Federal crimes are often complex and prosecuting them can take years. A good attorney can make all the difference in a federal case.
If you or someone close to you has been accused of a federal crime, you are certainly under a lot of stress and may be wondering about the best way to mount a defense. You will require a criminal attorney who is well versed in federal law.
There are many different steps to any criminal trial. In order for a crime to be considered “federal,” it must be in some way connected to the federal government. If a person breaks into a building that is owned by the federal government, or if a radical religious group is planning a terrorist attack on a certain group of citizens, it would be considered a federal crime. Although crimes such as murder and heroin use are illegal in every single state, those offenses would be tried in the jurisdiction in which the crime was committed.
If a person suspects someone of a federal crime, or if they know for sure that someone is guilty of a federal crime, your first instinct may be to contact the FBI. However, federal crimes should be reported to the government department that is responsible for investigating them.
If you know or suspect a company of money laundering, you should report the crime to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. If you suspect someone of running a drug ring, you would want to call the DEA.
Prosecuting a Federal Crime
After a person reports a crime to the appropriate agency, that agency will open an investigation. If they feel that a crime has been committed, a suspect may be arrested. In the case of a federal crime, they may not even have to have an arrest warrant.
When a government agency investigates a suspect, they may need to obtain such things as search warrants and they are likely to subpoena certain records in order to complete their research.
Before a federal crime goes to court, the suspect must be indicted by a grand jury. A grand jury is comprised of a group of impartial citizens, who reside in the community where the crime is alleged to have taken place. The jury may ask for any evidence that they need to see, they may also compel a witness or a victim to testify before them. If the jury concludes that there is a substantial amount of evidence to convict a person of a crime, they will issue an indictment.
Arrest and Trial
Once an indictment has been issued, a suspect may be arrested and formally charged with a crime. They will appear before a federal magistrate who will inform them of their rights. They will be informed that they may be represented by a public defender or by a private attorney. They will either be released or held in custody until the time of the trial.
The defendant will normally be called back into court and formally arraigned on the charges against them where they will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. The defendant and their attorney may make a plea bargain at this time.
The case will then go into discovery. During the discovery phase, both the defense and prosecution may demand evidence from one another. The defense will have another chance to enter a plea bargain. If no plea deal is made, a jury will be selected and the trial will begin. As with any trial, if a defendant is found guilty they will be sentenced.
Federal crimes are often complex and prosecuting them can take years. It takes a trained attorney with a stellar support staff, such as lawyer Vikas Bajaj. A good attorney can make all the difference in a federal case.