If you or a loved one has received a target letter from federal prosecutors, it is time to make sure you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side.
However, not just any defense lawyer will do. You need a lawyer who has specific experience defending clients against federal charges in federal courts. The stakes are often higher in federal cases, with more severe penalties and the federal government’s resources stacking the deck against you. Now is not the time to seek the representation of an old pal or a local attorney who dabbles in a wide variety of practice areas.
Some of the primary differences between state and federal cases are:
- Stronger opponents: There are many talented and highly reputable prosecutors at the state and local level, but federal prosecutors are backed by the investigatory resources and financial budgets of agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
- Harsher penalties: Getting convicted of a criminal offense at the state level is no picnic, but federal crimes tend to come with more severe penalties. Many federal convictions carry mandatory minimum sentences, which require the judge to impose a 5, 10, 15, or even 20-year prison sentence.
These differences and the complexities of the federal court procedures, make it important to choose your attorney wisely. Having an attorney experienced in the intricacies of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines is a must. You should not settle for anything less when you are in the crosshairs of the feds.