If you are under indictment or are being investigated by federal agents, you need a lawyer that specializes in these types of criminal cases. In most incidents, the lawyer who wrote your will, handled your divorce, or defended your son when he was arrested for DUI will not suffice.
Federal crimes include things like securities fraud, Social Security fraud, IRS fraud, and crimes investigated by the FBI, such as kidnapping, terrorism, and cyber crimes. There are more than 4,000 federal statutes on the books today.
About federal courts
Federal courts operate somewhat differently than local, municipal, and state courts. There are 94 U.S. district courts scattered around the United States, plus 13 U.S. federal courts of appeal. Unlike local judges, who are elected, federal judges are appointed by the President of the United States. Cases are conducted differently in federal court. For example, in federal court, parties must decide whether they want the case to be decided by a jury or a judge at the outset of litigation. In state courts, this decision can be deferred.
When to hire a federal defense attorney
1. When a federal agent comes to ask you questions. Although it may be tempting to try to talk yourself out of a situation involving federal agents, especially if you are innocent of the crime, this is rarely a good idea. Whatever you say to the agents can be used against you or the person they are asking you about. Plus, federal agents are generally much more skilled at the ins and outs of federal law than you are. It's essential to contact a federal defense attorney before you talk with them.
2. If you've been subpoenaed by a federal agency. A subpoena is a demand for you to appear to the court, either for a deposition or to testify before the court. Again, it is rarely, if ever, a good idea to answer the subpoena without having your own attorney present.
3. When you've received a federal target letter. Sometimes, a federal agency will sent a letter to inform an individual that they are the subject of a federal investigation and likely to be indicted.
4. When you've been stopped by a federal agent. Even if you aren't detained, it is a good idea to call a federal defense attorney the instant you are stopped by a federal agent. Refrain from talking with the agents until your attorney arrives.
Defending yourself in a federal criminal court requires a skilled and experienced federal defense attorney. It is essential to protecting your rights that you engage a lawyer who is familiar with federal courts as soon as you hear that you are being investigated or likely to be questioned.