The Federal Criminal Judicial Process

The Federal Criminal Judicial Process - What To Expect

Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal defense attorneys have experience defending clients at both the State and Federal level. The judicial process varies significantly depending on where your case is tried, and often the Government will have a choice of where to prosecute your case depending on a number of factors.

Federal Criminal Cases

If you’re under investigation by a federal agency or have been charged with a federal criminal offense, it is imperative that you seek experienced legal counsel immediately. Federal cases tend to be more complex and time-consuming, and the stakes are higher. For instance, the North Carolina Rules of Criminal Procedure no longer apply, and are replaced by the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Further, as detailed below, federal cases and trials develop and progress far differently than at the state level. Contact our office today for experienced legal counsel equipped to guide you through the challenge. In the meantime, feel free to browse the following information to get a better idea of what the federal criminal judicial process entails.

Types of Federal Crimes: Our attorneys have successful experience handling a range of federal criminal defenses. If you or a loved one has been charged with a federal offense, contact our office immediately. We handle all types of federal offenses, such as:

Drug TraffickingMedicare Fraud
White Collar CrimesWeapons Offenses
Sex OffensesConspiracy
Mortgage FraudTax Fraud
The Federal Process

The following are a few areas where the Federal Process varies significantly from the State Process:

  1. The Investigation. Federal offenses often begin well before the arrest. Various agencies, such as the FBI, DEA, IRS, SEC, or ATF may conduct investigations and gather evidence for months or even years prior to the arrest.

  2. Federal Grand Jury. Once the Fed’s believe they have enough evidence against you, your Due Process rights entitle you to have a federal grand jury review the evidence. If the jury believes the evidence is insufficient, you are free to go. Otherwise, if the evidence is sufficient, they will return a federal indictment and formally charge you with the offense.

  3. Arrest and Arraignment. If you are indicted, you will be arrested and brought to an arraignment where you will either enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.

  4. Federal Pre-Trial Motions and Briefs. At this point, your attorney will employ a variety of techniques and tactics, often in the form of specific Motions, to attack the Government’s case before trial and seek every possible advantage. Meanwhile, the firm will continue to investigate and develop evidence to support your case.

  5. Federal Trial. Throughout the entire process you will have the opportunity to discuss your chances of winning at trial with your attorney. Your attorney will give you an honest, straightforward analysis and ensure that you are completely informed of your options. If you decide you want to fight the case at trial, your attorney will head to court and fiercely advocate on your behalf.

  6. Sentencing. Federal Sentencing Guidelines apply to all federal criminal offense. Thus, if you are convicted, the court is required to impose a minimum sentence according to a complex sentencing equation which accounts for various aggravating and mitigating factors. An experienced and skilled attorney is crucial during this phase as the sentencing guidelines are incredibly complex and, without close examination, can result in extremely harsh sentences.

Don’t hesitate to contact our office for an experienced lawyer—start building a powerful defense today.