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Philadelphia Federal Criminal Lawyers

By Spodek Law Group | June 17, 2019

The stakes are high when it comes to defending yourself in a federal criminal case. Without the guidance of an experienced defense attorney, you risk falling victim to the harsh realities of the federal conviction machine. In fact, statistics show that over 97% of federal cases end with a plea bargain. It’s crucial to have a skilled trial attorney on your side, one who is adept at preserving key issues for appeal. This is especially true as the litigation process often takes place before trial.

But why is having a skilled attorney so vital in these cases? For one, the mentality of trial judges can be loose, and they may allow their own biases to influence their application of the law. On the other hand, appellate courts tend to be far more reasonable, as they are not swayed by the emotional drama that can unfold in a courtroom. Instead, they focus on refining jurisprudence into universal principles that can apply to any given situation. This neutral and stoic approach to law can make it easier for defendants to succeed on highly technical errors.

However, it’s important to remember that the appellate courts also tend to be very abstract and technical. This means that defendants can also waive valuable rights by committing hypertechnical errors. Failing to file documents on time, format a brief correctly, cite proper authorities, present key evidence, or consider the big picture can all lead to losing ground in the case.

That’s why hiring a skilled federal defense attorney is so crucial. These professionals have a deep understanding of the ins and outs of litigation, and they stay current on changes in the law and decisions that alter it. This allows them to build a robust defense that can expose weaknesses or errors in the prosecution’s case. And when they set out to win a battle, they can easily defeat prosecutors who are bogged down by heavy caseloads. The attorney who puts in the most work is more likely to secure a lenient plea bargain or even succeed at trial.

It’s important to understand the federal criminal process as well. In the federal courts, you can be prosecuted on the basis of a criminal information or indictment. These documents specify the charges against you and are used to help you prepare a defense and gather witnesses. If you can prove that key elements of the prosecution’s narrative are false, you can have the case thrown out right away. However, if there is probable cause, you must face an arraignment, where you are informed of your rights and the nature of the charges, and formally plead guilty or not guilty. The case will then either be scheduled for trial or end in a negotiated plea bargain. It’s crucial to have an expert attorney to guide you through every step of this process, or you may wind up as a trophy for an overzealous prosecutor, even if you are innocent.

As you stand charged with a federal crime, you may be wondering when and if you will have the opportunity to speak with investigators. It is important to understand that while you have the right to speak, it may not always be in your best interest to do so. Anything you say could be used against you during the legal process, potentially hindering your ability to achieve a favorable outcome in your case. Let’s delve deeper into the different stages of a federal criminal case and when you may be given the opportunity to speak, as well as whether or not it makes sense to do so.

Before Charges are Filed: Interviews It is not uncommon for investigators to request an informal interview before you are officially charged with a crime. These interviews may take place in your home or another private location. Keep in mind, the purpose of these interviews is to gather information that can be used as evidence to charge you with a crime. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with your attorney before agreeing to any type of interview.

After Charges are Filed: Plea Deals Once you have been charged with a federal crime, the government may offer you a plea deal. As part of this agreement, you may be required to provide information about your involvement in any illegal activities, as well as information about others who may have also been involved. However, it is important to remember that anything you say while cooperating with the terms of a plea deal could leave you open to additional charges. It is ideal for your attorney to secure immunity from further prosecution in exchange for your cooperation with federal authorities.

The Government is Always Listening Even if investigators do not reach out to schedule an interview, it does not mean they are not interested in hearing from you. If you believe you have information that could help your case, you should feel free to reach out to them. Keep in mind, your attorney will likely make contact on your behalf and may even submit a written statement or documents that could aid in proving your innocence. If you do choose to speak with investigators in person, it is in your best interest to have your attorney present to ensure you do not incriminate yourself.

The Right to Testify in Court If your case goes to trial, you will have the right to testify in your own defense. However, it is important to note that only 2% of cases actually go to trial and any talking you do will likely take place outside of the courtroom. Your attorney will advise you not to take the stand during the trial, as there is no guarantee that doing so will improve the outcome of your case.

You are Never Forced to Speak It is essential to understand that the government cannot force you to say or do anything against your will during an investigation or after being charged with a crime. If you were not made aware of this fact, any evidence obtained from statements made before you were read your Miranda rights could be deemed inadmissible. This could potentially lead to charges being dropped or thrown out by a judge. You will have the opportunity to speak with the government at any point during the legal process, but it is wise to consult with an attorney before doing so to avoid inadvertently incriminating yourself.

What To Do First If Federal Agents Come to Your Home With a Search Warrant

Your home is perhaps your most private space. This is where you retreat after a long hard day at the office. It’s also where you eat, sleep and engage in intimate acts. The federal government has long recognized the home is a special place. As such, they have placed safety nets designed to protect your home from any form of federal intrusion. Government officials are prohibited from entering your inner sanctum except under extremely defined circumstances. In to enter your home they usually need to get what is known as a search warrant. Getting a search warrant is a highly specific form of documentation that requires officials to follow certain legal procedures. Officials must adhere to the laws set down in the fourth amendment to the constitution. This amendment, part of the Bill of Rights, protects people against the possibility of unwarranted intrusions in their home by government officials.

