Investigations involving illegal drugs, white collar crimes, and racketeering, for example, can all occur at the state and federal levels. State law is implicated in cases where the accused is charged with violating a state statute which is on the books. On the other hand, federal law is implicated when the underlying criminal offense crosses state lines, such as in cases that involve multi-state drug distribution or racketeering schemes.
In order to file charges against you, the state or federal authorities will undertake some sort of criminal investigation. At the federal level, these investigations are usually very tedious and involved and could involve numerous witnesses. The state or federal prosecutor could then decide to bring charges against you. When that happens, you will likely be arrested, and the criminal process will begin.
Generally speaking, you should retain experienced legal counsel as soon as you possibly can in your criminal case. What you should not do is wait until just before a hearing or trial to request legal assistance, as that will not allow your attorney sufficient time to prepare your case for court. As a rule of thumb, the earlier you retain legal representation in your criminal case, the better off you and your case will be.
When it comes to experienced legal representation, not all criminal defense lawyers are the same. You want a lawyer representing you who regularly defends criminal cases in state and federal court and who has a good rapport with criminal court prosecutors and judges.
Knoxville criminal defense lawyer John Barnes of Barnes Law regularly represents individuals who are charged with committing crimes at both the state and federal levels. He is experienced at negotiating favorable plea deals, successfully taking criminal matters to trial, and obtaining favorable results for his clients in the courtroom. Attorney Barnes can assist you through the investigation phase of your case and represent you at all criminal court proceedings that take place throughout your case.
How a Lawyer Could Assist You Throughout the Investigation Phase of Your Criminal Case
A criminal investigation can be a long and drawn out affair. At the state level, prosecutors may work with police officers and other investigators to find out exactly what occurred during the incident in question. In general, federal investigations are much more thorough than state investigations, and a federal investigation could be underway long before criminal charges are ever brought against the accused. Prior to the charge being brought, prosecutors may collaborate with investigators as well the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), depending upon the nature and extent of the alleged criminal offense. In any case, an experienced state and federal criminal defense attorney could be extremely helpful to you during the investigation phase of your criminal case.
Determining Whether any Defenses May Apply to Your Case
When it comes to both state and federal criminal investigations, there are always two sides to every story, and there are sometimes two entirely different versions of what transpired during the incident in question. A criminal defense lawyer can meet with you to discuss what you remember about the incident and any alibis or potential defenses you might be able to raise later on in your case.
Speaking with Witnesses
Individuals who were present with you at the time of the incident could be extremely helpful to your case. For example, these individuals could corroborate your version of the events that took place, as well as any potential legal defenses, including alibis. After learning the identity of these witnesses, your lawyer could meet with them, interview them, and determine if their in-court testimony might be favorable to your criminal case.
Safeguarding Your Legal Rights throughout the Investigation
Part of safeguarding your legal rights throughout a state or federal criminal investigation means ensuring that none of your rights have been violated during the investigation process. Even after you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, that does not mean that your constitutional rights go away. Specifically, you have a Fourth Amendment constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures and a Fifth Amendment constitutional right against self-incrimination in play during the investigation process.
If your lawyer determines that these or any other rights have been violated during the investigation stage of your case, he or she could raise the appropriate constitutional challenges prior to trial and may be successful in getting certain prosecution evidence excluded from your case. If crucial evidence is excluded by a state or federal judge, your charge – or your entire case – might be subject to dismissal by the court.
Representing you at Criminal Proceedings following the Investigation Phase
Following the investigation phase of your criminal case, you will likely have to attend various legal proceedings in court, including a criminal trial and a sentencing hearing. Prior to trial, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a favorable plea deal with the prosecuting attorney who is handling your criminal matter. If the case is not resolved via plea deal, your lawyer can represent you in court, assert one or more defenses on your behalf, and advocate for your legal interests. If a jury ultimately convicts you of the criminal offense, your attorney could represent you at a sentencing hearing and argue for a lighter sentence or penalty on your behalf.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Knoxville Criminal Defense Lawyer
What happens during the investigation phase of a criminal case can have a significant impact on its outcome. Consequently, you want a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney investigating your case for you and helping you make informed legal decisions about how to proceed forward.
Attorney John Barnes of Barnes Law has many years of experience investigating both state and federal criminal matters. He knows the right questions to ask of witnesses and the best tactics to employ while helping you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
If you are facing state or federal criminal charges, do not delay. You can schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a Knoxville criminal defense lawyer by calling 865-805-5703, or by contacting us online.