Being on the receiving end of a federal criminal indictment can be a frightening proposition. The federal government has virtually unlimited access to any and all of the resources it needs to pursue its case against you, and federal prosecutors are notorious for their tenacity and skill. If you’ve been accused of a federal crime in New York, a federal criminal defense attorney who has the savvy to take on the feds and isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with a federal prosecutor may become a necessity.
The list of federal crimes can include any offense that could impact individuals or entities beyond the borders of the home state. Examples include kidnapping, homicide and drug trafficking, as well as white collar crimes such as bankruptcy fraud and cyber crimes. In an era where terrorism poses a very real and constant threat, anyone alleged to be involved in a terrorist activity is also likely to be accused of a federal crime.
Spodek Law Group: Committed Federal Criminal Attorneys in New York
The Spodek Law Group can provide you with a capable federal criminal lawyer in New York City who is willing to go the extra mile to protect and enforce your legal rights. Your federal criminal lawyer will do whatever it takes to represent your best interests, whether it’s mounting a vigorous defense in a court of law or negotiating with federal prosecutors to reach a fair and equitable plea agreement. You’ll get a federal criminal defense lawyer in NY who possesses the sound judgment to advise you whether cooperating with the feds or continuing the fight is likely to be the right move for you.
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Spodek Law is a family owned and operated firm that treats each client as an individual instead of a case file. Our clients know we’re available around the clock to provide assistance or reassurance when needed. Our people-oriented approach has enabled us to establish a large and loyal client base that has sustained our practice for nearly four decades.
Federal criminal cases are different from state criminal cases in terms of the pace, plea/bargaining process and penalties. In New York City, federal crimes are prosecuted by the Attorney’s Office. This article seeks to discuss federal crimes, the court process and how NYC federal lawyers can assist in such cases.
What are Federal Crimes?
These are a violation of laws or statutes enacted by the U.S. Congress. Federal crimes differ from state crimes in the sense that the latter are a violation of laws or statues enacted by a local authority or the state legislature. Federal crimes are more concerned with addressing nationwide criminal activity.
Examples of Federal Crimes
• Bank robbery
• Band fraud
• Civil rights offenses
• Mail fraud
• Health care fraud
• Firearms offenses
History of Federal Sentencing
Before 1987, federal judges sentenced persons depending on their individual cases. Judges had discretion to hand out maximum penalties. This system was such that there was a great difference between the sentences hand down to individuals situated in different places. These differences were addressed by the setting up of the United States Sentencing Commission that was responsible for developing a standardized sentencing system. This commission enacted sentencing guidelines that outlined uniform sentences for all federal crimes. These guidelines provide that an individual sentence should be based on the type of offense charged and an individual’s criminal history.
In 2005, significant changes were made to the federal sentencing process. The Supreme Court in Booker stated that the guidelines for sentencing were not mandatory and also changed the process of appeal for a federal sentence. This means that federal judges do not have to sentence a defendant following the sentencing guidelines. However, they must take these guidelines into account when sentencing.
The Federal Sentencing Process
If a defendant pleads guilty, it always results from a plea agreement. This is an arrangement between the prosecutor and defendant on what action the defendant is going to accept guilt and what the sentencing shall be. The defendant will then confess their guilt to the judge in what is referred to as the allocution.
Pre sentence Report
Following the allocution, your case is headed towards sentencing. First, the U.S. Department of Probation arranges for a pre-sentence interview. During the interview, the probation department drafts a pre-sentence report (PSR) and the defendant is given an opportunity to correct the report if there are any omissions or mistakes. Thereafter, the PSR is handed to the judge and contains a recommendation on the suitable sentence for the defendant’s crime.
The Sentencing Memorandum
The defendant is afforded the opportunity to justify their actions before the court through their attorney. The defendant’s attorney presents to the court a sentencing memorandum that persuades the judge that the defendant should get a lesser sentence because of the nature of the defendant and the circumstances that led to the crime.
After the judge receives the pre sentence report, prosecutor’s recommendation and sentencing memorandum, he/she is ready to issue a sentence. A judge may choose to follow the sentencing guidelines or depart up or down when issuing a verdict. Some of the factors that a judge considers before sentencing include:
• Whether the defendant is a repeat offender or first time offender
• Whether the defendant was the main offender or an accessory (assisting the main offender)
• Whether the defendant performed their criminal actions under duress or great personal stress
• Whether somebody was hurt
• Whether the criminal act was done in a way that would not have resulted in anyone getting hurt
• Whether the defendant was cruel, destructive or vindictive when committing the crime
• Whether the defendant is remorseful
Federal Arrest Process
Being arrested on federal charges is difficult. There’s no substitute for experience, and knowledge. You need NYC federal criminal attorneys who understands how the federal arrest process will unfold, and how to handle it in a safe manner.
Sometimes, you might be aware of an on-going federal criminal investigation. The FBI might come talk to you, or they may execute a search warrant on your home. At this point, or even before, you’ll want to speak to a NYC Federal criminal lawyer to help you – and protect your rights going forward. Speaking to the FBI without a criminal attorney is not in your best interests.
