There is no getting around the fact that criminal charges and proceedings in the federal court system are vastly different than their counterparts in the state court system. If you have been charged with a federal crime, it is important that you understand these differences so that you know how best to proceed.
Knoxville criminal defense lawyer John Barnes of Barnes Law regularly represents individuals who are facing federal charges or are in the midst of federal court proceedings. Attorney Barnes can make sure that you understand exactly what you are being charged with, as well as all of the available legal options for moving forward with your case.
If you have been charged with a federal crime, please call us today at 865-805-5703, or contact us online about your pending criminal charge.
One reason why you need an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer to assist you with your case is that prosecutors at the federal and state levels are very different. Federal prosecutors tend to have fewer cases than state prosecutors, who are often overburdened. For this reason, at the federal level, prosecutors may be less likely to accept plea bargain agreements particularly favorable to the defendant and are typically better prepared to prosecute cases.
Another reason why you want an experienced federal defense attorney representing you in your case is that judges on the federal level use different procedures and court rules than state court judges
As a result, it’s in your best interest to retain an attorney who has experienced appearing in federal criminal court.
When it comes to federal crimes, you want an experienced defense lawyer on your side who is used to taking federal cases to trial before a federal jury. Generally speaking, federal court cases and trials are very different from those at the state level. At the state level, a judge might dismiss a particular case if the prosecutor, for whatever reason, is not fully prepared to proceed forward with the case.
These types of dismissal scenarios rarely occur in criminal court at the federal level. In federal court, it is almost guaranteed that the trial will go forward on the appointed date and time – and that the prosecutor will have all of the necessary witnesses present and ready to go on the day of trial.
Setting Bail is Different in Federal Court
The types and conditions of bail set in federal court cases are extremely different from those set in state court cases. Consequently, you need to have an experienced federal defense lawyer present with you at any bail hearings in your case.
Like state court, federal court bails can include a monetary amount. However, at the federal level, a judge is more likely to set certain conditions on the defendant’s release. Those conditions might include regularly checking in with a pretrial officer while the defendant is pending trial, submitting to a review of financial information (especially where the criminal charge is a white collar crime), or obtaining mental health treatment or testing.
Different Jury Pool
If your federal criminal case is going to trial, it is vital to have an experienced defense lawyer who is familiar with federal jury trials. Defendants have a constitutional right to have their trial decided by a jury of their peers. Consequently, at the state level, the jury is selected from a cross-section of the community – or the county where the case is tried.
However, in the federal system, a jury is selected from across the judicial division – or district – in which that particular court is located. Jurors at the federal level also tend to be more diverse demographically than individuals who sit on a jury at the state level.
Federal Sentencing is Different from State Sentencing
If a jury convicts you of the federal crime with which you have been charged, a judge can determine the sentence in your case. Unlike state courts, where the maximum penalties for a criminal offense are based upon state statutory maximums, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines govern criminal sentencing at the federal court level.
When it comes to federal sentencing hearings, it is in your best interest to retain an attorney with experience appearing in federal court and advocating for the lowest sentence that is possible under the circumstances of your particular charge.
Contact a Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney about Your Federal Charge Today
As a person who stands accused of a federal crime, it’s crucial to understand that there are many differences between a federal court and state court, from bail review hearings to trial and other in-court proceedings. Consequently, if you find yourself facing criminal charges in federal court, it is not a good idea to represent yourself throughout the proceedings. Instead, you want a lawyer who is familiar with defending people in federal court and appearing before federal judges and juries. Criminal defense lawyer John Barnes at Barnes Law has just that experience. Attorney Barnes can explain to you precisely what you have been charged with and can represent you at the various federal court proceedings – including trial.
Time is of the essence in federal criminal cases, and you should not wait around to seek legal representation in your case. To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a Knoxville criminal defense attorney about your pending federal charge, please call us today at 865-805-5703, or contact us online.