What Does it Mean to Face Federal Criminal Charges?

 Posted on July 17,2023 in Criminal Law

TX defense lawyerFacing federal criminal charges can be a very overwhelming and intimidating experience for anyone involved in the legal system. These charges differ significantly from state-level or local offenses due to the jurisdiction and the severity of the consequences involved. Today, we will explore what it actually means to face federal criminal charges – from the initial investigation to potential outcomes – providing you with a comprehensive overview. For legal assistance in this very serious matter, contact a criminal defense attorney to protect yourself legally against the very serious charges you now face.

Understanding Federal Law Jurisdiction

The first crucial aspect to understand is that federal crimes are those that violate U.S. federal laws. They cover a wide range of offenses, such as drug trafficking, immigration violations, white-collar crimes, organized crime, terrorism, and more. The engaging factor in these cases is that federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), often handle federal investigations and are the ones who ultimately bring charges.

Federal Investigations

Before federal charges can be filed, a thorough investigation by federal law enforcement agencies usually takes place. This can involve collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, conducting surveillance, and applying other investigatory techniques. Federal investigations often span months or even years due to their complexity and the many moving parts in play.

Grand Jury Indictment

If the investigation yields sufficient evidence, the prosecution presents the case to a grand jury. The grand jury, consisting of citizens, evaluates the evidence and determines whether there is enough probable cause to issue an indictment. This step ensures that charges are not brought forth arbitrarily and that there is significant evidence supporting the accusations.

Criminal Complaint or Arrest

Once the indictment is issued, the accused individual may be arrested or, alternatively, receive a criminal complaint or summons to appear in court. The purpose of arrest or the complaint is to formally notify the accused of the charges and initiate legal proceedings.

Legal Process and Trials

Federal criminal cases often involve a more formal and elaborate legal process compared to state-level or local cases. The trial takes place in federal courts with judges appointed for life, and cases are heard by juries. The prosecution presents its evidence, and the defense has an opportunity to challenge and refute it. The burden of proof lies on the prosecution, who must demonstrate guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sentencing and Consequences

If the accused individual is found guilty, the judge determines an appropriate sentence based on the federal sentencing guidelines, which consider factors like the nature of the offense, criminal history, and mitigating circumstances. Federal sentences tend to be more severe compared to state-level cases, as federal crimes often involve broader implications and affect a wide range of people.

Contact a San Antonio, Texas Federal Crimes Attorney

If you are facing federal criminal charges, you need to retain legal counsel to give yourself a chance at pursuing a favorable case outcome. Contact the experienced San Antonio federal crimes lawyer with Law Offices of Sam H. Lock. Call 210-226-0965 for a


Source - https://www.justice.gov/usao/justice-101/steps-federal-criminal-process

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