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Insight from an Attorney You Can Trust

Because Federal law and the defense of federal crimes is vastly different from state cases, it is important to have an attorney that is experienced in both arenas. There is a large overlap between a federal defendant's prior state convictions and how those convictions impact sentencing in federal court. James Tedford possesses over 20 years of experience in both arenas and as a result has been very successful at reducing defendants' potential sentencing exposure by taking advantage of certain state statutes that allow for the reduction of convictions to misdemeanors such as Prop 47.

In federal court many individuals are initially charged with a document called a complaint. The complaint is merely a document that is filed with the court describing the offenses the Government claims were violated by the defendant. The defendant will either receive a summons to appear from the court, or a warrant will be issued for the defendant to be arrested and brought before the court.

Arrested for a Federal Crime?

If the defendant was arrested, the initial appearance should occur within 48 hours of the arrest. The initial hearing is a Detention Hearing. At this initial appearance, the accused will receive a copy of the charges and, if the prosecutor seeks to detain the defendant, the defendant's lawyer will have an opportunity to argue for bail.

The federal prosecutor can agree to release someone on bail or contest release, but the ultimate decision about whether to release someone on bail is up to the Judge. Mr. Tedford is very adept at negotiating agreements for release with the United States Attorney's Office. Likewise, if the Government prosecutor will not agree to release the defendant, Mr. Tedford is equally as effective at obtaining release orders from the court.

The next step is a formal charge, by either an indictment or an information. An indictment is filed with the court when the prosecutor has presented evidence before a grand jury and the grand jury finds there is probable cause to believe that the individual has committed a federal crime. Sometimes a defendant will waive their right to an indictment and agree to be charged with an information.

After an Indictment

After an indictment has been filed, the next court appearance is the arraignment, where the defendant is asked to plead guilty or not guilty. In the Central District of California, a federal judge is randomly assigned at the arraignment. During this time the defendant will also be given initial discovery. This may include documents, reports, and records, audio and visual recordings, all from the government's investigation.

There are many ways that a federal criminal matter can be resolved. Every case is unique and as such takes expertise to evaluate and create a strategy that will achieve a favorable result. The majority of federal cases involve some plea negotiations with federal prosecutor called an Assistant United States Attorney. If the parties cannot reach a plea disposition, then the case will proceed to trial.

Call (626) 793-7270 today to speak to a Pasadena criminal defense attorney.

What Happens if You Plead Guilty?

If a defendant pleads guilty, or proceeds to trial and is convicted, the next step is sentencing. This is arguably the most important court appearance in a federal criminal case. Prior to being sentenced, the defendant meets with a Probation Officer to provide background information so the Probation Officer may prepare a Pre-Sentence Report.

Mr. Tedford will attend this meeting with his client and the Probation Officer. The Pre-Sentence Report is supposed to be a neutral report to give the judge background information on the offense and the defendant, and to provide a calculation of the applicable sentencing guidelines.

Prior to the sentencing hearing, the defendant's lawyer will have an opportunity to object to any inaccuracies in the Pre-Sentence Report as well as file a written memorandum stating the defendant's position on what the sentence should be. Mr. Tedford has extensive experience preparing federal sentencing memorandums.

Federal crimes are very serious and require representation by a Pasadena criminal defense attorney who is experienced and respected. If you find yourself being investigated by a federal agency or charged with a federal crime, do not hesitate, call James Tedford before speaking to anyone.

Federal Agencies:

Schedule a free consultation with a Pasadena criminal defense lawyer from Tedford & Associates.