Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.
Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.
Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.
Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.
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Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 11:29 am
If you’ve been charged with a federal crime, you’re probably wondering–how likely am I to win my case? As a defense lawyer whose represented hundreds of clients charged with federal crimes, I get this question alot.
The short answer is, it depends. Federal criminal cases vary widely in complexity. The likelihood of winning depends on the specific charges, the evidence against you, the law and precedents that apply, and a variety of other factors.
Here are some key factors that can impact the likelihood of winning a federal criminal case:
There are two main ways to win a federal criminal case – either through a dismissal before trial, or through an acquittal at trial. Let’s look at each scenario.
Many federal cases end through plea bargaining. But its also possible to get charges dismissed before trial. Here are some common ways charges get dismissed:
Dismissals before trial are uncommon though. Most federal cases that “win” do so through plea bargaining and reduced charges. But dismissals do happen in some cases.
The most dramatic way to win is through an acquittal (not guilty verdict) at trial. This is rare – around 90-95% of federal criminal trials result in convictions. But acquittals do happen, usually when:
Winning an acquittal at trial requires skill. The defense attorney must aggressively cross-examine witnesses, object to evidence, and present persuasive counter-arguments. Most importantly, the defense must instill reasonable doubt in the jury’s minds.
If convicted, federal sentencing is based on the US Sentencing Guidelines. The guidelines provide sentencing ranges based on:
While the guidelines are advisory, judges rarely depart from them. Mandatory minimums may also apply for certain charges. This complex system allows prosecutors to threaten severe sentences, forcing defendants to plead guilty.
Given the high conviction rate at trial, many defendants plead guilty. But others still roll the dice if they feel the case against them is weak. Key factors to consider are:
It’s critical to discuss trial prospects thoroughly with your lawyer before making this big decision.
Having an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer greatly impacts your chances of winning. Look for a lawyer who:
An experienced federal criminal trial lawyer can often get better plea deals or win dismissals/acquittals when less experienced lawyers can’t. Public defenders are often overwhelmed but do their best. Hiring private counsel is expensive but may be worth it if you can afford it.
Every federal criminal case is challenging. But with an experienced lawyer fighting aggressively for you, it is possible to win even against the power of the federal government. Don’t take pleading guilty as a foregone conclusion – make the prosecutors have to prove their case against you.
If you’ve been charged federally, I encourage you to sit down with a lawyer to evaluate the evidence, charges, and possible defenses in your case. This will allow you to make an informed decision on how best to proceed. With dedication and hard work, it is possible to win even federal criminal trials. So don’t give up hope!
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