The federal government has a separate court system. You could face a harsher punishment if you are charged with a crime in a federal court. That is why you need an attorney who has experience representing people who have been charged with a federal crime.
Our Charlotte federal criminal lawyers know how high the stakes are. They will investigate all of the allegations that have been made against you. This will help them build the strongest defense possible.
Why Crimes are Sometimes a Federal Offense
Certain acts are classified as illegal under both federal and criminal law. However, you cannot be charged under both federal and criminal law. You must be charged under federal law or North Carolina law. In most cases, if you are charged with a crime in North Carolina, then it will be considered a state offense.
However, there are some incidents where it may be charged as a federal crime.
The prosecutor will determine whether you are charged with a state or federal crime. It is a good idea to contact Charlotte federal criminal lawyers as soon as you find out that you are being investigated. You will already be prepared if you are charged with a criminal offense.
Common Federal Charges
Racketeering is a type of crime that involves interfering with commerce by using violence or threats. Robbery and extortion are examples of racketeering.
You may get a federal conspiracy charged if you and another person planned to commit a federal crime, and there is sufficient evidence to prove this.
You may get a federal drug if you are caught selling, trafficking or possessing an illegal drug. A drug crime is typically punished under state law. However, if you cross state lines, then you may face a federal charge.
If you are driving under the influence while at a national park, military base or other federal property, then you may be charged with a federal DWI.
Federal Gun Crimes
There are two main federal gun crimes that you can be charged with. They are felon in possession of ammunition or firearm and possessing a firearm in order to further a crime or drug trafficking.
Child Pornography Possession
If child pornography is distributed across the lines, then you can be charged with a federal crime. You may also be charged with a federal crime if the pornography is distributed outside of the United States.
The Federal Court Process
Federal court has a totally different process than state court. Federal prosecutors are required to have a grand jury. The grand jury has 12 to 23 people on it. The jury will give a federal indictment if they believe that you have committed a crime.
You will have to turn yourself or be arrested after you have been indicted. You will then make your initial appearance in court. You may appear before a federal judge. The judge will tell you about your charges and the rights that you have.
The court may then schedule a detention hearing. The discovery process is the next step. Each side will have the opportunity to present their evidence. Your attorney and prosecutors may come up with a plea deal. You should talk to your attorney before you accept a plea deal.
The pre-trial phase will move forward if you do not accept a plea deal. Your attorney will let you know whether you should admit anything to the court. The next step is the trial. The trial can last for several weeks. Both sides will be able to present their argument. After that, the jury will deliberate. The jury consists of 6 to 12 people. The jury has to unanimously agree guilty or not guilty.
If a defendant makes it to the point after a criminal trial where he is considering the federal criminal appeals process, that means that he has been convicted of a crime and wants to have that conviction reversed. This is no simple task. This introduction to the general expectations During the federal criminal appeals process will show you that an appeal necessitates working with skilled legal representation to find significant errors that happened during the criminal trial. You should be mentally prepared for the potential outcomes to decide whether you would rather pursue some other form of relief via post-conviction motions.
What Differentiates Federal Criminal Appeals from District Court Trials
The district court trial depends on testimony and evidence of the crime presented in front of a judge and/or jury in court. During the federal criminal appeals process, the defendant and the government write and file briefs and motions to argue their points. Instead of questioning witnesses about the evidence presented of the crime, lawyers for both sides in the federal criminal appeals process perform legal research and analysis for potential ways to have the conviction either upheld or overturned.
There are different standards by which the panel of judges in the federal criminal appeals process judges whether the trial court committed a significant error that harmed the defendant’s case in a serious way. The lowest level of scrutiny is an abuse of discretion, which means that the trial court judge just had to make a very unreasonable decision for it to be the basis for an appeal. The highest level of scrutiny by the panel of judges is reviewing the trial court judge’s ruling on an issue pursuant to the appellate court judges’ own interpretation of the applicable law or rule.
Some Misconceptions About Federal Criminal Appeals
Many defendants think that an appeal depends on the judges seeing the evidence a new way or examining evidence that did not make it into the district court trial. This is not the case. The federal criminal appeal depends on the panel of judges considering any legal errors that the defense contends occurred in the district court and prejudiced the outcome of the case.
Understanding the Possible Outcomes for a Federal Criminal Appeal
In addition to the complexity of the legal process, one of the things that many defendants find upsetting about the federal criminal appeals process is that it takes a long time for the case to be resolved. There is no set timeline for an ultimate decision from the panel of appellate judges, although the circuit court clerk does set a schedule for when all of the briefs must be filed. The appellate judges make their final decision on their own time instead of in front of the parties in a courtroom.
Your federal criminal appeal may be successful in getting your conviction reversed, but this could mean that you still have to go through the district court trial process again like it never happened. You may not exactly want this outcome because a new trial could wind up with you being found guilty again because the prosecution can perfect its case against you.
How to Retain Competent Legal Counsel for Federal Criminal Appeals
Before you decide whether or not the federal criminal appeals is something you want to pursue, you should talk to a federal criminal appeals lawyer. One of the major benefits of retaining a knowledgeable federal criminal appeals attorney is that you will find out what possibilities exist for you to pursue a potential federal criminal appeal in your case. This can save you significant time and frustration. Be sure to schedule a consultation with a federal criminal appeals attorney who regularly represents defendants in the federal criminal appeals process because it is a unique and demanding area of criminal law.
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