Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What to Expect in a Federal Criminal Trial

You can expect particular events or stages to happen in a federal criminal trial while others may or may not happen depending on the unique characteristics of the case and the defense attorney's strategy and skill. When charged with a federal crime a trial is not required by way of pleading guilty. It is assumed you are on this page because you or your loved one want to prove your innocence or do not agree with the charge(s), counts, or plea offered.

Events Before and During a Federal Criminal Trial:

  • Arraignment- the initial hearing wherein the defendant is told his charges and rights. The judge will also ask the defendant whether he pleads guilty or not guilty.
  • Discovery- the prosecutor must turn over all exculpatory evidence to the criminal defense lawyers. The criminal defense lawyers may not have to turn over evidence if they agree with the facts and only disagree with the interpretation or story line of the facts. 
  • Plea Bargaining- the prosecutor may choose to offer the defendant a plea deal to avoid going to trial.
  • Preliminary Hearing- if a defendant pleads not guilty, a preliminary hearing is held. At this hearing, the prosecutor must bind the defendant for trial with sufficient evidence by convincing the judge.
  • Pre-Trial Motions- made by the prosecutor and federal defense attorney in requesting the court to make a decision on a particular issue before trial.
  • Trial- the facts are presented and narrated to the judge and jury by both sides, the prosecutor and federal defense attorney.
  • Post-Trial Motions- these are made in requesting that the court reconsider or re-evaluate it's decision, such as a new trial, correcting a sentence and more.
  • Sentencing- if the defendant is found guilty, he will return to court to be read the punishment, which may include time in prison and fines.
It is worth noting that regardless of whether the defendant decides to go to trial or not, an investigation by law enforcement and arraignment is required. However, if the best federal defense attorneys are hired early enough, such as early in the investigation, they may be able to convince law enforcement, such as detectives and/or prosecutor, that the client is innocent and to halt the investigation or drop the case.

Top federal defense attorneys know that which particular charge is brought against the defendant is very important and, if there is overwhelming evidence, can be skillfully argued to another charge that would either require less time in prison  or more easily disproved in trial. The preliminary hearing is very important as it is much like a mini-trial in which a federal criminal lawyer can either argue against the charges for lesser charges, counts, or to dismiss the case. Throughout the federal case, the best criminal lawyers will always be persistent in trying to get the case dismissed, dropped, or continuously cut away at the prosecutor's case to get a winning result.

The reality is federal criminal defense attorneys have many opportunities to sway the case in favor of the defendant from the time the initial investigation begins to sentencing and even beyond, such as in an appeal or other post-conviction relief method.

If you are being investigated by federal authorities it is imperative you talk to top federal defense attorneys immediately. Our federal criminal attorneys are passionate about getting the best for you and squashing the prosecutor's evidence, especially in preventing evidence from being entered, and nullifying the prosecutor's interpretation of events. Speak to our top criminal lawyers now, call 855-LAW-PRO1 (855-529-7761).

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