A federal indictment is a formal legal document that charges an individual, or a group of individuals, with a federal crime. It is considered one of the most harrowing documents to receive, though rarely is in unexpected. Typically, an indictment is issued once a grand jury convenes on a specific case and comes to an agreement that there is probable cause that the crime was committed by the person or persons mentioned in the indictment. Hence, why it should not come as a surprise.
According to Arik Benari, a federal criminal defense lawyer Delaware County, “Federal crimes are prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys and investigated by federal officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). With unlimited resources at their disposal, the federal prosecutor usually begins an investigation long before notifying you that you are a suspect. These investigations typically yield more substantial evidence, so if you have been charged with or arrested for a federal crime, you need experienced legal counsel of the highest caliber.” This means that you may not know you are under investigation, in some instances.
This is a slightly different situation than in other types of court systems. Prosecutors at the federal level have a harder job because he or she must convince an entire jury of probable cause. Needless to say, those who work at the highest level have the experience necessary to perform their jobs, and a federal indictment only comes when they believe that they can prove their case – and almost all (over 90 percent) of criminal cases in federal court end up in a conviction. This is why you must have a federal criminal defense lawyer at your side at all times.
If You Have Been Federally Indicted
If you have been issued a federal indictment, there is no time to wait or mess around with the debate. Many federal crimes can result in extremely long prison sentences and punishments that can impact the rest of your life. Once again, if you have been issued a federal indictment, it is likely that the prosecutor believes that they can put you in jail. Everything that you do from here on out must be done in order to increase your chances of acquittal – or at least do as much as you can to get a case for mitigation.
How to do this? You need to start getting into contact with your lawyer right away. From the start, your lawyer will be behind because the prosecution has been looking at your case for a long time. If you had no clue this was happening, you are at a disadvantage. While you should have an experienced federal defense lawyer on your side, you want to have as much time as possible to prepare.
What to Expect After Federal Indictment
The first thing you need to know is that an experienced federal defense lawyer will have to pour over your case to determine which defenses may be applicable to your case. For example, evidence that was seized illegally might have to be suppressed, which can create all of the difference in your case. In many cases, if this is found, the charges can be dropped. In other cases, your lawyer may be able to find access to information that a federal prosecutor may not have thought about – all with your help.
In some cases, the prosecutors may have a strong case that is lock tight. In this case, an experienced attorney will be able to create a strong case for mitigation, hoping to be able to convince the sentence that you deserve leniency and your sentence may be less severe.
No matter what, you need to consider a federal indictment as a serious matter – but you should never give up hope that you can make your way out of the process. There is always something that can be done, especially if you align yourself with the best of the best. Of course, the sooner you know about the case, the sooner you will be able to get started. Still, there is no time too late to get yourself a legal team and learning all you can about the charges that you face.