Tips for Handling Federal Criminal Charges
Finding yourself served with a subpoena for federal criminal charges can be a frightening experience, especially when you aren't familiar with the basics of a sound defense. It is important to note that you aren't likely to face charges like this unless the prosecution has already proven a sound enough case to justify an indictment. A grand jury indictment is generally the product of months, if not years, of investigation and evidence-gathering. Since you'll only have until the hearing date to create your defense, you'll have to work faster. Here are some tips to help you get things in order.
Build a defense team. The very first thing you should do as soon as you know you're facing federal criminal charges is to hire a skilled attorney. For the best chance of success, you'll want to retain the services of an attorney who is experienced in federal court. The atmosphere in a federal environment is different than that of a local courtroom, so you're better off if you work with someone who is familiar with the environment you'll be in.
Compile as much evidence as you can. The time before your trial starts is all you'll have to document your innocence. Remember that in most federal cases, the prosecutor must be able to prove that you clearly committed a crime and also that you fully intended to commit that crime. That means that any evidence you have that casts doubt on either the action or your intentions may be enough to protect you. Your attorney can help you gather things like phone records, paperwork, pictures, witnesses, and any other information that could cast doubt.
Don't dismiss the chance to negotiate. Many federal cases never actually see the courtroom. Your defense attorney may suggest that you negotiate a settlement instead. You may be able to have the charge reduced, avoid jail, or speed up the process. This is particularly important if the prosecution has a strong enough case that your attorney believes a conviction to be a good possibility. Sometimes it's in your best interest to negotiate something on a lesser charge than to risk a conviction on something more severe.
While local court cases can often be handled more easily, federal cases aren't filed without a preponderance of evidence. With these tips, you can answer to the charges and potentially clear your name. Talk with a federal defense attorney who can help you develop a defense plan and gather the necessary evidence to support that defense.