Federal Criminal Cases: From Indictment To Trial
As a former federal criminal prosecutor, I founded Law Offices of Peter Katz to defend clients in New Jersey and New York who are facing criminal charges. With over 29 years of experience in the criminal court system, I understand how overwhelming it is to be facing charges, and I want to help protect your rights and freedom.
Criminal Charges And Federal Indictments
A federal criminal case will begin by a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, prompted by probable cause evidence gathered by one of the federal law enforcement agencies, like the FBI or the IRS. After it is filed, the government has 30 days to present the case to a grand jury for an indictment. The grand jury will consider preliminary evidence to determine if there is enough evidence to formally charge the defendant with a crime.
Preparing The Criminal Case
Once indicted, the criminal case must proceed to trial within 70 days. During that time, the government must provide the defendant and the defendant’s attorney with all of the documents and evidence it intends to use to prove the case. The defense can and will challenge the evidence with various motions, usually claiming that the government failed to properly gather the evidence they intend to use against the defendant.
Going To Trial And The Burden Of Proof
At any criminal trial, the government will call witnesses in an attempt to poove its case. The defendant will have a chance to question these witnesses and call its own. The government has the burden to prove the defendant’s guilt under the highest standard allowed by law. In order to be found guilty, the government has to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to every member of the jury. A jury consists of 12 members and guilty verdict must be unanimous.
Plea Bargains And Settlement Negotiations
At any point in the process, the government may offer the defendant a chance to settle the case through a plea bargain. Usually, a plea bargain will give the defendant an opportunity to plead guilty to the charges against them or maybe even lesser charges that have less severe consequences. Any defendant who is presented with an opportunity for a plea bargain faces a critical decision that should be weighed carefully with an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer who is knowledgeable about the federal court system and who understands the federal sentencing guidelines.
Contact A Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
I offer free, confidential initial consultations. To schedule your free appointment, call my office directly at 609-900-2648 or send an inquiry through my online form. I look forward to answering your questions and telling you more about how I can defend you in your federal criminal case.