Dealing with the criminal justice system can be overwhelming. Whether you are the target of an investigation, have been criminally charged with a misdemeanor or felony, or are concerned you may be charged, you must ensure you are being both proactive and aggressive in your defense. We understand how the criminal justice system works and apply extensive experience to all cases, aiming to have charges dismissed or sentences reduced to the greatest possible extent. We have represented clients in a range of matters, including:
White Collar Crimes and Investigations;
Driving Under the Influence (DUI);
At the initial appearance, generally a Magistrate Judge will inform the defendant of his or her constitutional rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to counsel. The Magistrate Judge will then inform the defendant of the charges against him or her and the statutory maximum sentence. The Magistrate Judge then often turns to the issue of bail – whether or not the defendant will be released (with or without conditions) pending trial.
If the government wants a defendant detained pending trial, the prosecutor will file a motion or move for detention at the initial appearance. Bail in Federal Court is governed by the Bail Reform Act. See 18 U.S.C. § 3141 et seq.
Once the Defendant has entered a plea of not guilty, the Court typically holds a Preliminary Hearing although these hearings do not occur in a majority of cases. If a Preliminary Hearing is to be held, a defense attorney should not waive it (absent good reason), as it is a vital discovery tool early in your case.
This is the process during which the Federal Government and the Defendant’s attorney will exchange information relating to the case.
There are a variety of motions that can be filed pre-trial, including motions to dismiss the charges, motions to suppress evidence illegally obtained, motions for a bill of particulars, and motions in limine (asking the court to keep certain evidence out of the trial). We discuss in more detail the different types of Pre-Trial Motions in our Criminal Defense Blog.
In the majority of federal cases, the defendant pleads guilty and does not go to trial. When a defendant pleads guilty, it is generally done so in agreement with the prosecutor (i.e. a written plea offer with the terms of the plea).
Albeit not many, some cases ultimately go to trial. Depending on the severity and extent of the charges, a trial can last anywhere from a few days to even a few weeks. Ultimately, the duration of the trial is heavily contingent on the complexity of the case.