How Are Criminal Cases Prosecuted?
Criminal cases in the U.S. are prosecuted either at the state level or at the federal level. Those at the state level are handled in state courts while those at the federal level are handled in federal courts. Most criminal cases are prosecuted in the state court system.
Federal Courts Versus State Courts
Federal courts differ in many ways from state courts. For one thing, they have limited jurisdiction. They only hear cases that are authorized under the federal statutes or the U.S. Constitution.
There are many federal agencies with the authority to investigate federal crimes. Among them are the FBI, the IRS and the DEA. Eliot Ness and The Untouchables are an example of federal law at work.
In the early 1930s, The Untouchables were in Chicago investigating Al Capone for prohibition violations. Eventually, Mr. Capone was convicted of tax evasion and sent off to prison. He was released seven years later in very poor health after having paid a small fortune in federal penalties and fines.
What Are Federal Crimes?
There is a gravity about federal crimes that state crimes lack. A federal offense is serious business. If you value your freedom, do not take federal charges lightly.
State crimes are often personal, and their impact is typically local. Federal crimes can target large groups of people and be carried out across state lines. They have national impact and broader consequences than state crimes.
Federal crimes can involve kidnapping over state lines, mail fraud, child trafficking, tax fraud, drug trafficking, internet child pornography, data breaches and a variety of white collar crimes. They can affect multiple states and are typically investigated by several government agencies working together.
With access to unlimited resources, these governmental agencies can amass large quantities of potentially damning evidence and determine how best to use the material to deliver a conviction.
While criminal charges brought by the state can pack a punch, federal criminal charges can blow you out of the water. Even less serious federal crimes like tax evasion and mail fraud will pit you against a formidable opponent.
Why Consider a Milwaukee Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Because they have a stronger impact on more people, federal crimes come with stiffer penalties than other crimes. Some federal crimes are punishable with enforced mandatory minimums, especially cases that are drug-related.
A federal criminal conviction or even a federal criminal investigation can have devastating and life-changing consequences. A guilty verdict might mean substantial prison time, a damaged reputation and the loss of a successful career.
Thousands of dollars in fines as well as victim restitution costs can literally wipe out your assets both present and future.
Get the Best Lawyer You Can Afford
Retaining top legal counsel can give you the best possible protection against a conviction and the best possible outcome given the circumstances of your case.
A good federal criminal lawyer will have defended those charged with criminal offenses at both the state and federal levels. They will have substantial experience defending those who have been charged with the same crime as you.
An experienced federal criminal lawyer will understand the complexities of the federal court system. For example, if you are charged with federal income tax evasion, your lawyer should have defended others with the same charges as you in addition to those charged with tax fraud in general.
The attorney you choose should have good communication skills as well as a reputation for honesty and integrity. Beware of lawyers who promise you a good outcome right off the bat. No lawyer can offer an iron-clad guarantee, and if one does, you can safely assume that the lawyer in question is merely after your money.
An honest lawyer will thoroughly evaluate your case and deliver a straightforward assessment of what you are up against. You’ll be told what your options are.
The more complex the case, the more it will cost you to defend yourself. Find out exactly how much you’ll be billed in legal fees before you dive in.
Many federal criminal defense attorneys offer free initial case reviews with no obligation. If possible, arrange an in-person consultation with any lawyer you’re considering.
It will help you to determine whether this is someone you trust and can comfortably work with. You might need to consult with several lawyers in order to find the right fit.
Understand Your Rights
Federal law grants you the right to legal representation. Your lawyer is responsible for ensuring that you understand your rights at each stage of the process and for protecting your rights above all else.
The outcome of your case will have a massive impact on the rest of your life. That’s why it’s essential to choose a lawyer with a track record of success. Don’t delay getting legal representation. The sooner you retain an attorney, the faster your attorney can get to work on your behalf.
Federal criminal investigations can go on for months or years prior to the filing of charges. By the time you are officially charged with a crime, there is likely to be considerable case material that your lawyer must review.
Getting legal representation as early as possible will give your lawyer the best possible chance of obtaining the most positive outcome.
Let It Go
After you find a lawyer you have confidence in, it’s time to let go. Let your lawyer do what lawyers do best. The federal court system can be a tricky place, and your lawyer knows the ins and outs of that system much better than you do.
If you believe that you’ve hired the right lawyer, then you’ve done everything you can possibly do. Let it go, move forward and have faith.
If you are charged with a federal crime in Milwaukee, your whole world may feel like it is crashing down around you. The federal authorities levy some serious power and are not easily kept in check with truth and innocence alone. In order to defend yourself against these pros who know the law inside and out, you’ll have to hire an experienced Milwaukee federal criminal defense attorney. Only the top-notch lawyers who have lots of experience can help you weaken and destroy their allegations.
It takes decades of research and practice to understand what types of errors will stick and what issues are not worth pursuing. Forming a defense strategy and having the experience to put together motions that deflate the prosecution’s position is no easy job. There is just too much to consider because the case-law of judicial opinions, which define the limits of a prosecution, is so expansive. Putting together all the pieces and presenting it clearly enough to compel the courts to rule in your favor requires talent, not just textbook learning.
