What to Do if You are Arrested for a Federal Crime in Phoenix?

, by Bruce Blumberg

Do not make the mistake of assuming federal charges are the same as a state crime. Nor are they prosecuted in the same way. If you have been arrested and charged with a federal crime, you need to contact an experienced Phoenix federal crimes attorney right away.

With federal crimes, the government has a lot more resources at their disposal. This means these cases need to be taken very seriously as the government will push hard for a conviction. These are typically high-pressure, high-stress cases. They may  try to intimidate you. Depending on the crime, agencies may utilize undercover operations, wiretaps, and stings. In many federal cases, the US Attorney’s office has a good deal of evidence and a very strong case ready to go before you are even arrested and charged.

This is a departure from state cases where you are arrested first, and the prosecutor’s office has to work hard to build a case. This is why it’s so important that you contact the best Arizona federal crimes attorney possible. You need someone who is not only licensed to practice in a federal court, but also has the experience necessary to provide you with the best defense possible.

Steps in a Federal Trial

Some of the steps in a federal case will differ from what you might know about Arizona criminal courts. You may already know an investigation against you is pending, but you haven’t been arrested. Don’t wait to retain an attorney until you are arrested. If you do, your attorney has already lost valuable time to build your defense. During the pre-arrest phase, your attorney will work diligently to try and prevent charges from being filed. This can be accomplished by convincing the government that they don’t have a strong case.

Next is the grand jury indictment. This is required before any federal felony prosecution, unless you have chosen to waive it. Grand juries hold their meetings in private. Attorneys cannot accompany witnesses into the jury room. In the event you are called to appear in front of a grand jury, your attorney will be the one to help figure out if you are being called as a suspect or a witness.

Once you are arrested and charged, your attorney will be there for all of the hearings and appearances that will follow. Some of these include the initial appearance, arraignment, preliminary examination, and other pre-trial hearings. Developing a strategic defense strategy is extremely important in federal cases.

Sentencings in Federal Court Cases

Sentencings in federal court can be much different than sentencings in state courts. Federal sentencings are comprised of several factors. First, if there is a plea agreement it is possible for the Asst. U.S. Attorney responsible for your case to enter into a specific agreement with you regarding the sentence, however, it is up the U.S. District Court Judge to accept or reject your agreement. Second, all convictions must be assessed according to the USSG (the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines). The guidelines assess most of the relevant conduct and circumstances regarding the criminal matter. It is a point-based system determined over the last 30 years by Congress. After a conviction you and your attorney will meet with a U.S. Probation Officer who will gather information about you and present the Probation Officer’s guideline calculation in a presentence report to the Judge. The lawyer may contest the guideline calculation of the Probation Officer. Third, your attorney will draft a presentence memorandum setting forth the defense position. The federal judge is NOT required to follow the guidelines but may depart downward or upward from a guideline calculation dependent upon certain factors. They may also disregard them in their entirety. No matter whether you end up accepting a plea agreement or going to trial, your Phoenix federal crimes attorney is there to help. When you retain Blumberg & Associates, we will take you through the process step by step and discuss whether accepting a plea agreement or going to trial is the best path to take.

If your federal trial results in a conviction your case may move to the sentencing phase. Your attorney will make sure the judge is informed of all of the mitigating factors and hears about you in the most positive light.

Contact a Phoenix Federal Crimes Attorney Today

Don’t take your chances if you are charged with a federal crime in Phoenix. Get an attorney who specializes in these cases. Contact Blumberg & Associates today to schedule an initial consultation.