08 Jul 20

How To Select a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Last Updated on: 6th August 2023, 02:16 am

In the realm of criminal defense, not all lawyers are on the same par. If you’re facing federal criminal charges, you want a specialist who is licensed in federal defense with a proven track record fighting for you. 

The Importance of Enlisting a Licensed Federal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been accused of a federal crime, your whole future is at stake. The penalties for federal crimes are rather severe, and they almost always include extended time in prison. If you wish to avoid repercussions that may hinder your ability to move with your life on after an accusation or criminal charge, then you need a federal criminal defense lawyer to get involved the moment you know that there are allegations against you.  

Steps to Take in Hiring a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

Should you find yourself under investigation and facing criminal charges, it will behoove you to hire a defense attorney. The right lawyer will work with you in thorough initial stages of your case to help you evade criminal charges and clear your name. In the event that your case does proceed to trial, your attorney will remain at your side and aggressively defend you against punitive prosecutors who want to see you penalized severely. Having a seasoned attorney on your team may help you avoid jail time or other life-altering repercussions that often become a threat in federal criminal cases.

Once you’ve made the decision that you need to hire a lawyer, you should make an effort to wrap your head around what kind of attorney you need for this situation. If you’re dealing with a federal criminal case, you’ll require a federal attorney. In general, federal law is more complex than state and local legislation.  Your defense lawyer is required to have a vast body of knowledge to battle against a prosecutor from the United States Attorney’s office. In actuality, many defense attorneys are not licensed to practice in federal court. Be sure that the attorney you hire is licensed to practice in federal court before you sign an agreement with them.

You may also want to take into account what qualities are important to you in a lawyer. For example, a good track record, above par communication skills, a great breadth and depth of experience, and dedication to his or her profession  are just a few qualities that characterize an excellent federal defense attorney.

Once you’ve determined what kind of lawyer you require, be sure to do your research. You can vet several lawyers by conducting a thorough interview and background search.  Through this process, you will reveal the quality of the attorney, allowing you to make an informed decision about who will be at the helm of your defense. 

When you are confident that you’ve selected a lawyer that meets all of your qualifications, you can set up a meeting and discuss the details of your case with him or her. 

Before a person is accused of a federal crime, the first step is a criminal investigation process in the federal court. If the federal law enforcement agency deems the case to be strong, then the government will start the investigations.

The first report can either come from a victim, witness, or a third party. The main objective of a federal criminal investigation is to find out if indeed a federal crime took place and who was involved.

What are the main federal investigative bodies?

They include the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Department of Health and Human Services (NHS), Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security, Internal Revenue Service (IRA) among others.

The above agencies are the ones tasked with the responsibility of investigating criminal and civil violations of federal law. Both of them report directly to prosecutors stationed at the Justice Department in the United States.

The prosecutors are the ones to determine whether to commence criminal investigations or press federal charges. Most criminal investigations are complex in nature and call for the collaboration of various agencies.

What happens if you are under criminal investigations?

There are various ways to know if you are the subject of a criminal investigation. You can either receive a Grand Jury subpoena or a target letter from the investigating agency.

You can also receive a call from the Federal Investigations Bureau (FBI) or they can leave a business card at your door requesting an interview.

If you have a reason to believe that you are being investigated for criminal activity, there are certain actions you should take immediately. First of all, you need to ensure that your individual rights are not violated as well as avoid saying or doing things that will come to haunt you later.

Retain a federal criminal lawyer as soon as possible

If it has been confirmed that you are being investigated for criminal activity, then chances are you will be arrested and taken into custody by federal prosecutors. However, quick intervention by a good and experienced lawyer can mean a lot to the final outcome of the case.

As soon as you retain your lawyer, they will immediately begin crafting a defense strategy for your case.

Studies have shown that defendants of criminal offenses who retain their lawyers early have a positive outcome of the case compared to those who took too long.

The good thing about having a lawyer throughout your case is that they will guide you in every step and help you understand your legal rights. This will make it easy for you to follow your case and understand every step.

For example, a lawyer will explain to you what the Fifth Amendment is all about and what it says about your right against self-incrimination.

Cooperation with your lawyer

It is important that you be absolutely honest with your lawyer. Tell him or her everything you know about the case. That’s the only way they will come up with a tangible defense strategy.

Most federal defense lawyers do carry their own investigations to unearth the whole truth before they can proceed with the criminal case.

You don’t have to worry because all the information you share with the lawyer is confidential and protected by the law.

Remain silent and avoid saying anything to the law enforcement agents

Most people under criminal investigations tend to naively believe that they can handle a situation – especially if they have done nothing wrong. That’s why most of them agree to speak to federal investigators when they come knocking.

Federal agents are good at their work and will do anything to get incriminating statements from suspects. That’s why it would be best to remain silent until your lawyer arrives.

Avoid destroying or interfering with documents related to the criminal case

Give your lawyer a chance to work on the case instead of trying to help. You will only be worsening things by trying to get rid or interfere with evidence.

In a nutshell, anyone can panic after learning that they are being investigated for a federal criminal offense.

However, the initial steps you take such as retaining and contacting your lawyer will determine a lot the direction and outcome of your case.

Should I Plead or Go to Trial on Criminal Charges in Federal Court?

Deciding Between A Plea Deal or A Trial

In the event that you’ve been accused of a federal crime, you’re more than likely considering your options and trying to figure out what is going to be the best course of action for you. This phase of your case can be confusing and may leave you with an overwhelmed or even fearful feeling. Working with the most efficient federal defense attorney can significantly lessen the pressure on you during the beginning phase of your case. He or she will be able to give you all of the necessary information, enabling you to make informed decisions that will positively impact your future. If you need help deciding if you should plead or go to trial on criminal charges in federal court, then you should get yourself a seasoned, licensed federal court defense attorney with a stellar track record as soon as possible.  

Cooperating with the Government: Pleading Guilty in a Federal Criminal Case

Cooperating with the government could possibly result in a lesser sentence or even keep you out of jail completely. This option is often attractive to defendants, since it promises the opportunity of ending up with a significant benefit for sharing information. On the surface, it can appear to be a good deal. There are a number of problems, however. First off, in order to cooperate with the government, you would have to plead guilty to a crime and once you do so, you still aren’t guaranteed a reward for working with them. The fact is that if the evidence you provide is not sufficient to implicate someone else, you may not even win a small sentence reduction. Locking yourself into a guilty plea without being certain you’ll get something in return is not always the smartest approach to your defense. Your attorney will look through all of the details of your case to help you make the best decision.

Proceeding to Trial on Federal Criminal Charges

Should you be of the belief that you are innocent and want to clear your name, going to trial might actually be the best course of action. Although fighting charges in court is time consuming and arduous, there’s nothing more horrible than being pressured into a guilty plea when you have not committed a crime. Your attorney will consider all the details of your case and help you make an informed decision as to whether or not going to trial would be behoove you. It’s critical to have a lawyer on your side that you can trust, because he or she will be deeply involved in guiding your course of action.  Your lawyer’s representation will directly impact the outcome of your case.

How Your Lawyer Can Help You Decide Whether To Plead or Go To Trial

As you consider whether or not you should plead guilty and cooperate with the government or go to trial, you should contact your attorney to advise you in this matter. Due to the fact that every case is unique, it’s impossible to decide the most beneficial course of action without a careful and thorough review of all the details of your case and all of the laws that come into play. The law firm you work with should put its resources into conducting their own investigation to find out what information the government has on you.  They can make educated guesses as to whether or not they have enough evidence to get a conviction, and apprise you of what other options may be on the table.