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Four Things to Know if You Are Facing Federal Charges

Facing Federal Charges? Lots of things come under the purview of the federal government.  You can come under the federal court on anything from drug charges to white-collar crimes.  The first step you will need to take is hiring an attorney specializing in federal cases since they are different from state and local cases.  It is a good idea to consult with several attorneys before deciding on representation.  You need to feel comfortable with your choice.  Once you have lawyered up, be aware of these four things.  And remember, setbacks can be growth opportunities.  


Your Memory is Not All it’s Cracked Up to Be

Human memories can change a little bit every time they are remembered and then return to storage.  Your past may feel like one continuous novel to you, like you can go back and re-read scenes from previous pages.  However, that isn’t how the brain works.  You might be shocked at how differently you remember something now versus how you remembered it shortly after it happened.  Because of this, you need to write things down right away while they are still fresh in your memory.  However, you don’t want these notes to be subpoenaed by prosecutors.  Write “Attorney-Client Privileged” at the top of every page, and start with a notice that the document is for the purposes of consulting with your attorney.  


Research is Your Friend

Though it is wise to leave legal tactics to your attorney, you do need to be an informed participant in your defence.  That means reading up on the laws you have been accused of violating.  The legal code can be esoteric, and it might take some effort to understand the ins and outs of your charges, but it is well worth your time to be an active part of the proceedings.  It is also well worth learning the process followed for federal charges.  


Don’t Represent Yourself when Facing Federal Charges

That being said, representing yourself is almost always a bad idea.  There is a reason law school is considered very difficult and that lawyers usually specialize in some parts of the law.  The law is more extensive and more intricate than you might imagine.  And court proceedings are complex and governed by a wide range of rules and best practices that are far too much to learn on the fly or as you go.  You also can’t count on judges and court personnel helping you out — they usually simply don’t have time, and some of them are prohibited from doing so. So unless you are as knowledgeable as an attorney specializing in federal cases, your best bet is to hire one!  


Sentencing Mitigation Specialists Are a Thing

A sentencing mitigation specialist can help prepare you for the worst: a guilty verdict.  They will gather documentation and interview you to find information that could mean you are eligible for a lighter sentence.  They prepare memoranda for the court to consider when you enter the sentencing phase of your trial.  And they take pressure off your attorney, allowing them to do what they do best — avoid the guilty verdict in the first place. 


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