FEDERAL CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY ORANGE COUNTY CA
The federal court system is very different from the California state court system, and while some crimes are prosecuted in federal court because they took place across state lines or violated both state and federal law, other criminal offenses are entirely unique to the federal system, like racketeering and RICO violations. Whatever the circumstances of your federal charges, the biggest mistake you can make when facing federal criminal charges like racketeering, money laundering or healthcare fraud is to underestimate the power and reach of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Unlike state prosecutions, which often have limited budgets and resources, the federal government has a veritable treasure trove of legal resources at its disposal. If you have been indicted in federal court, or you are under investigation for a federal crime, contact our federal criminal defense lawyers at Seyb Law Group as soon as possible to begin building a strong defense in your case.
Affordable Federal Crimes Defense Attorney
Any time you are facing federal criminal charges, you need an attorney on your side who can advocate for you and preserve your rights and your reputation, but not just any attorney. Federal court is a whole different animal from state court and if you hire a lawyer who isn’t familiar with the federal criminal justice system, you are only doing yourself a disservice. Think about it this way: You wouldn’t expect a divorce lawyer to be able to successfully defend you against allegations of assault and battery, so why would you hire an attorney who has only ever defended state cases to help you fight federal criminal charges? When it comes to federal charges, the stakes are higher than ever and there is no substitute for skill and years of experience. Our defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group have a clear understanding of federal criminal law and how it applies to your case, and we will use every resource at our disposal to help you get the best possible outcome in your federal case.
In some cases, when the federal government is investigating a criminal offense, the subject of the investigation may receive a “target” letter indicating that they are a person of interest, or they may receive a call from a federal law enforcement agency seeking information about the crime. In other cases, a defendant may not be aware of their involvement in a federal criminal case until they are formally indicted. However you became aware of your involvement in a federal investigation, your first course of action should be to hire a skilled, trial-tested defense attorney with experience defending cases in federal court. Our legal team at Seyb Law Group has more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience, and we have the know-how to negotiate with the prosecution to get your charges reduced to a lesser offense or possibly even dismissed altogether.
A federal crime is any violation of a statute passed by Congress, while a state crime is any violation of the California Codes. The federal government takes a tough stance against federal crimes like mail fraud, money laundering and drug trafficking, and these crimes are aggressively investigated by the federal government and prosecuted harshly in court. The federal government has a great deal of time and resources to devote to prosecuting federal offenses, particularly drug-related crimes and crimes involving unlawful fraudulent activity. Being charged with a federal crime is an extremely serious matter and a conviction could cost you your freedom and many of your rights, not to mention possibly result in job loss and the loss of professional licensing, like the right to practice law. Our legal team at Seyb Law Group can defend you against a wide variety of federal charges, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Child pornography
- Computer hacking
- Drug manufacturing
- Drug trafficking
- Healthcare fraud
- Importation/Exportation of a controlled substance
- Mail fraud
- Money laundering
- Securities fraud
- Tax fraud/Tax evasion
- Wire fraud
Penalties for Federal Offenses
The federal criminal court process differs from the state court process in many ways. Not only are the prosecutors, judges and jury pool in federal court different from state court, the entire court schedule is also different and so is the bail review and sentencing process. In the federal court system, there are statutory sentencing guidelines that set forth minimum and maximum penalties for federal offenses, including fines and probation and/or prison time and parole. Generally speaking, a conviction for any federal offense can result in a lengthy prison sentence, costly fines and a permanent criminal record, which can make it hard for you to find a job or decent housing for years to come. Having a federal conviction on your record can also bar you from obtaining certain professional licenses, applying for a federal student loan, qualifying for government benefits or owning or possessing a firearm, among other long-lasting collateral consequences. If you are facing criminal charges for a federal crime, it is important that you hire an attorney who understands how the federal criminal process works so he or she can defend you to the best of his or her ability.
Orange County Federal Criminal Court Process
Each U.S. state has its own court system and established rules for handling criminal cases, and then the federal government has its own set of rules that govern all aspects of federal criminal cases, set forth in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Generally speaking, the federal criminal process follows this basic order of events:
- Investigation – Criminal investigators from the FBI, DEA, ATF, Secret Service and other federal agencies investigate the crime, gather evidence and provide information to the U.S. Attorneys in the respective district. If there is probable cause for an arrest, an arrest will be made.
- Charging – After examining evidence from investigators, the prosecutor will decide whether to present the case to the grand jury. When a person is indicted, he is given formal notice that he is believed to have committed a crime.
- Initial Hearing/Arraignment – Shortly after being arrested and charged, the defendant is brought before a judge for an initial hearing, during which the defendant learns more about the criminal charges he is facing, and arrangements are made for a defense attorney.
