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When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

What happens when you commit a federal crime?

What Happens When You Commit a Federal Crime?

You’re Under Federal Investigation

So, what do you do, if you get hit – with one of these things?Maybe, you wake up one morning – to a team of federal agents, at your doorstep. Or perhaps, you receive a letter – informing you, you’re the target of a federal criminal investigation. It’s simple. Every single client deserves honesty and white glove service. Every single client should know what he, or she, potentially faces and what the outcome of their criminal defense case could be – before hiring a criminal defense attorney. Our lawyers have experience handling criminal defense cases nationwide, ranging from Los Angeles to NYC. Our philosophy is fair and simple – every single law firm should adhere to it – but most don’t. Most criminal defense attorneys will take on any client possible who can pay — regardless of whether they can help the client. Not us. We only take on clients who we can help. We are selective about the number of clients we work with, and only work with clients who we can truly help. This is different from other law firms, who take on every single client – irrespective of the outcome.

What If I’m Just a Witness?

But what if you’re not the target, just a witness? Federal investigators may still want to speak with you. They could even subpoena you to testify before a grand jury. Have you ever wondered what it means to be subpoenaed by a federal grand jury? It’s not something to take lightly. A subpoena is a legal document that compels you to appear and provide testimony or evidence. There are two main types:

  • A subpoena that requires you to testify, known as a “subpoena ad testificandum.”
  • A subpoena that requires you to bring documents or other evidence, called a “subpoena duces tecum.”

If you receive either type of subpoena, it’s crucial to understand your rights and obligations. Ignoring a federal subpoena can lead to charges of contempt of court, fines, or even arrest.

Getting Grilled by the Feds

When federal agents come knocking, it’s natural to feel anxious or even panicked. But, take a deep breath. The most important thing is to stay calm and protect your rights. It could be that you simply did not see the bus. Or maybe the driver ran a red light and caused the accident. There are many potential explanations beyond just “you were distracted.” The key is to avoid making any statements until you’ve spoken with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. Anything you say can potentially be used against you, even if you’re just a witness. Imagine this scenario: You’re asked to come in for questioning about a coworker who is under investigation for embezzlement. You think you’re just helping out as a witness. But during the interview, the agents ask tricky questions that make it seem like you were involved or knew about the scheme.Without a lawyer present, you could easily get flustered and say something incriminating, even unintentionally. That’s why it’s so crucial to assert your right to legal counsel from the very start.

You’re Charged with a Federal Crime

If federal investigators believe they have enough evidence against you, they will likely seek charges. This process typically begins with your arrest or an indictment from a federal grand jury. An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct. It doesn’t prove guilt, but it does show that the grand jury found probable cause to believe you committed a federal crime.

The Arrest and Initial Appearance

If you’re arrested, you’ll be taken into federal custody and brought before a judge for your initial appearance. This must happen without unnecessary delay, typically within 24-48 hours of your arrest.At this first hearing, the judge will:

  • Inform you of the charges against you
  • Determine whether to release or detain you while awaiting trial
  • Decide if you qualify for a court-appointed attorney if you can’t afford one
  • Set a preliminary hearing or arraignment date

This is also your chance to request bail or pre-trial release. The judge will consider factors like:

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.
  • The nature and circumstances of the charged offense
  • Your criminal history and ties to the community
  • Whether you pose a flight risk or danger to others

The Preliminary Hearing

If you were charged via a criminal complaint rather than an indictment, you’ll have a preliminary hearing. This is where a judge determines if there is probable cause to believe you committed a federal crime. The prosecutor will present evidence and witnesses. Your lawyer can cross-examine them and argue for dismissal if the evidence is insufficient. If probable cause is found, your case will proceed to the grand jury stage.

The Grand Jury

A grand jury is a panel of 16-23 citizens who review evidence behind closed doors. Federal prosecutors will present their case to the grand jury and seek an indictment against you. Grand juries operate in secret, and you and your attorney cannot participate or present your defense at this stage. The grand jury only decides if there is probable cause for the charges, not whether you are actually guilty.If indicted, you will be scheduled for an arraignment in federal district court.

The Arraignment

At the arraignment, the indictment is read aloud and you are asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. This is also when the court will set dates for future proceedings like the trial.Your attorney can raise issues like challenging the indictment or requesting more time before entering a plea. But in most cases, defendants plead not guilty to preserve all pre-trial rights and options.

The Pre-Trial Process

After arraignment, the pre-trial process begins. This involves several steps and procedures leading up to an actual trial.


