How to Manage Your Federal Criminal Charges
The federal criminal defense attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC will fight to protect your rights and your personal and professional future. An arrest puts your rights, your freedom, your family, and your livelihood at stake.
The Strom Law Firm, LLC handles the following federal cases:
- Computer crimes
- Mail fraud, wire fraud, or bank fraud,
- RICO violations
- Drug Crimes
- Tax fraud
- False Statements
- Health or Insurance Fraud
- Securities Fraud
- Consumer Fraud
- Internet Crimes
- Guns and Weapons Charges
- Federal Appeals
Getting an overall picture of the circumstances surrounding the charge or investigation is the starting point, and basis of, our approach to handling criminal cases. Our familiarity with prosecutorial techniques and knowledge of the federal criminal justice process ensure that you will receive a vigorous, well-planned defense.
Before Federal Charges Are Filed
If you are the subject of an investigation, or have been summoned before a grand jury, the Strom Law Firm, LLC can investigate the potential charges against you and advise you on the best course of action to take during the investigation.
If You Are Arrested
If a U.S. magistrate has issued an arrest warrant or if a grand jury has returned with an indictment, you may be placed under arrest and given a date for initial appearance. If this is the case, you still need to call a lawyer to determine the best way to proceed and how to start planning your defense. The initial appearance before a judge must occur within 72 hours of arrest. At this appearance, the Defendant is given notice of the charges, notified of their rights, and bond is set. In some cases, the person arrested may be released at this point. But in other cases, the judge may deem the arrested a danger to the community or a flight risk and hold him in custody until trial. The next phase is an arraignment where a plea will be entered before the judge.
After a thorough review of the Defendant’s case and federal charges, a plea agreement may be reached between the government and the Defendant where a Defendant agrees to forego a trial by entering a guilty plea pursuant to a written plea agreement.
Some common plea bargains in federal cases are:
- agree to dismiss some charges in return for a guilty plea for others
- agree to stipulations regarding sentencing factors
- agree and disregard whether certain enhancements apply
- agree to recommend certain sentences
- agree to forfeiture of assets
- may agree to recommend a different sentence from what is calculated
Pre trial proceedings in Federal court are very often complex. Discovery is the process by which the Defendant and the government demand information and material from the other party, which can include investigative reports, statements by witnesses, financial records and lab reports. This is a cumbersome process that can involve thousands of pages of documents. When you hire the Strom Law Firm, LLC, we will review each document with you and work with you to determine the best strategy for your case. Proper representation during this stage of the case is of critical importance.
In order to find you guilty at trial, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the criminal charge(s). Strom Law will work tirelessly and make sure you have the most effective defense possible by using all available resources. Our firm has the experience of working with the top investigators, forensic experts, consultants, and professional researchers to help clients prepare and present their defense.
What determines my sentence if convicted?
If you plead guilty or are found guilty, the court will schedule a sentencing hearing. Prior to your sentencing hearing, the court will order that a Presentence Investigation take place. The Office of US Probation will then prepare a report, a Presentence Investigation Report (PSR), where a probation officer will detail any aggravating and mitigating factors present in the case. Most reports contain offender’s prior criminal record, personal characteristics, financial background and social history, as well as information regarding the effect of the crime on the victim. During the sentencing process, the judge will take into consideration the PSR. A federal judge or magistrate will also consider the sentencing guidelines established by the United States Sentencing Commission which dictate a uniform sentencing policy for individuals and organizations convicted of federal crimes. These sentencing guidelines will be used to determine your sentence. Additionally, during this process, character witnesses acting on the Defendant’s behalf, as well as victim statements, will be presented to the judge for review.
- Prison Time/confinement in a federal prison, which is controlled by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (B.O.P.)
- House Arrest
- Split Sentence (combination of prison, house arrest and/or probation)
If you are sentenced to prison time, you can serve your time in any federal penitentiary in the United States. Many factors play into placement of Defendants and the Bureau of Prisons and the court can not guarantee that placement of the Defendant will be close to their home state.
Such factors include:
- the offense of conviction
- your prior record
- length of sentence
- available bed space
- the need for drug treatment or educational services
- the need for protection
Parole has been abolished in the federal system. If sentenced to prison, you can expect to serve at least 85% of your sentence.
If you are given a sentence of imprisonment, you should be prepared to begin serving it immediately, although there are some circumstances where you may be ordered to report to the BOP to begin your sentence at a later date.
Call Today for a Free Consultation With Our Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers
Located in Columbia, South Carolina, the criminal defense lawyers at the Strom Law Firm, LLC have the experience and background necessary to provide aggressive legal representation that can help you avoid jail time and other criminal penalties. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.