Criminal Defense For Those Charged With Federal And White Collar Crimes In New York
With the potential for extensive fines and jail time, defense against federal charges requires a federal criminal defense lawyer who can examine the particulars of even the most complex cases. Your future hangs in the balance, and you need a white collar crime defense attorney that you can trust.
At Sapone & Petrillo, LLP, our experienced trial lawyers are dedicated to creating innovative defenses for our clients. When you need a New York City federal criminal lawyer, our legal team can provide experienced, measured advice for even the most complicated criminal cases.
From our New York City and Long Island offices, they have successfully represented clients charged with federal crimes of many types, and they will use that experience to build a strong defense for your future.
Attorneys With A History Of Success In Federal Court
Our attorneys have extensive criminal trial experience, and they have represented a variety of clients throughout the state on the federal level. They also have extensive experience in assisting clients with the federal sentencing process. The federal charges our team defends against include:
- Securities-related crimes
- Federal weapons offenses
- Money laundering
- All types of criminal fraud charges
- Crimes involving gambling or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) violations
- Tax evasion
- Federal drug crimes
Our team also provides criminal defense in Puerto Rico for cases involving:
Through careful examination of your case, our lawyers will work to build a strong defense for you against the federal criminal charges you face. They will work to create the best possible results for you, whether that means your acquittal or a more favorable sentence after a guilty verdict.
What Are The Steps Involved In A Federal Criminal Trial?
Every case is different, and some require more or fewer steps than what we discuss below. But generally, here is how a trial in federal court proceeds:
- Investigation: Agents from the FBI, ATF, DEA or other federal law enforcement departments can obtain search warrants and use other tools to investigate you if they suspect you of breaking a federal law. This part of the process can be slow, and it can be months before you find out if you will be charged or not. Or agents could arrest you before launching a detailed investigation.
- Charging: After receiving the results of investigating and interviewing people involved in the alleged crime, it is up to the prosecutor to decide whether to present a case to a federal grand jury, a group of citizens who must decide whether there is enough evidence against the accused person to charge them with a crime. As the accused, you will receive notice that you are accused of a crime.
- Initial hearing/arraignment: After being charged, you will be brought before a magistrate judge for an initial hearing. The purpose of this hearing is to inform the defendant of the charges against them, their rights and if they need help arranging for a defense attorney. The magistrate also decides whether to set bail or order you held in jail until trial.
- Discovery: Before there can be a fair trial, your attorney needs access to the prosecution’s evidence. Requesting copies of documents and physical evidence is called discovery. A prosecutor who withholds evidence included in a discovery request could face sanctions from the judge.
- Plea bargaining: A big part of a federal defense lawyer’s job is to see if the prosecution is open to a possible plea bargain and negotiate in the client’s best interests. It is often possible to get the charges against you reduced, resulting in a shorter or less harsh sentence in exchange for a guilty or no-contest plea.
- Preliminary hearing: Before going to trial, there may be a preliminary hearing for the prosecution to try to show it has enough evidence against you for the charges to proceed. As the defendant, you have the right to waive this hearing. Your attorney can advise you whether you should waive it or not.
- Pretrial motions: In the weeks and months before your trial date, both your attorney and the prosecutor will probably file several motions with the court to try to assert your rights. The judge will decide whether to accept or reject each motion.
- Trial: Trial will begin with jury selection. Once the jury is empaneled, the trial itself begins. Each attorney makes an opening statement to the jury, explaining their version of what happened. Then, the sides present witnesses and evidence. Once each side rests its case, they make closing arguments summarizing their cases. The jury then deliberates on each charge. If they agree that you are guilty or not guilty, they will present their verdict. Otherwise, if the jury cannot reach a consensus, the judge might declare a mistrial.
- Post-trial motions: Your attorney can also file motions if you are found guilty. Post-trial motions include Motion for a New Trial, Motion for Judgement of Acquittal and Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct a Sentence. These apply in cases where errors made by the judge or jury make the guilty verdict unjust.
- Sentencing: Assuming any motion to set aside the verdict fails, the next step is to determine your sentence. Each federal crime has its own sentence guidelines set by Congress and the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Beyond that, the sentence is up to the judge, based on mitigating and aggravating factors argued by your lawyer and the prosecutor. Such factors often include the nature of the crime, the defendant’s prior record and whether they have expressed remorse.
- Appeal: An appeal is not a new trial but a chance to show a higher court that the judge made errors during trial that violated your right to a fair trial. If the appellate court agrees, it might reverse your sentence, send the case back for a new trial or alter your sentence. Criminal appeals law is different from criminal defense. Most of the time, you will need to hire a new attorney who practices appellate law.
Federal Criminal Charge FAQ
Knowing the answers to these frequently asked questions can help you prepare for your case. Below are a few that we hear from our clients.
What is a federal crime?
Federal crimes are the actions of individuals that violate federal laws. Federal agencies also investigate these crimes, depending on the type of crime someone’s accused of and subsequent charges brought forth in federal courts. Like state crimes, federal crimes can also have distinct levels of severity, like felonies and misdemeanors.
How do federal crimes differ from state crimes?
The main difference between federal crimes and state crimes often has to do with jurisdiction. A criminal charge becomes federal when the alleged crime takes place across state lines or involves defrauding the U.S. government. A federal judge hears federal criminal cases and must stick to specific federal sentencing guidelines. State judges hear state cases in state criminal courts. However, state sentencing guidelines aren’t as specific as federal ones.
Can a state crime also be charged as a federal crime?
Yes. People facing state criminal charges can also face federal criminal charges. However, this doesn’t happen often. When it does, the case has concurrent jurisdiction, meaning that the defendant faces state and federal court charges for the same crime.
What are the penalties for a federal crime?
Depending on the type and severity of the federal crime, some of the penalties can include:
- Expensive fines (up to $250,000)
- Lengthy or lifetime federal prison sentences
- The death penalty (for the most extreme cases)
While the penalties for federal crimes can vary, the consequences they carry can follow you for life. When facing federal criminal charges, it’s vital to seek an attorney with experience handling these types of cases.
Can federal convictions be expunged or pardoned?
For the majority of federal cases, expungements are not available. The one exception is typically for misdemeanor-level drug offenses. People can also receive a pardon for a federal crime from the president of the United States. However, these are also rare.
At Your Side When You Face Federal Charges
Have you been charged with a federal or white collar crime? Do you need a NYC federal criminal attorney? Our experienced New York City criminal defense attorneys know what it takes to resolve your case, and they have a track record of successful results.