Both sides engage in “discovery” by exchanging information and evidence they intend to use at trial. This allows your defense lawyer to review the prosecution’s case against you.Your attorney can file motions requesting additional evidence from the government. They can also try to get certain evidence excluded if it was obtained illegally or is too prejudicial.

Plea Negotiations

In many federal cases, plea bargaining takes place before trial. Prosecutors may offer you a chance to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced charge or more lenient sentence recommendation. Your lawyer will carefully review any plea offers and advise if it’s in your best interests to accept one or proceed to trial. Plea deals can help you avoid harsher penalties if convicted, but you are admitting guilt.

Pre-Trial Motions

Your defense attorney will likely file various pre-trial motions on your behalf, such as:

  • Motions to suppress evidence obtained illegally
  • Motions to dismiss charges for lack of evidence
  • Motions to change the venue if pre-trial publicity threatens an impartial jury

These motions are argued at pre-trial hearings before the judge, who will rule on the admissibility of evidence and other issues impacting your trial rights.

The Trial

If no plea deal is reached, your case will proceed to trial in federal district court. At trial, the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of your peers.The trial process includes:

  • Jury selection
  • Opening statements
  • Witness testimony and cross-examination
  • Presentation of evidence from both sides
  • Closing arguments from the prosecution and defense
  • Jury instructions from the judge
  • Jury deliberation and verdict

If you are found not guilty, you are free to go. But if convicted, you will proceed to sentencing.

Sentencing and Appeals

Federal sentencing is guided by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which consider factors like:

  • The nature and circumstances of the crime
  • Your criminal history
  • Aggravating or mitigating factors
  • Victim impact statements

The judge has some discretion in determining your sentence, which could include:

  • Federal prison time
  • Fines and restitution
  • Supervised release (federal probation)

Your defense lawyer will advocate for the most favorable sentence possible based on the circumstances of your case.If you are convicted at trial, you have the right to appeal the verdict to a federal appeals court. Your attorney can identify issues of improper evidence or legal errors that could result in a new trial or dismissal.

Hypothetical Scenarios

You Didn’t Mean To

Let’s say you’re under investigation for federal drug trafficking charges. The evidence shows you were transporting a large quantity of illegal narcotics across state lines. But what if you had no idea the drugs were in your vehicle? Maybe a friend or family member stashed them there without your knowledge. In that scenario, your defense attorney could argue you lacked the required criminal intent to commit drug trafficking. You were not knowingly or intentionally involved in transporting the drugs.This “lack of intent” defense could potentially get the charges against you reduced or even dismissed entirely. An experienced lawyer knows how to identify and present these types of exculpatory facts.

It Was All a Setup

Now imagine you’re accused of bribing a federal official. The prosecution claims you offered cash in exchange for government contracts or other benefits. But in reality, you were entrapped by an undercover federal agent posing as a corrupt official. They aggressively solicited and induced you into making the alleged “bribe” payments.When federal agents use overly persuasive or coercive tactics, it can constitute illegal entrapment. If your lawyer can demonstrate you were entrapped, it could invalidate the charges and result in a not guilty verdict at trial.

Your Rights Were Violated

In yet another hypothetical, federal agents obtain a search warrant for your home and business as part of a fraud investigation. During those searches, they seize a wealth of evidence like documents and computer files. However, your defense team discovers the search warrant was improperly obtained based on faulty information and lack of probable cause. Because the searches violated your 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, your lawyer can file a motion to suppress all the evidence obtained as a result. Without that evidence, the prosecution’s case completely falls apart. These are just a few examples illustrating why you absolutely must have skilled legal representation if you ever find yourself in the federal criminal justice system’s crosshairs. The consequences are far too severe to try and go it alone. With the right defense strategy, you may be able to avoid charges altogether or secure an acquittal at trial.

Why Hire a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer?

As you can see, the federal criminal justice system is extraordinarily complex. The penalties for federal crimes are notoriously harsh, including lengthy prison sentences and life-altering consequences. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to have an experienced federal criminal defense attorney in your corner from the very start. Do not try to navigate this system alone. At Spodek Law Group, our nationwide team of former prosecutors and trial lawyers have over 50 years of combined experience handling the toughest federal cases. We know the system inside and out. From grand jury investigations to plea negotiations to jury trials, we will fight relentlessly to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome for your situation. Don’t take chances with your freedom and future. If you or a loved one is under federal investigation or charged with a federal crime, contact us immediately for a free and confidential case review.The road ahead may seem daunting. But with Spodek Law Group, you have a true legal force on your side, every step of the way.

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