FEDERAL CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Federal Criminal Defense Pro represents those facing criminal charges for federal offenses in California and throughout the United States. Have you been arrested for or charged with a federal criminal offense? If so, your job, reputation, finances, and freedom could be at stake. The penalties associated with a criminal conviction at the federal level are severe and life-changing. Effectively representing you against federal criminal charges takes the expertise of a skilled, trial-tested criminal defense lawyer with experience in federal court.
We represent defendants in federal and state criminal cases charged with drug-related offenses, fraud offenses, violent crimes, white-collar crimes, sex crimes, murder, and in other offenses. We are committed to providing our clients with the highest-quality legal representation and helping them get the best possible outcome in their criminal case.
WHY CHOOSE US?
Hiring the right federal criminal defense lawyer can be difficult. Having the right attorney representing you can mean the difference between going to prison or remaining free.
EXPERIENCE & EXCELLENT SERVICE
We have helped clients in a wide variety of federal criminal cases. We know how damaging a criminal conviction would be for you and your loved ones. We provide each and every client with personalized attention and quality legal representation during every stage of their case.
WHAT TO DO FIRST
TYPES OF FEDERAL CRIMES
State cases involve a violation of state law and are heard in state court, while federal cases involve a violation of federal law and are heard in federal court. There are some criminal offenses that can be prosecuted in either state or federal court, or both, such as certain theft and drug-related offenses, and there are crimes that can only be prosecuted in federal court, such as mail fraud, drug smuggling and other offenses that cross state lines or international borders. Generally, the penalties for a federal offense are harsher than the state penalties for a comparable offense.
Unfortunately, yes. If you are accused of committing a crime that violates both state and federal law, you can be prosecuted in state and federal court. This is not considered a violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects a person against being prosecuted twice for the same offense.
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A federal investigation is an intensive inquiry into a suspected violation of federal law. Federal law enforcement agents can conduct investigations in all 50 states, on foreign soil and even on the high seas.
Federal criminal offenses are investigated by United States government agencies, such as the FBI, DEA, ICE, IRS, ATF and Secret Service. In some cases, these agencies will work with state and local law enforcement officials to investigate a case.
Just because you are suspected of a crime does not mean you forfeit your rights. If you are under investigation by the federal government, you have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions and you have the right to demand an attorney. Once you invoke your right to legal counsel, you cannot legally be interrogated until your attorney is present.
The only person you should talk to about your case is your criminal defense lawyer. A good defense attorney acts as your trusted legal advocate, listening to your concerns and answering your questions. If you talk to the authorities or prosecution about your charges, you could end up hurting your case.
Federal crimes are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office, which represents the United States government in federal cases.
The prosecutor in a federal criminal case is the attorney who represents the federal government. It is the prosecutor’s duty to fairly try and punish individuals accused of committing criminal offenses in violation of federal law.
A federal grand jury is a jury responsible for determining whether a federal crime took place, who may have committed the crime, and whether criminal charges should be brought. If a grand jury finds that there is enough evidence, the defendant will be indicted. Unlike a criminal trial, grand jury proceedings are not open to the public and defendants and their lawyers do not have the right to appear before a grand jury to argue their case.
Depending on the circumstances of the government’s investigation, if a grand jury is assembled, you may be subpoenaed by the grand jury to testify before them.
It is never too early to hire an attorney if you have reason to believe you may be the target of an investigation by the federal government. If you are under investigation, you are likely to be arrested or indicted and the sooner you hire a defense lawyer, the sooner you can begin protecting your rights. With a skilled defense team on your side, you may even be able to avoid being indicted altogether.
Your very first step should be to hire an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to review your case and advise you on the best course of action for your specific situation. With a knowledgeable attorney on your side, you can decide, based on the evidence, whether you should go to trial or resolve your case in some other way.
Confessions are inadmissible in federal court when they are obtained in violation of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 5, which indicates that “A person making an arrest within the United States must take the defendant without unnecessary delay before a magistrate judge, or before a state or local judicial officer as Rule 5(c) provides, unless a statute provides otherwise.” If you confessed to the crime after being arrested and before being taken before a judge, your attorney may be able to get the confession thrown out.
