clear specifics on what they bring to the table, such as:

  • Investigative capabilities – Digging into the details independently instead of just accepting the government’s evidence. This can reveal holes or inconsistencies.
  • Forensic experience – Retaining qualified forensic specialists to examine devices, documents, or currency for evidence issues or tampering.
  • Litigation funding – Having the financial resources to thoroughly litigate if necessary, such as hiring expert witnesses.

A top-flight federal defense lawyer will be able to call on all of these resources in developing their strategy and building the most vigorous counterfeiting defense possible.

Expect Clear, Direct Communication

Facing federal criminal prosecution is enormously stressful. You need a lawyer who communicates clearly and directly with you at every phase.
The best lawyers will lay out exactly where your case stands, realistic assessments of possible outcomes, explanations of legal strategy, developments as they occur, and what to expect next.
Quality communication also involves listening closely to you as the client, welcoming your input, and addressing any issues or concerns promptly.

Assess Their Negotiation Skill and Tenacity

Even with strong defenses, many federal cases come down to negotiating with prosecutors for reduced charges or dismissals. Your lawyer’s skill, tenacity and relationships here are crucial.
Things to explore:

  • Do they take an aggressive stance in negotiations, or easily back down?
  • Are they simply going through the motions to strike a quick plea deal, or tenaciously fighting for your best interests?
  • Do they know which potential defenses and mitigating factors will motivate prosecutors to offer better deals?
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You need someone who will fight hammer and tongs on your behalf, backed by the record of results described above.

Don’t Choose Based on Price Alone

It’s natural to consider what various lawyers may charge when making your selection. But your freedom and future are on the line, so this is not the place to pinch pennies.
The most cut-rate lawyer may simply take a quick plea deal rather than mounting an aggressive defense. And complex federal cases can easily exceed the resources and expertise of budget options.
Certainly, get clear expectations of legal fees up front so there are no surprises. But ultimately your priority should be the lawyer that demonstrates the greatest experience, skill and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome, whatever it takes. That is what you are paying for, and worth every penny.

Conclusion – Making the Right Choice Matters

Facing federal prosecution is daunting no matter the specific charges. But counterfeiting cases incorporate especially severe penalties and burdens of proof that make skilled legal representation vastly important.
While no lawyer can rewrite the laws or magically make federal charges disappear, the right specialist can thoroughly examine the government’s case, identify weaknesses, raise all possible defenses, negotiate aggressively with prosecutors, and battle tenaciously on your behalf if a trial becomes necessary.
Use the guidance above to focus your search, ask the right questions, and choose the lawyer that clearly demonstrates specialized experience defending counterfeiting cases, resources to mount the strongest defense, and a commitment to achieving the best possible outcome. That gives you the greatest chance of success in navigating this crisis and moving forward with your life intact.


  1. 18 US Code § 471 – Obligations or securities of United States
  2. 18 US Code § 474 – Plates, stones, or analog, digital, or electronic images for counterfeiting obligations or securities
  3. 18 US Code § 473 – Dealing in counterfeit obligations or securities
  4. 18 US Code § 472 – Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities