CHOOSE A TOP FEDERAL CRIMINAL LAWYER
EXPERIENCED & EFFECTIVE
FEDERAL CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
What Type of Cases are Heard in Federal Court?
The list of potential criminal charges is long (and it’s best to speak with a lawyer) and includes any crimes that occur on or against federal property or agents but some of the most common are:
- Drug Trafficking
- Bank Robbery
- Child Pornography
- Mail, Securities, Internet Fraud
- Counterfeiting or Forgery
- Money Laundering
- Tax Violations
- Capital Murder
What is a Federal Criminal Offense?
Federal crimes aren’t your average, everyday crimes under the law. Many are white collar offenses like fraud and embezzlement. However, federal criminal offenses also include certain kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, and drug cases that reach federal level because of their seriousness, involvement with government agencies, or crossing state or international boundaries.
You are likely familiar with smaller, but still potentially damaging State cases such as felonies and misdemeanors.
Federal crimes are often the big cases that make the news, like the investigation and arrest of the Beltway Snipers or Al Capone’s tax evasion. Watergate, perhaps the most infamous political scandal, would have resulted in the federal criminal prosecution of President Nixon, had he not resigned first.
Federal Criminal Lawyers Help Even Before You Are Charged with a Crime
Often, federal investigations are underway long before someone shows up at your door with a warrant, issued by a court of law. This could begin with someone at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. and then referred out to local agents.
Before you find out about an investigation, authorities may already have gathered a great deal of information on you through interviews with associates, reviews of bank and other records, or even physical or electronic surveillance.
How Do You Know if You are Under Federal Investigation?
Personal contact. You may receive a call from a federal investigative agency requesting you to come in for an interview, or a pair of agents may show up at your home or business, asking to speak with you. You are not required to speak with them under the law. Don’t speak to them, contact a lawyer as soon as possible!
In some situations, they may have a search warrant entitling them to search your home, business, or any other place you may have stored potential evidence, such as a storage unit or a safety deposit box. The search warrant describes what locations will be searched and what they are looking for.
While you must comply with a search warrant, under the law you are not required to speak with investigators. Be aware that any conversations you have with the agents will be recorded. Denials or lies to the investigators may result in an obstruction charge later. Thus, it is often the best course to decline an interview and refuse to answer questions until you have a federal criminal defense attorney present.
Target Letter. You may receive a “target letter.” This is a formal, written notice that you have been implicated in a federal crime and need to come in for an interview with the case agent and U.S. attorney handling the case. The U.S. attorney will have a local law office in your state, not in Washington D.C.. Contact a lawyer immediately if you receive this!
If you are interested in becoming a cooperating witness, or you simply want to meet with investigators to find out what’s going on, your federal criminal lawyer will arrange a date and time to accompany you to for your proffer.
Subpoena. There are two types of federal subpoenas. Either type may be issued by a judge, a U.S. lawyer, or a Grand Jury.
- Ad testificandum subpoena requires you to testify in a court of law.
- Duces tecum subpoena requires you to produce documents, such as business records.
Failure to comply with a subpoena can have serious consequences, so it’s imperative to contact a federal criminal lawyer immediately.
The federal criminal code is the main criminal code of the United States federal government in Washington, D.C.. Federal criminal code is covered in Title 18 of the United States Code. The federal criminal code is different than state criminal codes.
What crimes fall under federal jurisdiction?
The vast majority of crimes fall under state jurisdiction, but there are those that fall under federal jurisdiction. Typically, the federal jurisdiction is exerted when the states lack jurisdiction such as when a crime crosses over between two different states. In addition to cross-state crimes, those committed on federal property such as a national park, monument, federal agency, or federal courthouse would trigger federal jurisdiction. There is also the the issue of concurrent jurisdiction which essentially overrides the concept of double jeopardy and creates ‘two’ crimes.
How Do Federal Criminal Investigations Work?
Real life federal investigations are very different from Hollywood portrayals. While they can still be scary and produce anxiety, the lawyers in Springfield MO at Carver, Cantin & Mynarich will walk go above and beyond to ensure you’re prepared. Federal investigations can take years to complete, and you may not even know that you’re the target of an investigation until it’s well underway. Usually, such cases are brought to the attention of investigating agencies through tips or evidence of criminal activity that comes to the attention of authorities.
In addition to more familiar agencies like the FBI, DEA, and ATF, most government agencies have their own investigative arm. Depending on your occupational affiliations or the crime, you could be investigated by organizations like:
- Internal Revenue Service (Washington, D.C.)
- Department of Agriculture (Washington, D.C.)
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (Washington, D.C.)
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (Washington, D.C.)
If you are a federal employee, federal contract employee, or work for a business that has federal contracts, you may also be drawn into a federal internal investigation through the Office of the Inspector General (IG). Each federal department has their own IG handling internal cases, cases involving potential fraud, or other crimes in contracting activities.
These agencies get information about possible crimes through:
- Audits and internal investigations
- Whistleblowers and anonymous tips
- Suspicious bank activity
- Information obtained while investigating other matters
Investigators take tips and information and investigate further to see if there is any evidence of criminal activity. It’s during this phase that much of the information and corroborating evidence is gathered by an investigator and federal lawyer, and the person or persons being investigated may not even be aware that they’re under suspicion yet.
If preliminary investigation produces enough evidence, investigators will go to a judge to get search warrants or permission to perform wiretaps and other surveillance. This is when you may get a visit from the feds or receive other notification that you are under investigation. The agency will then evaluate all of their evidence and decide whether to drop the matter, convene a grand jury, or press formal charges by a lawyer.
In addition to protecting your rights, a federal criminal defense attorney can help you at any step in the process. Your lawyer has the ability to:
- Find out if you’re a witness, subject, or main target of an investigation
- Keep you from making matters worse through suspicious behavior
- Advise you about when to talk to authorities and how much you should say
- Negotiate on your behalf to get a plea deal, drop or reduce the charges, or ask for leniency in sentencing
- Interview witnesses, organize bail and help you prepare a defense
The Federal Prosecutor’s Role and Steps in Federal Prosecution
Once formal charges have been filed and indictments handed down, the prosecution begins. Unlike state criminal cases, federal cases are prepared and tried by the U.S. Attorney’s office for that district.
Your federal criminal defense attorney works closely with you through each phase of this process. A plea bargain may be possible, but there are restrictions on pleading to a lesser charge in a federal court of law. There are also restrictions on the ways a federal attorney can try to convince you to make a plea deal. For example, they cannot hint at or threaten the death penalty in an attempt to induce a guilty plea to a lesser charge.
Federal criminal jurisdictions are separated into regions outside of Washington D.C.. Missouri’s federal legal system is divided into the Eastern District court of law and the Western District court of law. Each district is represented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for that district. The Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) works on behalf of the U.S. Attorney in Washington, representing the government of the United States in federal prosecutions outside of the capital in Washington D.C.
What are the steps in a federal prosecution?
Most federal cases follow a specific set of steps, although not all cases include every step. The steps can also occur simultaneously or in a different order. The most typical order is:
- Plea Bargaining
- Preliminary hearing
- Pre-trial motions
- Post-trial motions
Why Choose a Federal Attorney vs. Average Attorney?
From the way cases are investigated and prosecuted to the potentially hefty criminal penalties, federal criminal cases are on another level than state and local cases. For example, in Missouri you have federal courts, but the majority of cases are heard by the State Court. Every state in the U.S. has this system as well, separate state criminal codes and court systems. These systems are different and require a different type of lawyer. Contact a lawyer with significant federal legal experience.
That’s why you need a federal criminal defense lawyer who has federal experience and is a licensed federal attorney. Federal court experience and a good reputation can also help your case when it comes time to cut a deal, set a cooperative tone with investigators, or negotiate a reduced sentence.
Are There Qualified Federal Defense Attorneys in Missouri?
It may surprise you to know that federal courts are all across the country, outside of Washington D.C. If you’re looking for a local law firm with the deep knowledge and experience it takes to handle federal criminal cases, your search has ended with Carver, Cantin & Mynarich. We have more than 60 years of collective legal experience winning justice for clients, and you’ll always receive the kind of personal representation you deserve. We’re convenient to Springfield and the surrounding communities. Contact us to schedule a consultation with our federal criminal defense lawyer today.
Choose Top Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys
Thomas Carver, Shane Cantin, and Erica Mynarich all have extensive experience litigating criminal cases in a federal court of law. Their legal skills have been recognized by their peers with awards of excellence, proving themselves to be the top federal criminal defense lawyers in Springfield, MO.
Tom has practiced law for over 43 years and been lawyer for almost 300 clients in criminal cases. Aside from being elected President of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 2001, Tom has been awarded numerous legal accolades throughout his distinguished career, including being named Lawyer of the Year in both 2013, 2015, and 2018 for the southwest Missouri region in the area of white collar law.
An attorney since 1993 and a member of both the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Shane has proven himself one of the most professional federal criminal defense attorneys in Springfield, representing clients in United States District Courts in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Illinois. He has worked as a federal criminal lawyer on over 500 serious felony cases and he regularly represents clients in legal cases involving fraud, complex financial crimes, child pornography, and a host of other legal offenses.
Erica has extensive training and experience in trial advocacy and has represented all manner of cases before the Missouri Court of Appeals and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, racking up honors and accolades along the way. In 2016, she was awarded the Lon O. Hocker Award by the Missouri Bar Foundation and in 2017, she was the recipient of the David J. Dixon Appellate Advocacy Award for her work as a lawyer.
When the chips are stacked against you, you need the best attorneys to help even the odds and the team at Carver, Cantin & Mynarich had proven time and again to the be most professional federal criminal defense lawyers in Springfield, MO.
What Makes a Good Federal Criminal Defense Attorney?
You would not want your chiropractor to treat your heart condition, and you don’t want a divorce attorney preparing your federal criminal defense. When looking for a criminal defense attorney, you want to find someone who has been a justice advocate, with experience and a proven record of success in that practice area, including the particular type of crime. White collar criminal cases differ greatly from federal drug trafficking or kidnapping charges. To get justice, you need a specialist.
Other factors to take into consideration are:
- Professionalism. When your life and future freedom are on the line, you want professional federal criminal defense lawyer who is timely, organized, and willing to put in the necessary effort to protect your rights and the justice process.
- Reputation. It helps if your federal criminal defense attorney is well-known and respected in the federal court system in Missouri. An ongoing working relationship with judges and federal prosecutors makes it easier to negotiate aspects of your case.
- Affordability. Preparing a federal criminal defense is not cheap. However, you want a criminal defense attorney who charges fair fees that are commensurate with the work involved.
- Experience. You don’t want a lawyer who’s fresh out of law school handling your federal investigation defense. If you are facing overwhelming evidence and certainty of prison time under the law, you want a seasoned professional. If you plan to contest your case in a court of law, you want an attorney with a federal trial track record.
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