The criminal justice system can be difficult to navigate, especially for those who are unfamiliar with it. While many of us have a basic understanding of how a criminal case is processed, there are several nuances and unexpected steps that may cause confusion or uncertainty. For instance, if you are charged with a federal crime, what does this mean, exactly? Is there a major difference between how state crimes and federal crimes are handled? It’s worth taking some time to explore what federal crimes are, how they are handled, and how to prepare yourself for what’s ahead, should you find yourself facing such charges.
Types of Federal Crimes
While each state has its own court system for processing criminal offenses at the state level, there are also federal courts that handle matters in which a federal law has been violated. Generally, criminal acts that take place across multiple states, such as kidnapping or carjacking, are considered federal crimes. Many types of fraud, such as computer crimes, identity theft, and mail fraud, are also handled through the federal court. Sometimes, a criminal matter may be processed at the state or federal level, so federal and state prosecutors must decide which system will oversee the case.
The Steps Involved in Prosecuting a Federal Case
The first step in any federal case is obtaining an arrest warrant and taking the accused individual into custody. After the arrest is made, it’s highly advised that the person contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to start preparing an effective legal strategy. Next, there will be a preliminary hearing, and if there is still probable cause to continue with the case, it will move to a Grand Jury for the final decision as to whether the case should proceed. If the Grand Jury agrees that the case should continue, it will issue an indictment and the accused is compelled to attend an arraignment. The defendant can seek a Plea Agreement or the case can proceed to trial. At the conclusion of the trial, a verdict is reached; if there is a finding of guilt, the defendant will then be sentenced. After this phase is complete, the defendant may request an appeal.
Protecting Your Future
There are many steps involved in a federal case, and it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed and concerned about your future if you are facing such charges. As soon as you can, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your options, answer your questions, and address your concerns. With an attorney at your side, you can feel supported as you go through this difficult process.
If you have been charged with a federal crime in the New York City area, you need trusted and experienced legal representation right away. Call the Law Office of Adrienne D. Edward, P.C. at (201) 420-8850 to speak to a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney today.