You definitely want to get somebody who is familiar with handling federal criminal defense cases versus state criminal cases because the federal system is different than the state system. There is a variety of differences between state and federal cases.
For example, just the setting of bail is completely different. People come into federal cases thinking that they're going to use the bail bondsman and just post the bail and get out, but it doesn't work that way. They can end up being detained and not being able to get out. It's a different charging document and there are different rules for federal.
Federal is much more procedural and if your attorney does not know the federal criminal defense system then you're going to be at a huge disadvantage. You'll probably suffer the consequences in whatever punishment you end up getting in your federal case.
Can Any Defense Attorney Practice In Federal Court?
As far as whether a federal criminal defense attorney can practice in any particular federal court, they are going to have to be admitted into that jurisdiction. You can't just go in and just start practicing.
You've got to be admitted in that jurisdiction and you have to meet certain requirements in order to practice federal criminal defense. For example, in Los Angeles, it's the central district, so I've been admitted in the central district for many years now.
I had to submit a certificate from the State Bar of California showing that I am in good standing and then a number of other things had to be done in order for me to be admitted into the central district in Los Angeles.
As far as me practicing in other districts, each of the districts has their own rules that you have to follow in order to be admitted in that jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions, for example, require that if you're an out-of-state lawyer coming into that jurisdiction then you need to get local counsel and the local counsel and you prepare the necessary paperwork.
What Are Some Of My Important Rights In Federal Court?
Obviously, you have the right to an attorney of your choosing. If you can't afford an attorney, then the federal government will appoint an attorney for you, either a federal public defender or somebody who's on the panel of attorneys that are approved by the court.
You have the right, obviously, to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. You have a right to a jury trial in most of the cases where 12 members of the community decide your fate. You have a right to be released if you can meet certain requirements. They are usually basically looking at your danger to the community in evaluating whether you should be released and whether you're a flight risk.
Depending on what type of a case you're charged with will also dictate whether you have additional rights. Your best source in assessing what rights you have, which ones you should utilize, is your federal criminal defense attorney. After they've read everything, they know your case and they talk to you about it then they're going to be able to lay out what your rights are, what rights are applicable to your circumstances and which ones that you should vehemently insist upon.
What Happens If I Am Charged With A Federal Drug Offense?
Drug offenses are probably some of the more frequently prosecuted crimes in federal court. Back in the 1980s when Reagan was president, there were a lot of very serious drug laws passed by the legislature obviously backed up by the presidential branch.
In many cases, they required many mandatory minimums for certain drug offenses where people are looking at 5, 10, 15, 20 years minimum in federal prison serving 85% if they are convicted of certain federal drug charges. Federal drug charges are extremely serious cases.
They should be dealt with by only the most seasoned federal criminal defense attorney who knows how to negotiate resolutions that do not require mandatory minimums and also knows how to fight these cases, whether it is challenging a wiretap, challenging stops, challenging searches and the whole host of things that can be done in order to defend you.
Obviously, you have to have the experience and go down the road that you're about to go down and know what to do and when to do it. Not every case is the same. It's not a cookie-cutter defense when it comes to federal defense. The defenses are going to be dictated by the facts of the case and obviously, your version of events and then your attorney's skill and experience in knowing what works and what doesn't work.
For more information on Need For A Federal Defense Attorney, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.