If It Happens
Federal government officials can get a search warrant any time. You could be eating diner and suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of someone in your home against your will and with the full sanction of the American government. Under these circumstances, it can be very hard to keep your temper in check. At the same time, now is the time to think logically and respond rationally. It is best to carefully listen to the people doing the procedure and take a deep breath. Under law, they have the right to investigate your home. However, those laws are not unlimited. The people doing the search must adhere to stated guidelines. The first thing you need to do is find out the person’s name and the organization they represent.

Getting Information
The first thing likely to happen before anything else does it that the people or person involved will give you a business card. This card should have information indicating the person’s name, the division they work for an other details such as an email address and a phone number.
A business card can tell you a great deal about the kind of charges you might be faced with going forward. For example, if you see this person works for the IRS, they are probably looking for tax records. If you see someone from another, specific government agency, you know the search warrant may be connected with that agency’s mission. If you don’t know what agency is being represented, if you can take a spare moment and google the name. This will often tell you a lot about the purpose of the search. You might also find further information about who to contact such as the person’s boss.

You should also alert other members of your household. If you have young children, now is the time to get them out of the house if you can to a relative or a neighbor. Notify a spouse. Even if they are sleeping, they’ll want to know what’s going on. No one wants to wake up in a nightgown only to find a stranger in their hallway. The same is true of any pets in the home. If your dog is likely to growl and bark at strangers, get them in a space where they will not interact with the official. The last thing you need to worry about is the possibility of being sued because you did not restrain your pet.

Call a Lawyer
After calming yourself down and getting everyone out of the way, now is the time to call a lawyer. Even in the middle of the night, the lawyer may have an answering service or someone on call ready to offer you the legal advice you need. A lawyer can talk to the prosecutor directly on your behalf and find out what charges are being brought against you. At that point, the lawyer can also begin to craft a defense on your behalf. The search may only be the first step in a difficult and complicated case that can possibly span a long time. Now is the time begin to seek legal help. It’s also the time to avoid speaking to anyone involved in the search warrant process unless you must.

How to Handle Federal Agents Searching Your Home
When agents from the federal government show up at a person’s home with a search warrant, it is a frightening experience. Individuals who are the subject of a federal investigation know it is a feeling of being powerless and feeling threatened. This is the government’s goal. They want people to realize government agents can go through their personal belongings and there is nothing they can do about it. There are certain things an individual should do if this happens to them.
Obtain Information
It is possible the person being subjected to the search will not know that they’re part of a federal investigation. They need to gather as much information as possible from the federal agents in their home. It is common for the agents to leave a copy of the search warrant as well as business cards. The search warrant is the first clue about what is happening. The type of federal agent will also explain many things. If they are from the DEA, it will involve drugs. If they are from the IRS, it will deal with tax code violations and more.
Lawyer Contact
Once a person’s home or business has been searched by federal agents, they should hire an attorney as soon as possible. These legal professionals will contact the federal agents directly and work to speak with the prosecutor who is assigned to the case. Establishing a line of communication is essential. It will signal to the government that the individual is willing to cooperate. Doing this could also indicate the individual believes they are innocent of any federal criminal charges.
Even if a person believes they know their rights, they should speak with legal counsel to make sure they know all of their rights. Any person who is being subject to a federal investigation needs to remember their two most important rights. They have the right to have legal counsel and the right to remain silent. Nobody should try and defend themselves to the federal agents searching their home. Federal agents are experienced at asking questions that seem innocent but are intended to get someone to admit to breaking a law. Nobody should say anything during the search and then only speak with their attorney about it.
An attorney will know how to discover the reason for the search of their clients property by federal agents. It’s important to learn why the federal agents believe there is evidence at a specific location. An attorney will also know how to find out what evidence the agents were trying to obtain. This information will be essential for planning how to move forward after the search.
Record Details of the Search
The federal government is required to comply with all the laws established in the U.S. Constitution. This includes federal agents conducting their search at any location in a reasonable manner. Should the federal agents enter a location and not announce themselves, refuse to show their warrant, and not permit the residents to get dressed or behave in other unreasonable ways, it is a problem. An attorney could use this behavior to get any evidence discovered by the federal agents thrown out. A person should write down the details of what happened during their search. This includes the number of agents involved, what was said by the agents, their treatment of the person being investigated, and more. This information should then be given by a person directly to their attorney.
Don’t Talk About the Case
When a person is under federal investigation, they shouldn’t talk to anyone about their case except their attorney. A person facing this situation will be under a significant amount of stress. They may want to speak with someone about what is happening to them. They must realize there is no way for them to know who is working with the government. This could include friends, family members, co-workers, or any person an individual may believe they can trust. It is always possible that whatever they say will be immediately reported back to the federal agents conducting the investigation.
Don’t Assume Warrant is Valid
It’s important to realize that simply because federal agents have a warrant doesn’t mean it is valid. The U.S. Constitution provides certain criteria that a search warrant must meet to be valid. A search warrant has to be based on probable cause. If it can be proven the search warrant was overly broad in its description of how the search should be conducted or wasn’t based on probable cause, it could be ruled invalid.
A person facing a federal investigation should speak to an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Spodek Law Group will know how to get a person answers to their important questions. They will know how to discover the scope and nature of the government’s investigation. Their goal will be to protect their client’s rights and provide them with the best possible legal defense of their case.

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I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

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It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything was explained and any concerns...

~A G

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After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

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