The United States of America is a completely separate sovereign entity and stands apart from the individual states.  Federal laws are also separate and operate independently of state law.  It is therefore possible to be charged for the same conduct in both federal and state courts at the same time.  If you suspect that you may be charged with a federal crime, you should seek a qualified attorney who understands federal criminal proceedings.

Differences Between State and Federal Proceedings

Federal crimes are usually more serious, more difficult to defend, or more complex than cases seen in a county or state courthouse. Defending federal criminal charges involves more investigation and review, often requiring a bigger budget to go to trial.  A federal criminal defense attorney who tries such cases is usually more schooled and experienced, having studied federal law and court proceedings.

Investigations, Attorneys, and Federal Trials

Any person involved in a federal court case can be contacted by an investigator for questioning about the events in question. An attorney working such a case will often screen investigators to determine intent and determine with input from their client if the questioning is appropriate and required; a representing attorney may want to be present during any questioning to monitor the interrogation. A lawyer serves as a mediator between clients and investigators, providing advice to their clients regarding Fifth Amendment rights.

The best  federal criminal defense attorney must be able to determine whether or not a client should even speak to government investigators. It is the same for any court subpoenas that are served, either for a Grand Jury or trial; a federal attorney would assist in this process and determine the purpose of the subpoena. In cases where it appears that criminal charges are pending, an attorney may be able to negotiate immunity for the client if it is an option.

A defense attorney working on federal court cases may be able to bargain with investigators and prosecution for more favorable treatment of their client.  Under certain instances, it may be possible to discuss the case out of court in order to obtain a Letter of Declination which is secured from the federal prosecutor handling the case, advising of an agreement to not prosecute an individual charged with a particular offense.

Federal criminal law cases deal with serious offenses, which stresses the importance of retaining an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer. The attorneys handling such cases must have extensive experience in the federal court system in order to be of any real service to the courts or their clients. There is so much involved in federal criminal investigations and trials – be sure to find the right attorney for the case!

Reynaldo G. Garza, III
680 E. St Charles, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520
(956) 202-0067

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