If a federal agency makes no attempt to meet with you before the arrest, then your going to need an immediate response when arrested. You should seek a federal attorney who can handle New York cases and help you. You have the right to remain silent – but need an attorney to help get you out. Upon your arrest, federal agents will want to take a statement from you or talk about your case. They may not inform you of your rights. On occasion, federal agents will let you make a phone call, or let your loved ones know to contact your attorney for representation. No matter how nice they are – you should tell them that you want to contact your federal criminal lawyer – and don’t want to answer any questions about the charges. The agents may try different ways to discuss your case with you. Once you indicate you want your attorney, they cannot question you further.
The agents will bring you to a local office, in order to gain your personal information and obtain your fingerprints. You shouldn’t talk about the case, but can tell them about accurate information, like your name, DOB, address, etc. It’s likely they have this information already. Giving fake information will create delays, and make you look like a flight risk.
After agents complete their initial questioning, they’ll bring you to a federal district court courthouse. This may not be where the case is done later. This is simply where you’ll have a meeting with the officer from the pre-trial services, who’ll make a recommendation to the court about whether any bail is appropriate. The decision is based on their experience, and whether they think you’ll make your appearance in court. You should behave, and cooperate, with the PTS officer. They will ask questions about your legal status, and other such information. You shouldn’t discuss your case. You want to make it appear to the PTS officer that you will appear in court, and not flee. Use your ties to the community, your ownership of property, etc, as proof of your sincerity. The officer will recommend a bail package, which will guarantee your appearance in court. This is not binding on the judge, but it may taken into consideration.
Once you’re interviewed by the PTS, you’ll be kept in a holding cell until the judge is ready to see you. This can take some time, depending on the judge’s availability. If you’re awaiting your attorney, then it will not happen until the attorney is there. You will have an opportunity to chat about your complaint with your attorney.
It’s highly suggested you contact a federal criminal attorney as quickly as possible. Our federal criminal defense attorneys can answer questions you have about your case, and explain what happens next. We can help negotiate your surrender, and help build a defense.
Consequences of a Federal Investigation
The FBI is commonly known as the federal agency that handles all of the arrests for the US Attorney’s offices throughout the NY metropolitan area. There are numerous agencies, which may conduct an arrest. Generally, there are a few reasons why an agency from the agency will reach out to you. You are a witness, a person of interest, a subject, a target, or there is an arrest warrant for you.
Being a witness
If you’re a witness, it doesn’t mean you observed a crime. Instead, you have information that law enforcement agencies believe may be helpful in an investigation – to help either help prove someones guilty or innocent. It’s critical, you remember you are the subject/person of interest – and have the right to a NYC federal lawyer, and the right to remain silent. You shouldn’t be intimidated, or be nervous and take rash actions. This could make matters worse, or make you appear uncooperative. No branch of the government can force you to speak to them in your home, or anywhere else. You have the right to an attorney before speaking with them. Unless you’re arrested, or have a Federal subpoena – you don’t need to go anywhere the FBI. AS a witness, it’s critical you realize – that your words can be used you against you. If you lie, then those words can be used to hurt you. You can be charged with lying to a Federal Agent, and with obstruction of justice. Each of these crimes is punishable by up to 5 years in federal jail.
Regardless of whether you were aware, or not, of any wrong doing, or whether you possess information that may be evidence – it’s crucial you protect yourself and hire a NYC Federal criminal defense lawyer. A competent attorney can help you prepare for the process, and assist you in preventing any embarrassing – and incriminating statements from being said. Failure to secure a criminal attorney could expose you to future criminal liabilities, and create a hardship for you and your family.
Being a person of witness
Since 1996, federal agencies have used the term person of interest. This is not a legal term though. It’s simply a term used when agencies want to talk to someone about a criminal investigation. It means the agencies believe the person of interest was involved in a crime, in one way or another – but they don’t have information to legally charge the person.
The US attorney’s office, or some other federal agent will reach out to you for a statement. They’ll ask to answer questions, or serve you with a subpoena. It’s crucial you get a criminal attorney. You are one step away from being accused of a crime. Anything you say can and will be used against you. The agencies goal is to get incriminating answers from you during their conversation with you. Depending on the answers you give, you could be arrested on the spot. That’s why you need a NYC federal lawyer to help you. Barring some agreement that your attorney has in place, you could be highly exposed.
Subject of a Federal Investigation
If you’re the subject of a federal investigation, law enforcement officers from government agencies may try reaching out to you in person, or by phone. In doing so, they’ll tell you that you aren’t in trouble – but they want to speak to you about a case. Alternatively, they might say you have information about an on going investigation. Subject of an investigation is a person who has done something which is being looked at within a Grand Jury’s investigation. If you are the subject of an investigation, you are going to be told this before you are allowed to testify. It’s crucial you hire a NYC federal lawyer to prevent any mistakes from being made.
Target of a Federal Investigation
The target of a federal investigation is a person whose being investigated as the primary antagonist behind a crime. This is the prime defendant in a case. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to hire an attorney. In this situation, you should assume you are going to face criminal charges.
Warrants issued for your arrest
If the FBI has issued a warrant for your arrest – then it’s like you’ve been indicted by the Grand Jury, or Judge. There is a criminal complaint against you, and there’s enough evidence to pursue the charges. Officials have made a determination there’s enough evidence to allow the US Attorney’s Office to proceed with a felony charge against you. Unless you have proper representation, you could be incarcerated for months, or decades. If a warrant is issued for your arrest, the FBI will take you into custody. You will be arranged, and bail will eventually be set. Agents with search warrants will try to retrieve criminal evidence against you.