Las Vegas Federal Criminal Lawyers
The “pillars of affirmance” are guidelines designed to prevent too many cases from being overturned. Defendants are entitled to a fair and speedy trial, but after a conviction, the law necessarily accepts that justice has been served. The pillars help to reinforce that perception by acting more like bollards than pillars to block appeals unless they really address a major violation of a defendant’s rights. The four pillars of affirmation include:
- Preservation of Error
The Preservation of Error rule states that judges shouldn’t be reversed unless they were given a chance to correct their errors during the trial. Lawyer objections are the vehicles for challenging a judge’s actions or interpretation of the law.
- Standard of Review
The Standard of Review pillar holds that lower courts and juries are the primary arbiters of the facts of the case. Appeals cases are not used to uncover new evidence or challenge the facts that were accepted in district court.
- Harmless Error Rule
Even if errors are proven, the judges can rule them as “Harmless Errors.” These are real errors that have no effect on the outcome of a case, and they can’t be used to overturn a legal conviction.
- Stare Decisis
This is a classical Latin term that means precedent should govern all decisions and actions. Even if an appeals case introduces an innovative interpretation of the grounds for overturning a judgment, most judges won’t rule that way unless there is a legal precedent for the ruling.
Keeping the Focus in Appeals on Legal Procedures
It’s important to understand that appeals are not made to correct the unfair outcome of losing your case. You lost, and it’s hard not to challenge that decision if you know that you aren’t guilty. Unfortunately, almost all convicted defendants claim innocence. The legal system was established as a formal way to determine what really happened.
Appeals courts assume that the lower courts have the facts right and that convicted defendants deserve their convictions unless there is extraordinary evidence that exonerates them. appeals are challenges to the legal procedures of the case. Acceptable grounds for an appeal include juror misconduct, improper jury instructions, lack of sufficient evidence, false arrest and improper exclusion or admission of evidence.
The record of the trial that’s being appealed is the primary evidence in appeals cases. The transcripts of federal cases contain word-for-word accounts of everything that occurs in the courtroom except conversations stricken from the record when the judge sustains objections. Only what occurred in the courtroom has any relevance to the decision in an appeals case except in cases where the defendant’s rights are violated in prison.
Appeals Are Only Granted for Legal Errors
It doesn’t matter if you discover a smoking gun that proves you didn’t commit the crime during an appeal. The cases are decided entirely on what happened in the original trial. That’s why most appeals cases are handled outside the courtroom through an exchange of briefs. Your attorney files an appeal, and the court notifies the prosecution to respond.
The judge or judges assigned to the case – there are usually three judges in federal appeals cases – review the transcript and the briefs that the defendant and prosecution file. If there are questions that the judges want to ask, more briefs are exchanged. About 80 percent of cases are handled without hearings or oral arguments.
Winning the Battle Might Not Win the War
Depending on your circumstances, winning your appeal might not generate all the benefits that you expect. The judgment is overturned based on legal technicalities, but that might not absolve you of a crime among your friends, family members and community.
The costs of an appeal can drain your finances. It’s recommended that you hire an experienced appellate attorney who knows the ins and outs of federal appeals cases. appeals lawyers do most of their work on the case behind the scenes unless oral arguments are scheduled. Developing patience and attention to detail is necessary for success in appeals for both the defendant and the legal team.
Finding a Professional Federal Criminal Lawyer in Las Vegas
Federal charges are nothing to laugh at. You will be going up against the full weight of the federal government as you attempt to defend yourself. With your very future on the line, it is important to have the best possible federal criminal lawyer in Las Vegas that you can working on your case right from the outset. It is not enough to simply have a lawyer who understands the legal nature of the charges that have been filed against you. You also need an attorney who has actual experience inside the federal courts, and who has proven successful at either getting sentences reduced or discharged altogether.
The Difference Between Federal and State Criminal Law
If you have been charged with a federal crime, you will want a lawyer who specializes specifically in mounting a federal criminal defense. This is because you have been accused with violating some type of federal crime, which is vastly different than simply being charged with a Nevada state crime. The federal court system will usually bring stricter sentencing guidelines with their charges than Nevada state law will provide for. This is reason enough to ensure that you have a lawyer who understands the federal system and can work within it to make sure that you have the best possible defense from the outset.
The Process Involved With Begin Charged With A Federal Crime
You will quickly discover that there are many moving pieces involved in the process when you are charged with a federal crime. These can vary from crime to crime, which means that your lawyer needs to be skilled enough to move quickly along with the process. The first step in the process will inevitably be the complaint that is lodged against you. Once you receive this complaint, you will likely be issued with an arrest warrant. It is then that you will be arrested and formally charged with the federal crime.
A prosecutor will issue the complaint. This is a written and detailed list that outlines the allegations that are being made against you. It is important that your lawyer get involved at this point because now is the time to start mounting your defense. Once you are formally arrested, a hearing will be held to determine if bail pending trial should be granted. This hearing will usually be held within 72 hours of your arrest. Once again, it is imperative to have a federal criminal lawyer already working on your case in order to be prepared for this hearing.
There are not only one federal agency tasked with the responsibility of bringing federal charges against an individual. It depends on the nature of the charge as to which organization will likely be targeting you. The most common federal agencies that do have the power to bring federal charges against individuals include:
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
- The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Each agency will be responsible for investigation certain types of crimes. The FBI, for example, will focus more on the following types of crimes:
- Bank Fraud
- Fraud Involving Credit Cards
- Fraud Involving the Mail
- Cyber Crime
The dea/defense-lawyers/dea-drug-diversion-reporting/”>DEA will tend to investigate federal crimes that revolve around drugs, while the ATF will look at crimes involving alcohol or firearms. If you are charged with a federal crime by one of these agencies, that means that your crime transcends state borders and laws. You will be tried exclusively in a federal court, and these guidelines are vastly different than what you will find in Nevada state court.
Make sure that you consult with a federal criminal lawyer as soon as you are aware that a complaint is about to be issued against you. You will want to get your defense started as soon as possible. A bail hearing is just the beginning of the process. You will need a competent attorney walking beside you through the entire federal court system.