Federal crimes are taken extremely seriously by the U.S. government and the penalties associated with federal crimes tend to be more severe than those associated with state crimes. If you want to avoid a criminal conviction, considerable fines and a lengthy prison sentence, you need an experienced attorney on your side who will fight for your rights.
If you have been charged with a federal crime, it may be due to any number of reasons. For instance, you could face federal charges if you are accused of committing a crime that is considered a federal issue, such as immigration fraud, or a crime that is covered by both state and federal law, such as murder or manslaughter. Additionally, if your alleged crime was investigated by the federal authorities or took place across state lines, you could be charged with a federal crime.
When you consult our law firm, we will not only gather important information about your case, we will also ensure that you understand what the criminal court process entails and what you can expect to experience throughout the course of your case.
The length of a criminal case varies depending on the nature of the crime and other important factors, but under the federal Speedy Trial Act, an indictment must be filed within 30 days of a defendant’s arrest for a federal offense. With certain exceptions, this same law requires that a case be tried within 70 days of the date the defendant is arrested or the date of the indictment, whichever is later.
The federal sentencing guidelines are a set of rules that establish a uniform sentencing policy for defendants convicted of serious federal criminal offenses, based on the nature of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history. The sentencing guidelines are not mandatory, but judges are required to take them into consideration when determining the appropriate sentence for a defendant convicted in federal court. Any time a judge departs from the sentencing guidelines, he or she must explain what factors warranted an increase or decrease in the defendant’s sentence.
With regard to the federal sentencing guidelines, an upward departure is when the judge orders a more severe penalty than that which is recommended under the law. Upward departures are intended to reflect the nature and severity of the offense in question and are typically seen in cases with aggravating circumstances.
In a criminal case, aggravating circumstances are factors that render a criminal offense more serious and therefore typically lead to a harsher penalty upon conviction.
Conversely, a downward departure is when the judge orders a penalty that is lower than the sentencing guideline range. This may be seen in cases where the defendant played a small role in the crime or committed the crime under duress.
When it comes to the government pursuing charges for federal crimes, every crime has specific “elements” that the prosecution must prove in order for the defendant to be convicted. For instance, in order to get a conviction for federal drug manufacturing, each of the following elements must be present:
- The defendant manufactured, distributed or dispensed, or possessed with the intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense, a controlled substance; or
- The defendant created, distributed or dispensed, or possessed with the intent to distribute or dispense, a counterfeit substance; and
- The defendant did one or more of these things knowingly or intentionally.
No, not necessarily. Just because you have been arrested for or charged with a federal criminal offense does not mean the government will be able to get a conviction. Every defendant in a criminal case is presumed innocent until proven guilty and the prosecution can only get a conviction if it can prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
You can face criminal charges in federal court if you are accused of committing a drug-related crime like drug trafficking, drug smuggling, drug manufacturing, drug distribution, drug importation or exportation, or drug conspiracy.
Because of the serious nature of drug crimes like drug trafficking, drug smuggling and drug manufacturing, these crimes are punished harshly in the federal court system. Many drug crimes are not only subject to the federal sentencing guidelines, but also involve mandatory minimum sentences, which are calculated based on the type and amount of the drug involved. For instance, the crime of trafficking in 100 grams or more of heroin carries a minimum sentence of five years, while trafficking in one kilogram or more of heroin carries a minimum sentence of 10 years.
If you are convicted of a federal crime, depending on the circumstances of your charges, the federal government may have the right to seize any money or property derived from or used to commit the alleged crime.
Many defendants in drug-related criminal cases are charged with conspiracy, which is a relatively easy charge for the government to prove. A drug conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit a drug crime, and even if you didn’t actually possess, manufacture, distribute or import any drugs, you can face drug conspiracy charges in federal court.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as RICO, is a federal law that penalizes unlawful acts carried out as part of an ongoing criminal organization or enterprise. If you are suspected of being involved in illegal acts of mail fraud, bank fraud, murder, arson, money laundering or any number of other crimes, even if you didn’t commit the crimes yourself, and the crimes are in some way connected to a criminal enterprise, you could face federal criminal charges under the RICO Act.
