When the Government Makes a "Federal Case" out of it, You Need Serious Help
Crimes against the United States are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI and DEA and are charged and prosecuted in the United States District Courts. If you are being investigated by a federal agency or have been indicted or subpoenaed by a federal Grand Jury, there are important things you should know about the differences between federal and state criminal prosecutions. Completely different laws apply with different rules, different courts and different procedures. You will most certainly need an experienced Seattle federal criminal lawyer.
One of the most crucial differences between federal and state prosecutions is that your exposure to a harsh prison sentence is far greater in federal court. Sentencing in federal court is governed by the "Federal Sentencing Guidelines", a document published by the United States Sentencing Commission. These "Guidelines" are severe, unforgiving, and so bad that even Judges complain they're too tough.
The thing to keep in mind about the guidelines is that they represent the political climate in Washington, D.C., where politicians compete with each other to appear more "tough on crime". Don't expect to find any legislator lobbying on behalf of criminal defendants in order to minimize penalties. Federal judges are not required to follow the sentencing recommendations found in the guidelines, but in practice, they usually do.
Why is this important? Guidelines sentences are so severe that federal judges have gone on the record criticizing them for their drastic and disproportionate effects. Federal criminal prosecutions are heavily influenced by the guidelines, and you will find that negotiations in these cases often center on reaching an acceptable guidelines calculation before entering a plea. That's how this world operates, it's all about the guidelines.
Because of the severity of the sentencing guidelines, far fewer defendants are willing to risk going to trial and take the chance of going to a federal prison for 20 to 30 years. Federal prosecutors are experts at charging multiple defendants and then turning them against each other, resulting in a "race to the courthouse" to see who can cut a deal first. It's critical to have an experienced Seattle federal criminal defense attorney who is intimately familiar with this environment and knows how to navigate it.
Your Federal Case Will Be Prosecuted By Tough Adversaries
Another important difference between federal and state prosecutions is the overall level of professionalism and expertise found in the United States Attorney's Office. Standards are just not the same in state prosecutor's offices, where any law school graduate can apply and start working as a Rule 9 Intern even before graduating from law school.
The United States Attorney's Office draws from top graduates of the top law schools in the nation and many Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSA's) begin distinguished national political careers from this launching point. Make no mistake about it — if you are facing a federal criminal prosecution, you will have an army of the nation's best and brightest lawyers working with the breathtaking resources of the federal government working against you.
Get the Experienced Federal Defense You Need When It Matters Most
Don't go into this battle without an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer who is comfortable and experienced in this realm. Managing Partner, Robert Perez, has been licensed to practice in the federal courts since 1977. Federal cases have made up a substantial part of his criminal defense practice throughout his career. Sarah J. Perez did her legal internship with Federal Judge Ricardo Martinez in the United States District Court in Seattle, and brings with her knowledge of the inner workings behind the bench in the federal courts. If you have any reason to believe that you are being investigated by a federal law enforcement agency, contact Perez & Perez Law, PLLC immediately.
Perez & Perez Law, PLLC represents everyday people facing extraordinary circumstances in Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Issaquah, Everett, King County, Snohomish County, Pierce County and all across Washington State.