If you have been charged with a crime, it is important that you hire an attorney to represent your interests. This is because you could be facing many different penalties if convicted. Even if you aren’t convicted of a crime, you could still experience a decline in your personal or professional reputation. Let’s take a look at what an attorney may be able to do in a federal criminal case.
What Types of Cases Can an Attorney Help With?
Federal crimes may carry harsher penalties than those imposed at the state or local level. Examples of federal crimes include the use of a computer to commit fraud or engaging in money laundering. Drugs and weapons charges could also be classified as federal offenses. In some cases, committing a crime on federal land will result in a federal charge. An attorney may be able to represent your interests no matter what you have been charged with or why.
What Types of Penalties Could You Face If Convicted?
Depending on the type of crime that you are convicted of, you could face a mandatory minimum prison sentence. For instance, if you are convicted of possessing a drug like cocaine or heroin, expect to spend up to 10 years in prison before begin allowed to apply for parole.
If you are convicted of a financial crime, you could be required to pay a fine as well as restitution to victims. This could result in handing over tens of thousands of dollars or more to the government or to other parties. Your assets could be sold to help raise money to repay those debts, and wages may be garnished to help make up any balance that is left over after assets are liquidated.
You may be required to wear a bracelet or some other sort of monitoring device if you are allowed out of prison on parole. Furthermore, a judge may require you to report to a parole officer on a regular basis. Regular drug testing may be part of any deal to let you get out of jail early.
An Attorney May Help Negotiate a Plea Deal
It is possible that the government has overwhelming evidence against you and that it should result in a relatively easy conviction. However, in the criminal justice system, there is no such thing as easy or straightforward. Your attorney will do everything in his or her power to weaken the case that the government intends to make.
For instance, an attorney may have evidence suppressed or work to poke holes in witness testimony. This may help to create doubt in the eyes of the jury, and the prosecution may decide to offer a plea as opposed to a mistrial or losing the case outright. Instead of spending time in prison or under home detention, you may receive probation or an order to cease doing business in your chosen field.
An Acquittal Is Not Out of the Question
There is a chance that you could be acquitted of the federal charges that are levied against you. This may happen if a witness refuses to testify or if a judge decides that evidence was obtained improperly. A jury could also decide that the prosecution hasn’t proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt based on the evidence it has submitted. Your attorney may be able to help you decide if testifying on your behalf could also help to create doubt in the mind of a juror.
If you have been charged with a federal crime, do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney. The guidance of a qualified legal professional may be able to make it easier to protect your rights and increase the chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in the matter.