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What to Expect if You are Indicted on Federal Charges in the District of New Jersey


7/14/2020

If you have been accused of a federal crime, you likely have many questions about your immediate and long-term future. The workings of the federal justice system are not something that most people understand, especially when they are charged for the first time with a criminal offense in federal court. You might be wondering if you will be arrested, where you will be taken, how the federal bail system works, if you will need to appear in court, if you will be held in jail or allowed out before trial, if a plea deal is possible, or if you should be questioned when your New Jersey federal criminal lawyer is not present.

At Wimmer Criminal Defense Law, we are committed to helping our clients navigate the federal criminal justice system and protect their rights and future. The Department of Justice reports that there is a 95 percent conviction rate for criminal trials. With federal penalties often being much harsher than state penalties, you should hire an attorney as soon as possible to increase your chances of being able to fight your case from the street and having your charges dropped or reduced. Call or contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer.

What is a Federal Indictment?

Most federal felony cases begin with the filing of an indictment by a grand jury.  Those charged with lower-level federal offenses will receive a Bill of Information, which must be signed by the overseeing prosecutor and filed with the Clerk of Court in the respective federal court. In most federal cases, an indictment is issued or “returned”. An indictment is returned when a local but secret grand jury decides there is probable cause based on testimonial evidence presented to them that the individual who is to be charged committed a crime that falls under federal law. If you are charged in federal court, a New Jersey federal criminal lawyer can explain in more detail how your indictment was obtained and what the indictment means in your case.

You Have Been Charged, Now What?

Many people who face charges for white collar crimes are not arrested at the time of the offense. In general, most know they are being investigated for criminal charges since federal law enforcement officers or other federal agents have already been in contact with them throughout the course of an investigation. Many times, if the government decides to formally charge you for a federal crime, you are asked to contact the assigned Assistant U.S. Attorney to discuss your situation.

If you have already been arrested and processed, which is common in federal cases involving crimes of violence or ones that involve drugs or weapons, you will go before a federal magistrate judge. Your first appearance will be scheduled quickly. You will be advised of your charges. You will then be entitled to a detention hearing to determine whether you should be released pending trial or remain incarcerated.

If you have not yet been arrested and are aware of your charges, our New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney will go with you to the FBI office or the U.S. Marshall’s office for processing. By providing U.S. Pretrial Services with all available information, we can increase the chances you will be released on your own recognizance and under the least possible restrictions to your freedom. If the government petitions for you to be detained while you await trial, we will fight for you every step of the way during the detention hearing to persuade the Magistrate Judge to permit you to be released.

The Role of the U.S. Attorney’s Office

Federal felony cases are handled much differently than state felony cases. The U.S. Attorney’s Office or the Attorney General’s Office represents the United States in federal cases and prosecutes alleged violations of federal law. Instead of trials at municipal or county courts, they occur in federal courthouses all over the nation. There are times when federal and state laws overlap, and an individual can be charged with crimes in both jurisdictions. No matter what type of charges you are facing, retaining an experienced New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer is in your best interest.

Federal investigations are typically performed by federal law enforcement agencies such as:

  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  • Customs and Border Protection (CPB)
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • The United States Postal Service (USPS)
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

State and local agencies often ask these offices to take cases from them. The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices also work with those agencies to provide guidance and legal counsel in federal criminal investigations. It is crucial to note that the Department of Justice does not have the authority to interfere in the actions of state law. They can accept jurisdiction only when there has been a violation of federal law.

Defenses to Federal Criminal Charges

Your New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer will carefully examine your charges for any holes that might exist in the prosecution’s case against you and determine the best possible defense in your case. In some cases, you may want to take your case to trial. In cases where the investigation is thorough and the evidence is very strong, it often makes more sense to pursue a plea bargain. It all depends on the circumstances specific to the case and an experienced attorney will be able to explain all of your options to you.

Call Us Today to Speak with a New Jersey Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

With any type of federal charges, there is a lot at stake for the accused. The outcome of your case can impact every aspect of your life going forward. This is not something you want to risk by picking an inexperienced attorney. If you are facing federal criminal charges or have been contacted by a federal law enforcement agency, it is essential to have an experienced federal and state New Jersey criminal defense attorney represent you. At Wimmer Defense Law, we can appear in federal courts throughout the United States. Our office is centrally located in Philadelphia close to the courthouses for the District of New Jersey and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Call Wimmer Criminal Defense Law today at 215-712-1212 or use our convenient online contact form to schedule your confidential case review with a New Jersey federal criminal lawyer. The sooner you request our assistance, the better protected your rights will be.