White-collar crime is the name given to non-violent, financially motivated criminal offenses, such as money laundering, embezzlement and misappropriation.
Fraud is a theft crime characterized by the use of intentional deception for the purpose of financial or personal gain. There are many different types of fraud that can be prosecuted under federal law, including embezzlement, immigration fraud, bankruptcy fraud and mortgage fraud.
Embezzlement is a type of theft committed by a person entrusted with the care or control of another person’s money or property. A person who commits embezzlement steals the money or property he or she was entrusted to manage or monitor for his or her own personal gain, with the intention of depriving the owner of his or her right to the money or property. This white-collar crime is common among business executives or government professionals who embezzle money from their employer or from clients.
Most states have laws penalizing crimes carried out through the use of the internet, but internet crimes are more frequently prosecuted at the federal level, due to the fact that the internet can be used to disseminate information across state lines. Generally speaking, any time a crime crosses state lines, it can be charged as a federal offense.
Sex crimes can result in charges in federal court if the crime involves a minor, crosses state lines or otherwise violates federal law. Sex crimes like sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation are almost always prosecuted at the federal level, and the punishment for these crimes can be severe and life-changing, possibly including years in prison and mandatory sex offender registration.
If you are accused of a violent crime, you could potentially face charges in state or federal court, but there are certain violent crimes that almost always constitute a federal offense, including mass killings, serial killings and violent crimes against children. You could also face charges in federal court for a violent crime that crosses state lines, such as kidnapping, or for a violent crime committed on federal property.
Both murder and manslaughter fall under the category of homicide, which is any killing of a human being by another human being. Murder, however, is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought, while manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice.
Many different types of weapons offenses can be prosecuted at the federal level, including firearms trafficking, violent crimes involving the use of a firearm and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), the term “prohibited person” includes convicted felons, unlawful drug users or drug addicts, fugitives from justice and individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes, among other prohibited persons.
There are many federal criminal offenses that are closely tied to one another and often end up being charged concurrently. For instance, if you are accused of committing mortgage fraud and the government launches an investigation into the mortgage fraud accusations, you could end up facing charges for mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and other white-collar crimes or fraud offenses. These crimes are charged and penalized separately under federal law.
At Federal Criminal Defense Pro, our first priority is to try to get your criminal charges dismissed altogether, which may be possible if there is a lack of evidence, your rights were violated or there was a lack of probable cause for arrest. If the charges cannot be dismissed, we will attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to reduce your charges or secure a more lenient sentence, or, if it is in your best interests, we will take your case to trial and fight for your rights in court. Unlike many criminal defense firms, we do not shy away from trying cases in federal court.
The decision to accept or reject a plea bargain is an important one and any time you are faced with a potential plea bargain in a federal criminal case, it is imperative that you understand the consequences of the agreement and feel confident that your attorney is acting with your best interests in mind. Some negligent criminal defense attorneys encourage defendants to accept a plea agreement simply to avoid a long, drawn-out trial, but our lawyers believe in helping a defendant reach a strategic decision based on the strength of his or her specific case.
Our federal criminal defense attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of the criminally accused and that means doing everything in our power to help you avoid a conviction. When you retain our services, we will investigate every detail of your case and advise you on the best course of action for moving forward. To the best of our ability, we will develop a credible and compelling defense that improves your chances of beating the charges and clearing your name.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your trial or if you pleaded guilty in federal court, you can file a Notice of Appeal within 14 days of the judgment and appeal your case to the U.S. Court of Appeals. If you lose your appeal, you can challenge your case in the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court typically only hears cases that have the potential to affect other defendants throughout the criminal justice system. Keep in mind that if you waived your right to appeal as part of a plea agreement, you won’t be able to appeal your case.
If you have been convicted of a crime in federal court and you decide to appeal the conviction, be prepared to wait anywhere from a few months to several years for the appeals court to deliver a decision in your case. This time frame can be affected by a number of factors, including the circumstances of your case and the volume of cases the court has to process.
If you are accused of committing a federal offense, you need to do everything in your power to set yourself up for success from the very beginning, and that includes hiring a trial-tested criminal defense attorney. Only with a knowledgeable lawyer at your back can you ensure that your rights are protected and your best interests are represented.
