Being arrested and charged with a criminal offense, or finding out you are the target of a criminal investigation is a frightening experience when the charges involved are state offenses. When the investigation or prosecution is at the federal level it becomes a whole new, and even more frightening, experience. If you are the target of a federal investigation, or have already been indicted for a federal offense, you may be wondering if you need a “federal” criminal defense attorney. The simple answer is “yes.”
The United States operates under a federalist form of government, meaning that we have a strong central government (the federal government) and many smaller local governments (state governments). It also means that you can be charged with a criminal offense at the state level, the federal level, or both. Although the basic concept and procedures are the same for both a federal or state investigation/prosecution, there are some significant differences. Those differences make it important that you retain an attorney who is experienced with defending individuals charged with federal crimes.
As a general rule, federal criminal investigations are far more organized and intense than their state level counterparts. It is not uncommon for a federal criminal investigation to go on for months, even years, before an arrest is made. Typically, this means that when an arrest is made it is because federal law enforcement officers have managed to amass a significant amount of evidence against you. It also makes retaining an attorney early on in an investigation crucial when the investigation is being conducted by a federal law enforcement agency.
While there is no formal distinction made between “federal” and “state” criminal defense attorneys, a little research and inquiry will help you separate attorneys who have the requisite experience in federal court from those who do not. Everything from the initial investigation, to setting bond, to sentencing is done just a little differently in federal court. You need an attorney who is not just familiar with the differences but who has extensive experience in the federal system to ensure that you are provided with the best defense possible.
The moment you have reason to believe you are under investigation for a federal criminal offense you should begin looking for an attorney who understands federal investigative procedures. If you have already been charged with a federal offense, the need for an experienced federal criminal defense attorney is even greater. Under no circumstances should you “talk to” or “cooperate with” federal law enforcement officers without first consulting an attorney.
If you are under investigation by a federal law enforcement agency, or you have been charged with a federal criminal offense in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 immediately to discuss your situation with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney.