More than 1.2 million people face an arrest in California each year. If you're facing an arrest, you aren't alone. But it's important to understand if you're facing federal or state charges. If you've been arrested for a federal crime, how do you stay calm and react intelligently? First, it's important to remember that just being charged with a crime does not mean a court will find you guilty. However, with the right attorney, careful planning, and a good defense, you may be able to fight the charges against you effectively.
Learn About the Charges You're Facing
Be sure to ask about the charges you're facing and ask for a copy of the warrant. Next, be sure to look up the federal statutes. Then, once you hire an attorney, ask about the specific allegations against you and each element of the charges you face. Finally, ask your attorney about the federal judicial process and what will happen next in your case.
In many cases, you can face both federal and state charges for the same or similar crimes. This is because the federal government and the California state government are “dual sovereigns.” This term means that they enact and prosecute their own laws. Thus, if your alleged crime is a violation of both state and federal law, federal prosecutors may defer to state prosecutors or vice versa. But in some cases, you may face charges in both federal and state courts without violating the constitutional protections against double jeopardy.
Collect Important Documents
Once you know what charges you're facing, collect any documents you might have that are relevant to your case. Then, make a file and make a copy for your attorney. For example, if you're facing federal tax fraud charges, collect your tax returns and all supporting documents and financial documents.
Write Down Anything Important
Our memories can be unreliable, especially after time passes. So, once you're charged with a crime, it's a good idea to begin taking notes about anything you can remember that might be relevant to your charge. Be sure to write “Attorney-Client Privileged” at the top of your notes, and you can pass them on to your attorney as background for your case.
You Need an Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
One of the most important actions you can take after an arrest for a federal crime is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney well versed in federal crimes. You need someone who can skillfully navigate the federal system, protecting your rights, and looking out for your best interests.
At the Sigal Law Group, we skillfully and aggressively defend our clients in federal court. So 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.