- Discovery – During the discovery phase of the court process, the prosecution is required to prove the defendant and his attorney copies of any documents and other evidence the prosecution intends to use at trial.
- Plea Bargaining – If the government believes it has a strong case, the prosecution may offer the defendant a plea deal to avoid trial and possibly reduce the risk of serving a longer sentence upon conviction.
- Preliminary Hearing – If the defendant pleads not guilty, a preliminary hearing may be held, during which the prosecution must show that there is enough evidence to charge the defendant.
- Trial – During trial, the facts of the criminal case are presented to a jury by both the prosecution and defense, and the jury decides if the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the crime.
- Sentencing – If the defendant is found guilty, he will return to court for sentencing. The sentence resulting from a criminal conviction is decided on by the judge, based on a set of federal criminal sentencing guidelines.
- Appeal – Even after a defendant is found guilty at trial, he can appeal to the Circuit Court if he believes he was wrongfully convicted or the criminal sentence imposed by the judge was too harsh.
Federal Criminal Defense
More so than most other types of crimes, being charged with a federal crime can be frightening, stressful and overwhelming, especially if you have little or no experience with the federal criminal justice system. Federal charges tend to be more difficult to fight, because the prosecutors have the support of the federal government and are backed by the investigative efforts of powerful federal agencies like the FBI, ATF, DEA, Secret Service, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and others. Fortunately, there are a number of possible defenses your attorney may be able to use in your federal case to reduce your sentencing or negate your criminal liability. Some common defense strategies in federal criminal cases include the following:
- Alibi – If you were not present at the time when, or at the place where, the crime was allegedly committed, you can submit an alibi as proof of your innocence.
- Duress and necessity – If you were forced to commit a federal crime due to the use of violence or threat of violence, or if you acted in a criminal manner to avoid greater harm from occurring in an emergent situation, your attorney may be able to argue that you committed the crime under duress or necessity, respectively.
- Voluntary intoxication – If you were intoxicated at the time you allegedly committed a federal offense, you may be able to argue “diminished capacity,” meaning you did not have the capacity to form the necessary intent to commit the crime.
- Self-defense or defense of others – If, in an attempt to defend yourself, another person or your property from an unlawful assault, you engage in what would normally be considered criminal conduct, your attorney may be able to use this defense to get an acquittal.
- Entrapment – If a representative of the government harassed or coerced you into committing a crime in hopes of making an arrest, you would not be criminally liable under federal law.
- Abandonment and withdrawal – If you completely and voluntarily withdraw from a criminal act before the act is completed, you may be able to use this as a defense at trial.
- Mistaken identity – If you were mistakenly identified as the person who committed a federal crime, you cannot lawfully be convicted of the crime.
- Lack of intent – If you committed a federal offense by mistake or did not intend for a certain consequence to occur, you may be able to raise this defense at trial.
- False accusation – If you have been falsely accused of a federal crime, your attorney will have to fight aggressively on your behalf to avoid a wrongful conviction.
How Hiring a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
If you are facing federal criminal charges, the worst thing you can do is nothing. It is imperative that you act quickly to secure qualified legal representation so you can begin building a strong defense in your case. The most important thing to remember when facing federal charges is that an arrest for a federal offense is not the same thing as a conviction. Just because you have been accused of committing a federal crime does not mean you will automatically be convicted and sent to prison. However, federal prosecutors are experienced and determined, and the prosecutor assigned to your case will certainly do everything in his or her power to get a criminal conviction. The only way to protect your rights and avoid a conviction that could follow you for the rest of your life is to hire a knowledgeable and aggressive federal criminal defense attorney. Our defense team at Seyb Law Group is committed to protecting the rights of the criminally accused, and we will use every resource at our disposal to help you get your federal charges reduced or dismissed. If the evidence against you is irrefutable and you are convicted of the federal crime, we will seek to present evidence of mitigating circumstances in an effort to obtain leniency in sentencing.
Contact Our Federal Defense Attorneys
Federal criminal charges are typically brought after a lengthy criminal investigation, once the government has gathered a great deal of evidence related to the alleged crime, and because of this, federal crimes tend to be significantly more complex than state crimes. Plus, the government rarely files criminal charges unless they are confident in their ability to win the case, which means you can guarantee a tough fight regardless of the circumstances of your case. Furthermore, in many federal cases, there is not a great deal of time between when you are charged and when you go to trial, which is why you need to hire a federal defense attorney as soon as you find out you are the subject of a federal investigation, one who can act swiftly and aggressively to protect your rights and keep your freedom intact. For more information about federal criminal law, or to find out how best to defend yourself against federal charges, contact our federal criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group as soon as possible.