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How Do Federal Criminal Case Work? Key Differences Between The State And Federal Criminal Justice Systems

Okabe & Haushalter Nov 30, 2018 Federal Crimes

As you may know, there are quite a few differences between the state and federal criminal processes. If you have been caught up in the federal criminal justice system, you are most likely wondering about what happens in a federal criminal case.

Luckily for you, we have a Los Angeles federal crime attorney from Okabe &Haushalter to explain the basics of what to expect from your federal criminal case.

First and foremost, there are three stages in every federal crime case: pretrial, trial or plea, and sentencing.

  1. During the first stage – pretrial – a person, who is being charged with a crime, can be thrown into jail or released on certain conditions (depending on the crime). During the first stage, the Assistant United States Attorney must provide credible evidence about the case, while the defendant’s federal crime lawyer in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California will have to file pretrial motions about why the charges should be dropped or dismissed or why certain evidence should be suppressed or thrown out from the case.
  2. During the second stage – trial or plea – the person accused of a federal crime has a chance to plead guilty, though it is never advised to enter a guilty plea without consulting with a criminal defense lawyer. After the defendant pleads guilty, his or her federal crime case goes to sentencing. In some cases, defendants in federal crime cases withdraw the plea before sentencing. If the defendant refuses to accept a guilty plea, his or her case goes to trial. Then the jury can determine whether the defendant is guilty of the federal crime or not. If not, the prosecutor closes the federal criminal case. If the person is guilty, on the other hand, the criminal case proceeds to sentence. If you are being represented by a skilled criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, your lawyer could talk the prosecutor into dismissing the case altogether.
  3. During the third, and final, stage in a federal criminal case, the judge will impose a sentence after taking all of the relevant factors into consideration. Although there are federal sentencing guidelines that must be followed by the judge when imposing a sentence in a federal criminal case, judges are no strangers to imposing whatever sentence they see fit. Given this volatility and unpredictability in federal criminal cases, it is highly advised to be represented by a Los Angeles federal crime attorney. Also, by hiring a criminal defense lawyer, you are more likely to convince the judge to impose the lowest sentence possible.

There are many other things that you need to know about the federal criminal justice system. If you are wondering about how federal criminal cases work, you will be pleased to learn the following facts about the federal criminal justice system:

  • As you probably know, state criminal cases are brought by prosecutors or district attorneys, while federal cases are brought by United State Attorneys.
  • Generally, federal magistrate judges have no say in deciding federal crime cases, though they can be used to hear initial matters and pretrial motions.
  • Unless the person accused of a federal crime waives the grand jury indictment, the use of grand juries to charge defendants is required by the federal criminal justice system.
  • Some state and federal laws conflict when it comes to imposing punishment for committing certain crimes. However, a defendant can be charged and convicted under both the state and federal criminal justice systems.

It is recommended that you schedule a free consultation with one of the best federal criminal defense attorneys in California here at Okabe & Haushalter. Call our offices at 310-430-7799 for a free case evaluation.