When federal charges cast a shadow over your life, knowing what to do next is paramount. Each decision you make can significantly influence the outcome of your case. This guide provides clear directions on immediate actions to take and strategies to fortify your defense. Read on to empower yourself with knowledge on what to do if you’re facing federal charges.

Key Takeaways

  • Federal crimes, which are prosecuted by U.S. Attorneys and typically involve federal law enforcement agencies, include serious offenses such as drug charges, fraud, and conspiracy, with severe consequences including long prison sentences and significant fines.
  • Upon facing federal charges, immediate actions include hiring an experienced federal criminal defense attorney, maintaining silence to avoid self-incrimination, and gathering all relevant documents to support your case.
  • Building a strong defense strategy involves analyzing and potentially challenging the admissibility of evidence presented by the prosecution, identifying robust defense arguments, and understanding the complexities of the federal court process including pretrial, trial, and appeals.\
lady justice statue for federal charges

Understanding Federal Charges

When the specter of federal charges looms, it’s not just the local authorities you’re contending with. Federal crimes are offenses that trample on the laws laid down by the U.S. Congress, involving federal agencies like the FBI or DEA, and may include acts that cross state lines or even international borders. These federal statutes are not your garden-variety misdemeanors; they are serious allegations that the federal government, represented by seasoned U.S. Attorneys, prosecutes with vigor.

Whether it’s a complex financial scheme or a drug trafficking operation, federal criminal charges bring the full force of federal law crashing down upon the accused.

Types of Federal Crimes

A federal crime can wear many faces. From white-collar shenanigans like insider trading to the visceral violence of armed robbery, the catalog of federal offenses is extensive. More common prosecutions in federal courts include drug offenses, various types of fraud, and conspiracy. These aren’t just any criminal trials; they’re federal criminal cases that demand a defense attorney with a particular set of skills, one well-versed in the intricacies of federal criminal law. In a federal criminal case, the stakes are high and the consequences are far-reaching. A federal criminal investigation can lead to such cases, making it crucial to have a knowledgeable attorney at Levitt Legal by your side.

Consequences of Federal Convictions

The gavel of a federal judge can crush futures with sentences that are often more severe than those at the state level. The immediate repercussions of a serious federal criminal offense or conviction include:

  • Fines that could dwarf mountains
  • Prison sentences that stretch for decades
  • Forfeiture of property
  • Loss of civil liberties like voting rights

These are not brief detours in life; a federal conviction carves a permanent mark on one’s record, erecting barriers to employment and casting long shadows over reputations.

Immediate Actions to Take When Facing Federal Charges

Upon the stark realization that you’re facing federal charges, time is of the essence. Your first and most critical move? Securing a federal criminal defense lawyer or attorney who’s navigated the treacherous waters of federal criminal cases before. This isn’t a ‘wait-and-see’ situation; it’s a ‘move-now-or-risk-everything’ scenario.

Consult with your legal counsel before uttering a word to anyone about your case, especially on social media. Silence isn’t just golden; it’s your armor against inadvertently damaging your defense.

Retaining an Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

There’s a yawning chasm between any attorney and one who’s a veteran of the federal legal system. The latter brings to the table:

  • A deep understanding of federal criminal law
  • A strategic mind honed by experience
  • The ability to translate legal jargon
  • Expertise in navigating federal court processes
  • Unwavering advocacy when facing federal prosecutors

These qualities make a veteran federal attorney an invaluable asset in your legal matters.

With a seasoned defense attorney, you’re not just a defendant; you’re a defense lawyer fortified against procedural missteps and poised to navigate the challenges ahead.

Gathering Relevant Documents and Information

Your defense is only as strong as the evidence that supports it. That’s why gathering every piece of relevant information—be it financial records, emails, or any other documents—isn’t just a step; it’s a leap toward crafting a defense that can withstand the prosecution’s onslaught.

Avoiding Self-Incrimination

In the world of federal charges, your words can become unexpected traitors. Exercising your right to remain silent on federal offense is not just a right; it’s a shield against self-incrimination. This constitutional safeguard, enshrined in the Fifth Amendment, protects you from being a pawn in your downfall.

Remember, you’re under no obligation to be a witness against yourself, and your silence cannot be used as evidence of guilt.

Building a Strong Defense Strategy

Crafting a defense in a federal case is akin to assembling a fortress stone by stone. A persuasive case theory that aligns all evidence and witness testimonies is your stronghold. It’s not just about what you present, but how you present it—creating doubt about the crime’s elements and tearing down the prosecution’s evidence is as much art as it is science.

