Facing a potential federal criminal indictment can be a terrifying situation. In White Plains, New York, or anywhere else in the state or country in general, the federal government has the seemingly endless power to gain all the resources it requires to make the case against you. Federal prosecutors know their craft inside and out and will work tirelessly to prove that you committed a certain federal offense to put you in prison for a long time. However, at the same time, federal criminal defense attorneys in New York are equally skilled and will strive to put together the best possible defense to clear your name. No matter what specific federal charges are stacked against you, it’s imperative that you hire an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer.
There are a number of federal crimes a person can face that may affect not only others in the state of New York, but beyond. A few examples of such crimes include white collar offenses like cyber crimes and insurance fraud. There are other serious crimes that can greatly impact people throughout the country, such as drug trafficking, kidnapping and homicide.
What are Federal Crimes?
Federal crimes are serious violations of the law that were enacted by the United States Congress. Some of these crimes vary depending on the state as states may have their own set of laws or statutes as well. However, federal crimes focus on criminal activity throughout the country. If you need help with federal appeals, our federal appeals lawyers can assist with this as well.
There are a number of crimes that fall under this category. Some of the most common federal crimes include the following:
• Bank fraud
• Bank robbery
• Civil rights offenses
• Firearms offenses
• Health care fraud
• Mail fraud
Sentencing Process for Federal Crimes
Prior to 1987, federal judges were responsible for sentencing people found guilty of federal crimes and had the ability to dole out the maximum penalties. The system was set up in such a way that there were sometimes remarkable differences between the sentences of people guilty of the same crimes in different locations. Those discrepancies were addressed by the newly-created United States Sentencing Commission, which took over the sentencing of these criminals. After the Commission’s creation, there were guidelines put out that outlined uniform sentences for every federal crime. The specific sentence that is handed down depends on the person’s criminal history and the type of offense with which they have been charged.
If a defendant pleads guilty, it’s usually due to a plea agreement being in place. A plea agreement comes about as a result of an arrangement made between the prosecutor and the defendant and his or her attorney for accepting guilt in exchange for a lesser sentence.
There is a sentencing memorandum as well. This allows the defendant a chance to justify their actions to the court through their criminal defense attorney. The memorandum is given to the court and generally attempts to persuade the judge to give the individual a lesser sentence.
When the actual sentencing takes place, the judge can decide to follow general sentencing guidelines or use their own judgment when issuing the verdict. There are certain factors that can influence the judge’s decision. They include the following:
• If the defendant is a first-time offender or a repeat offender
• If the defendant was the main offender or an accessory to the crime
• Whether another person was hurt
• If the crime was perpetrated in a fashion that would not have resulted in anyone getting hurt
• Whether the defendant was cruel, destructive or vindictive while committing the crime
• If the defendant is remorseful for the act
What Happens During the Federal Arrest Process?
In some cases, a person may be aware that there is a federal criminal investigation going on. The FBI may come to speak with the individual or obtain a search warrant to do a search of their home or business. This or even before is the time to speak with an experienced New York federal criminal defense attorney.
Sometimes, the individual isn’t aware that there is an investigation taking place and that the FBI is investigating them. In that situation, an arrest is made without investigators first speaking with them. After an arrest, it’s absolutely essential that the individual get in touch with a skilled federal criminal defense lawyer. It’s also important to remember that the accused has the right to remain silent if investigators attempt to interview them before they have legal representation.
After you are arrested on federal criminal charges, the agents will want to discuss the case against you and maybe obtain a statement from you. They may or may not inform you of your rights. Sometimes, they will allow you to make a phone call, whether it’s to call an attorney or your family and ask them to contact a lawyer immediately. No matter what the demeanor of the investigators, it’s important to tell them you want to contact an attorney and don’t want to answer any questions. While the agents may attempt to talk with you in a different way afterward, they cannot question you any further after you have stated you want your lawyer.
After the initial questioning, the investigators will probably bring you to a federal courthouse where the case may or may not be heard. A meeting with pre-trial services is done at this location and your bail will be determined. Cooperation is in your best interest, even though you are placed in a holding cell until being able to see a judge. This can take time based on the judge’s schedule.
If you haven’t already at this point, you should contact a federal criminal defense attorney immediately. The lawyer can help you by answering any questions regarding the case and inform you of what to expect next. They can also help to build a strong defense to the charges against you.
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