How Do Federal Agents Operate?
At the first phase of a prosecution, there is an investigation. Many times, the prosecution can fail to disclose key evidence regarding the length and the extent of this investigation. Federal authorities can work with other officials who will carry out some side work for the promises of a bonus off the record. These officials can spend months or years profiling potential targets that work and live near them. The Feds will even rent a home or apartment nearby to a potential target if they want to build a more serious case.
We understand that some things may not make sense in a federal prosecution because they do a lot of secret phone taps, computer taps, and other work that they won’t admit to doing. Yet, if you know how they operate, this can provide an advantage in defending the case. Therefore, we will first sit down and try to understand how the Feds realistically became interested in you as a defendant.
In many cases, it is not because you were doing anything wrong per se but because you have a large volume of something that interests them: business, weapons, money, medications, computers, cars, or what have you. The Feds like to produce press releases and commercials that make them look like the top dogs even if they are not doing a great job.
The Feds are also known for carrying out elaborate sting operations and deep infiltrations. That new friend that you met may be someone working with police and trying to profile you. If they seem to always know what you are interested in and currently working on to stay relevant with their conversations, this is a clue.
Feds can work with anyone from business owners to prostitutes. In fact, prostitutes are some of the best police informants because they need protection from bad clients, drug dealers, and prison. They also know everyone in town and have a lot of resources because they are connected to the vine.
What Services Do We Provide?
Whether you are charged with public corruption, racketeering, drug trafficking, firearms offenses, fraud, tax evasion, or other white-collar crimes, we will put our all into obtaining the best plea or acquittal. No matter what the federal charges may be, we have a working knowledge of the applicable principles and can put together a very compelling case that is based partly off our previous work. Since we have already researched all the relevant case-law and know the nuances of the laws like the backs of our hands, we don’t squander your money away on educating ourselves.
We are pros who know what to do. We will file every motion possible to help chisel away at the strength of the prosecution’s case before trial, object during trial, and seek further relief after trial. This allows you to pursue review of questions of law on appeal where justice is easier. When an abstract principle and key evidence of innocence come into the focus, an appellate brief is the perfect way to make a public record that undermines the integrity of the courts if they keep ignoring injustices.
Before you get bogged down in the details of getting through a federal criminal appeal, you should bear in mind that this process is more difficult to understand than the nuances of a criminal trial. It turns on technicalities of how seemingly small issues were handled in the district court trial and can take a long time to resolve. It is not something that you can reasonably take care of by yourself without years of legal training because it is complex by design. It is impossible to pursue a federal criminal appeal on the facts and evidence alone. You will need to back up your arguments with legal research.
When Defendants File an Appeal in a Federal Criminal Case
In general, a defendant pursues a federal criminal appeal when there was some sort of mishap or poor ruling in the district court trial that may have influenced the outcome. Clearly, a defendant only files a federal criminal appeal if he was convicted of a crime. With the exception of specific issues, a federal criminal appeal cannot be filed until the judgment against the defendant is final.
In a federal criminal appeal, the defendant is either hoping for the judges to grant him a new trial or overturn his conviction without having to go through a criminal trial again. Both of these outcomes are hard to achieve because the standards for overturning a conviction in a federal district court are high. Some defendants who do not necessarily want a new trial or think that their odds of success are slim on appeal will file motions to have their prison sentences revoked or reduced. This is called a post-conviction motion for relief. It is decided by a district court judge instead of a panel of judges in the appropriate circuit court.
The Basics of an Appeal
You will have to make all of your arguments in a federal criminal appeal through written briefs that spell out the issues you think the district court judge did not decide correctly. You may also claim that the government engaged in some sort of wrongdoing that should result in your conviction being overturned. Your defense attorney may get the opportunity to present your argument orally, but this never happens before written briefs are filed by both sides. The appellate court judges must decide that oral arguments from both sides would be worthwhile in your case for that hearing to be scheduled. This typically happens if there is some sort of difficult legal issue involved in your federal criminal appeal that the panel of judges thinks would be best considered after both parties get to talk through their arguments.
Even if you get the opportunity to present your arguments orally to the circuit court, you should plan on having to wait for some later date to find out how the appellate court ruled on your case. The outcome of your federal criminal appeal will be conveyed to you in a written order. In addition to the required briefs, either side may end up filing a motion throughout the federal criminal appeal process, which could delay the ultimate determination on your appeal.
Finding the Right Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyers for Your Case
Filing a federal criminal appeal is not something that you should take lightly or try on your own without the support of a lawyer advocating for you. The above overview of the appeal process illuminated some of the basic challenges that you are bound to encounter in pursuing a federal criminal appeal in your case. Schedule an initial consultation with a federal criminal defense attorney who has experience representing other defendants in their appeals. You will have a much better chance of getting through the process without missing opportunities to have your conviction reversed if you are assisted by a competent defense lawyer.