Analyzing the Evidence

A meticulous dive into the evidence is the bedrock of your defense. It involves dissecting every piece of the prosecution’s puzzle and, where possible, using expert witnesses to challenge its validity. Some key steps in this process include:

  • Examining the chain of custody for each piece of evidence
  • Analyzing the methods used to collect and analyze the evidence
  • Identifying any potential errors or inconsistencies in the evidence
  • Consulting with expert witnesses to provide alternative interpretations or explanations

DNA evidence, untouched by the self-incrimination clause, can be a powerful ally or adversary, depending on its analysis.

The goal is not only to present evidence but to ensure its integrity and fairness in the eyes of grand jury and the court.

Challenging the Admissibility of Evidence

Sometimes, the best a knowledgeable defense attorney has is attacking the prosecution’s evidence head-on. Evidence tainted by unlawful searches or arrests is a house of cards awaiting a defense attorney’s calculated push. Suppressing evidence obtained through police misconduct can turn the tide of a trial.

The defense’s challenge is to scrutinize each piece of evidence, looking for cracks in its armor—be it hearsay, irrelevance, or potential prejudice.

Identifying Potential Defense Arguments

The arsenal of a defense strategy is stocked with various potential arguments. Whether it’s an alibi that places you miles away from the scene or asserting your actions were in self-defense, each plays a pivotal role in dismantling the prosecution’s narrative. Mental health defenses, constitutional protections, and even the possibility of entrapment are all cards that, when played right, can change the game.

Navigating the Federal Court System

Understanding the federal court system is a journey through a complex landscape of procedures and legal nuances. It’s a system where evidence is king, and its preservation is paramount to a fair trial. Walking through the federal court process without tripping over its myriad rules requires a seasoned guide—your defense attorney.

Pretrial Proceedings

The pretrial period is the calm before the storm, where strategies are forged and battle lines drawn. It’s a time for discovery, motions to suppress, and setting the stage for what’s to come. Each step, from the pretrial conference to motions in limine, is an opportunity to strengthen your position before the trial commences.

Trial Process

The trial is the arena where your defense is put to the test. It’s a choreographed dance of:

  • Jury selection, where the seeds of reasonable doubt are sown
  • Opening statements
  • Witness examinations
  • Objections

It’s a process where every word and gesture can tip the scales of justice.

Sentencing and Appeals

Sentencing in federal cases follows a structured set of guidelines that weigh the nature of the crime and the defendant’s past actions. But the story doesn’t end there; the appeals process provides a path for challenging trial outcomes, a chance to argue for justice once more.

The Role of Plea Bargaining in Federal Cases

Plea bargaining is a strategic pivot in the federal criminal justice system, a game of give-and-take that can lead to significantly different outcomes. It’s a process fraught with complex decision-making, where the stakes are as high as the potential rewards.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

To plea or not to plea, that is the question. Plea bargains offer a certainty of a favorable outcome, a chance to sidestep the unpredictable nature of a trial. However, it’s a decision that carries weighty implications and requires careful deliberation.

Negotiating a Favorable Plea Agreement

Negotiating a plea deal is not just about accepting a deal; it’s about crafting one that serves your best interests. It requires a defense attorney who can navigate the intricacies of prosecutorial strategies and negotiate terms that can significantly impact sentencing.


In the maelstrom of federal charges, knowledge is your anchor and strategy your compass. From understanding the charges to mastering the court processes and negotiating plea deals, each step of the federal criminal process is part of a journey toward the best possible outcome. Remember, when facing the goliath of the federal criminal justice system, the sling in your hand is the counsel of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney at Levitt Legal. Contact us today to find out how we can defend you from federal charges!

Frequently Asked Questions

What not to do if you are under federal investigation?

If you are under federal investigation, it’s crucial to immediately seek legal representation and avoid discussing the investigation with anyone without consulting an experienced attorney. Remember to prioritize these steps to protect yourself during this process.

Do federal charges ever get dropped?

Yes, facing federal criminal charges, charges can be dropped and dismissed, but this decision is subject to approval by a judge for various reasons.

What are the chances of winning a federal case?

The chances of winning a federal case and receiving a “not guilty” verdict at trial are statistically low, with federal prosecutors currently boasting a 95% conviction rate, primarily because most cases do not go to trial.

Is it possible to beat a federal case?

Yes, with the right attorney handling your federal criminal defense attorneys, you can significantly improve your chances of beating a federal criminal charge. Finding the right legal representation is crucial in such cases.

What is considered a federal crime?

A federal crime is an offense that violates U.S. federal or state laws together, typically involving federal agencies and crossing state lines or international borders. It encompasses a wide range of activities, such as drug trafficking, immigration violations, and financial fraud.