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What Happens At A Federal Criminal Trial?



A federal criminal trial is very similar to a state criminal trial. The prosecutor has the burden of proof, so they are the ones who are going to have to put on the case in front of a jury. A group of potential jurors will be brought in and the defense attorneys and the judge will ask the prospective jurors questions to gather whether or not they are fair and impartial. Ultimately, there will be a jury of 12 jurors and there are usually a certain amount of alternates. The jurors will be sworn in and the prosecution will start with their opening statement. The defense will then give an opening statement. The prosecution, because they have the burden of proof, will then present evidence.

The defense attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine each witness that the prosecutor brings. After the Federal Criminal Trialprosecutor’s case is done and they rest, the defense has the option to call any witnesses they want. Then, the prosecutor can cross-examine them or the defense can rest. The defendant can testify if he or she thinks it is in their best interest to do so after they consult with their attorney.

In the end, the parties will go over the jury instructions, the judge will give the jury instructions to the jury, and each side will give a closing argument. Again, the prosecutor will go first, because they have the burden of proof.

What Are Possible Post-Trial Motions In A Federal Case?

There are a number of different post-trial motions in federal criminal cases. If someone is found guilty, one of the first motions that might be considered is a motion for a new trial. In order to file that, you are going to have to have some sort of grounds, such as newly discovered evidence or jury tampering. Always, the defense attorney can file a notice of appeal after the judge sentences the defendant, and then an appellate lawyer could be appointed.

How Long After A Federal Conviction Will I Be Sentenced?

The length of time it takes to be sentenced depends on the particular judge’s schedule. If someone is convicted of a crime in front of a jury, that might dictate how quickly the judge is able to do the sentencing. Many judges have a lot of cases, so typically it is going to be a number of months before someone is actually sentenced in a federal criminal case.

If An Interstate Drug Stop Goes Federal, Will Everyone Involved Be Facing A Sentence Of 10 Years To Life In Prison?

If federal agents stop someone for drugs, the charge they face depends on their culpability. If the person is just present and did not have anything to do with the movement of the drugs, then that person should be let go. If they can prove that a particular person is involved in a drug transaction, then they will probably arrest that person and prosecute them. As far as them looking at a certain amount of time in custody, that is going to depend on the amount of drugs, the type of drugs, and their criminal record. Some drugs carry a five years mandatory minimum, other drugs carry a 10 years mandatory minimum. The mandatory minimum can double if the person has one or more prior convictions for possession or sale of drugs.

For more information on Federal Criminal Trial Process, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 374-3952 today.

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

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