Los Angeles Federal Defense Lawyer
The Criminal Process
The federal criminal process is slightly different than the criminal process which occurs on a state level. As an experienced Los Angeles federal defense attorney, Robert M. Bernstein is familiar with the federal criminal process and how it relates to his clients. His representation at every single step of this process is invaluable and will make all the difference in the outcome of his clients’ cases, particularly with his background in prosecution and his extensive experience in criminal defense.
Any federal criminal process begins with an investigation by a federal agency, such as the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) or the criminal division of the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). This may be originated by a complaint or part of an ongoing investigation by the agency.
Following the investigation, the federal agency will present the evidence it collected to the United States Attorney’s Office, who will then present that evidence to a grand jury. The grand jury will make the decision as to whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial.
An individual who is facing federal charges may be arrested and may be required to remain in custody (in the case of a defendant who is a “flight risk”), bail may be set, or the defendant may be released on his or her own recognizance. A federal defense lawyer may play a crucial role in helping a defendant secure a release on his/her own recognizance, which means bail will not be set and does not need to be paid.
At the arraignment, the defendant will appear in court and will hear the charges he/she faces. At this time, the defendant will enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. Again, the defendant’s lawyer will be crucial in advising the defendant what to plea. Most often, this advice would be to plea not guilty, but it will depend upon the particular case and circumstances.
If the defendant enters a plea of not guilty, the case will go to trial in Federal Court. Both the prosecuting attorney and defense attorney will have the opportunity to make opening and closing arguments and will present evidence and witnesses, and cross-examine the opposing side’s witnesses. After all is said and done, the jury will deliberate and then reach a verdict of guilty or not guilty.
During the trial, a federal defense attorney’s experience and skill will be of the utmost importance. In examining and cross-examining witnesses, and in making opening and closing arguments, the defense attorney must truly convince the jury that there is not enough evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant is guilty of the federal offense. Although the burden lies on the prosecution to prove guilt, the defense lawyer must fight to protect the defendant’s rights and show weakness in the prosecution’s version of events and evidence.
If the jury reaches a guilty verdict, the judge will impose sentencing based off a strict set of guidelines. The judge has little or no leeway in altering a sentence, even if he or she thinks it is too harsh for the offense which was committed.
A defendant who has been found guilty may have the opportunity to appeal the verdict. This would be done by filing a petition based upon an error, wrongdoing or mistake during the trial, where the defendant was not actually given a fair trial. A federal appeal lawyer can help a defendant understand if he or she may qualify to file an appeal.
Los Angeles Federal Lawyer Robert M. Bernstein
At every step of the federal criminal process, Los Angeles federal lawyer Robert M. Bernstein takes it upon himself to provide his clients with only the very best legal counsel. By investing the necessary time and effort into a case, attorney Bernstein has helped numerous clients who were facing even the most severe federal charges.
Contact Los Angeles federal attorney Robert M. Bernstein today!