It is your right to represent yourself in your criminal case if you so choose. However, the more serious the charge, the more necessary it becomes to seek professional legal guidance. Generally speaking, in any case where the potential punishment includes imprisonment, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney.
If you are facing federal criminal charges, you need an experienced federal criminal defense attorney representing your case. Not all attorneys defend federal charges or are licensed to practice in federal court. At Federal Criminal Defense Pro, our federal defense lawyers are well-versed in federal criminal law and have a clear understanding of the federal sentencing guidelines and the federal court process, which is different than the state court process. We are licensed to practice in U.S. District Courts in California and throughout the United States.
There are many different attorneys out there who can represent defendants in federal criminal cases. The main factor to consider when choosing a federal criminal defense attorney is experience. The federal criminal justice system is complicated, as is the federal court process, and you don’t want to leave the success of your case in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. Ask for recommendations from friends or family members and research several different law firms before making your choice. Look for a firm with proven experience handling cases like yours and a good record of success winning criminal cases in federal court.
Federal Criminal Defense Pro is based in Los Angeles, California and our defense attorneys can represent defendants in the federal court system in all 50 states.
When it comes to federal criminal charges, the sooner you hire an attorney the better. Even if you haven’t been formally charged with a crime, hiring an attorney early on can improve the outcome of your case. The longer you wait, the more time the government has to investigate you and strengthen its case against you. When you take immediate steps to retain experienced legal counsel, you are improving your chances of putting forth the strongest possible defense.
Although we always recommend hiring an attorney early on in the criminal process, it is never too late to seek legal representation. Even if you have already been charged with a crime, or you are about to face trial or sentencing, putting your case in the hands of a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can significantly improve your outcome.
Our firm offers free initial consultations to prospective clients, which means you can have our legal team evaluate your case at no cost to you. We want you to prevail in your criminal case and you can benefit from our experience and legal advice.
The potential defenses your attorney may be able to use to fight your criminal charges vary depending on the specific facts of the criminal case. That being said, there are some general defense strategies that can apply to a great number of cases, including the following:
- Illegal search – The evidence against you was obtained as a result of an illegal search by the authorities
- Entrapment – You were compelled by a law enforcement agent to commit a crime that you would not have otherwise committed
- Elements of crime not present – The prosecution’s evidence lacks the elements necessary to prove its case
- Mistaken identity – You have been mistakenly identified as the perpetrator of a crime
- False accusation – You have been falsely accused by the alleged victim of a crime
- Duress – You were coerced to commit a crime under threatened or actual use of physical force
Just like the potential defense strategies available to you in your case, the penalties associated with a criminal conviction depend on the specific facts of your case. For instance, if you are convicted of bankruptcy fraud in federal court, you could face up to five years in prison, but for a federal murder conviction, you could be sentenced to years in prison, a life sentence or possibly even the death penalty.
In a criminal case, restitution is recompense for any injury or loss sustained by a victim or victims as a result of the defendant’s actions. For instance, if you are convicted of a white-collar crime like mortgage fraud, part of your punishment may include compensating the victim for his or her losses resulting from the fraud.
Congress eliminated parole for defendants convicted of federal crimes when it passed the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, which means you won’t be able to get out early on parole. However, you may still be eligible for early release based on good behavior. Under 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b), federal prisoners serving a term of imprisonment of more than one year and less than life can earn up to 54 days per year off their prison sentence.
When you retain our services at Federal Criminal Defense Pro, our lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation of your case, interview any witnesses, deal with the federal authorities on your behalf, negotiate with the prosecution and ensure that you understand your rights and options under the law. Regardless of how serious the charges against you may be, we will aggressively fight for your rights and best interests throughout your entire case, from beginning to end.
Being accused of any crime can be a frightening and stressful experience, but facing criminal charges in federal court can be especially intimidating, especially for defendants with little to no experience with the criminal justice system. Having a reputable defense attorney on your side can not only make this experience less traumatic for you and your loved ones, it can mean the difference between beating the charges and clearing your name and spending years in prison.