Facing charges of a federal crime is substantially different from facing charges of a state crime in several ways—as are the penalties. A federal criminal charge is never something to take lightly. A felony criminal conviction can change your life forever. Even seemingly basic things such as renting housing or finding employment come with difficulties if you are a convicted felon. If you are facing charges or believe you will soon, you need a Las Vegas federal criminal defense attorney to represent you.
If you are currently under investigation for a federal crime, it is imperative that you contact a Las Vegas federal crimes lawyer immediately. This is also true if you have received a “target letter” in the mail requesting that you contact law enforcement about an ongoing investigation. Your attorney can speak with the authorities to determine whether you are the focus of the investigation or if they are investigating you as a material witness. This will help decide whether you should speak with the authorities or participate in negotiations.
Federal prosecutors are different from state-level prosecutors in that they generally have more time, resources, and experience. They have the full weight of the federal government on their side. This can be a frightening and unnerving experience for anyone, whether guilty or innocent.
In most scenarios, a federal prosecutor will be involved in the case from the beginning of the investigation stage. This stage may last weeks, months, or even years. The prosecutor will work closely with local law enforcement. He or she will have an intimate knowledge of any evidence gathered for your prosecution.
If you are up against a federal prosecutor, you need a Las Vegas federal crime lawyer on your side with equal resources and experience. Attorney Craig Drummond has been appointed by the Nevada Southern District Federal Court to their Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Counsel and has significant experience defending federal charges.
Getting Out Of Jail and Federal Charges
The process of getting out on bond is different if you are accused of committing a federal crime. In federal court, you will have to go before a judge who will then decide what the conditions of your release will be. In addition to paying fines, the court may also require you to do certain things, such as submitting to a mental health evaluation or checking in regularly with a pre-trial officer.
Degree of Felony and Sentencing
Most felony charges have levels of severity assigned to them. These will determine how much time you could spend in prison upon conviction. For example, second-degree kidnapping could result in two to fifteen years in prison, while first-degree kidnapping could result in a life sentence.
This makes it critical to work with a Las Vegas federal criminal defense attorney from the very beginning. It could be possible to reduce the charges against you. However, doing so will require building a case and possibly negotiating with the prosecution.
The Process of a Federal Prosecution
If law enforcement arrests you for committing a federal crime, you will go before a judge several times throughout the legal process. Some of those appearances include:
- Initial Appearance – This is where the court will set the terms of your release.
- Indictment – Here is where the court will render formal charges against you. A prosecutor will need to present a grand jury with evidence. The jury will determine whether to charge you with a crime and hold you over for trial.
- Arraignment – This is where the court will read you the charges against you and you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
- Pre-Trial Motions – If we are attempting to have certain pieces of evidence suppressed or limit the prosecutors use of certain evidence, for example, we would make our case for this during pre-trial motions.
- Going to trial – During your trial, the prosecutor will make the case for why you are guilty. Meanwhile, your federal criminal defense attorney will make a case for your innocence, or limiting your criminal responsibility.
Contact a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
You must take federal charges seriously. Someone with skill, experience, and nearly unlimited resources will be prosecuting you. Therefore, having a strong advocate in your corner is critical to your ultimate success. At the Drummond Law Firm we aggressively fight on behalf of our clients.
Federal Crime Resources
Drug Enforcement Agency – Official DEA website.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – Official ATF website.
Federal Bureau of Investigation – Official FBI website.
US District Court – Link to the courts for the United States District Courts for the District of Nevada.