Facing an arrest for federal crimes can be scary. But what do you do when you're completely innocent? How can you exonerate yourself? An important thing to remember is that you don't have to prove your innocence. Rather, it is the federal government's burden to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Nonetheless, it's important to be proactive and to hire an experienced federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Trials are rare in the federal criminal justice system. In 2018, nearly 80,000 criminal defendants were in the federal system, but only two percent of those cases went to trial. The majority of people charged with federal crimes, 90%, pled guilty, while only eight percent got their cases dismissed. Of the two percent who went to trial, only 320 were acquitted. These statistics mean that only one percent of people facing federal charges will be acquitted at trial. These statistics are scary, but they underscore the importance of hiring the right attorney to clear your name.
Defenses to Federal Charges
There are a limited number of defenses you can use against federal charges, including:
1. I didn't do it.
Of course, every defendant is innocent until proven guilty. But when federal prosecutors start putting on evidence, what do you do? Your possible defenses can be that the government hasn't proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt or, in some cases, that you have an alibi. If you have an alibi, that means you couldn't have been in the location where the crime occurred at the time it happened.
2. I did it, but I shouldn't be held responsible.
While the government has the burden to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, you will have the burden to prove that you shouldn't be held responsible. Possible defenses might include insanity, self-defense, or entrapment.
You Need an Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
Whatever defense you have for the federal charges against you, one of the first steps you should take after an arrest for any federal charge is to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney experienced in the federal criminal justice system. You need an attorney well versed in navigating the federal system who can protect your rights and fight for your best interests.
At the Sigal Law Group, we aggressively defend our clients in federal court. If you're facing federal criminal charges in the Los Angeles area, we can help. Call us at 818-325-0570 for a free consultation.