There are major differences in federal and state criminal procedure. That is why suspects need to meet with federal defense attorneys prior to an arrest. In fact, federal prosecutors investigate and impanel a grand jury before any arrests are made.
The Crimes Are Different
Certain cases must be tried in federal court. These include those involving crimes on federal property. Examples include a robbery at a post office or a kidnapping at a national park. Furthermore, federal charges are filed in cases involving kidnapping, counterfeiting and tax fraud. Drug cases are also tried in federal court if the crime involves conspiracy or interstate travel.
After an Arrest
If the grand jury returns an indictment, the accused needs help from federal defense attorneys. In fact, the attorney should already be on stand-by. The law states that the accused must have a hearing within 72 hours of the arrest. At the hearing, the prosecutor reads the defendant their rights. In addition, the accused is presented with a list of the charges.
One major difference between state and federal prosecution is that a bond is set prior to the hearing. However, the court may state that the defendant will not be granted bond. This depends on the circumstances of the crime.
The defendant must appear at an arraignment to enter a plea. Simultaneously, the prosecutor begins the discovery process by delivering copies of evidence to the defense. It is not unusual to have thousands of pages of evidence in a federal case. The defense attorney must read through each and every page. Additionally, the defense receives a copy of the witnesses’ list.
The prosecutor may try to enter plea negotiations with the defense. An example of a common plea bargain is pleading guilty to a lesser change. This plea would be in exchange for a lighter sentence. It is risky to go forward with a trial in federal court because of the sentencing procedures.
The federal probation department prepares a sentencing report for each defendant. It is important to remember the strict federal sentencing guidelines. The report contains any information that allows the judge to deviate from the guidelines. For more information, visit. You can also watch video on their YouTube channel.