DC Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
Federal criminal charges are extremely serious. In the District of Columbia federal offenses are prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Local offenses are prosecuted in the District of Columbia Superior Court. Most federal criminal charges are felonies and involve substantial jail time, asset forfeiture, and hefty fines. In many federal cases, individuals may be held without bond. However, conditions of release may be imposed and can include GPS monitoring, home confinement, or a curfew. Federal courts may also impose some type of monetary bond in certain cases.
Cases in federal court often also involve lengthy investigations where individuals targeted by the investigation should hire a federal criminal defense attorney prior to any arrest. Without the advice of counsel during any investigation, you could make a major mistake that could cost your liberty.
Usually, the first appearance in federal court is what’s called an “initial appearance” where the purpose is often to present the arrested person to the judge and determine whether they will hire a lawyer or will take court appointment of a lawyer. Certain cases have a mandatory three-day hold where the government requests detention. After the three-day hold, there may be a consolidated detention hearing and preliminary hearing. For many felony cases that is the first time the Court will address bond. At the detention hearing, prosecutors can present evidence of the underlying crime as well as other evidence of the defendants’ potential risk of flight or dangerousness to the community.
Many federal prosecutors will not take on prosecutions without knowing their case and evidence is air tight. Further difficultly in defending federal cases comes from the United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which carry draconian penalties, which often encourage defendants to plead guilty and/or cooperate with law enforcement. This often occurs because an individual may be facing, for example, 25 years under the Sentencing Guidelines and the government offers a plea that could involve doing 3-5 years in prison. Its an extremely difficult decision to risk the potential prison time when offered a fraction of the jail time in exchange for a guilty plea. That is why it is imperative that you hire an experienced federal criminal defender.
One of the major disadvantages of defending a federal criminal case is the arresting agency is typically the FBI, DEA, or other federal agency that has considerable more resources than a local police department. Many federal cases involve wiretaps, video, recorded phone calls, and potentially voluminous document evidence.
Typical Federal Cases Include
- Drug and Gun Crimes
- White Collar Defense
- Money Laundering
- Corruption and Violations of Public Trust
- Identity Theft
- Computer or Cyber-Crimes
- Child Pornography
- Enticement or Solicitation of a Minor
- Sex Crimes
- Human Trafficking
- Securities Fraud
If you or someone you know is under federal investigation or been arrested for a federal crime, contact Scrofano Law PC for a full and comprehensive case evaluation. We handle federal criminal court cases in Washington, DC and the Eastern District of Virginia.