Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Reasons Why You Need An Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer For A Federal Criminal Case

There are so many kinds of lawyers "out there!" For example, there are divorce lawyers, real estate lawyers, personal injury attorneys, and bankruptcy lawyers, just to name a few. But did you know that there are also different kinds of criminal lawyers, based upon the types of criminal cases which they are experienced in handling?

So, what should you do if you are a target of a federal grand jury investigation? In other words, what kind of criminal lawyer do you need if you face potential federal criminal charges?

In my opinion, any person facing the possibility of a federal criminal indictment should try to find an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer, and not just any criminal defense attorney will do. Naturally, I will admit I am biased, because I am a former federal prosecutor who has over twenty years of experience in trying all types of criminal cases in federal court. But please also consider the following reasons why, in my opinion, you should look only for an experienced federal criminal lawyer to help you in this situation.

First of all, the federal court procedural rules are different. Most criminal lawyers, (even some outstanding advocates I know), who practice only in the state courts, essentially have no clue about the pretrial rules which apply in federal court. In federal court, the government must comply, for example, with the federal Speedy Trial Act and the Jencks Act. Also, many state criminal lawyers do not know the difference between a "Rule 11" and "Rule 16!"

In addition, an experienced federal criminal lawyer will more likely know the federal agents and prosecutors and how to plea bargain in federal court. Trust me, folks, things are different when you deal with the feds!

Also, jury selection rules and trial procedural rules are often different from the procedures followed by the state courts. While it is not always the case, sometimes federal criminal cases are also a lot more complex than state cases. As a result, federal criminal cases may also require a more sophisticated understanding of the federal charges and what the government must prove at trial. The difference between the two court systems is like the difference between playing checkers and chess!

Finally, sentencing in federal court is vastly different from sentencing in state court. In federal court, a criminal lawyer must be familiar with the infamous federal sentencing guidelines. These guidelines can be very complicated! At times, sentencing in a federal criminal case can resemble a "mini-trial."

So, have I convinced you to look for an experienced federal criminal defense attorney in your area for your federal criminal case?

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