How to Choose a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

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When you have been charged with a federal crime, the stakes are high. You need a lawyer with experience, who understands the unique requirements of defending a client in federal court, is not afraid or intimidated by the federal government, and will not back down.

Most people, and even many lawyers, are not familiar with the process of a federal criminal case filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

If you are under investigation or have been charged with a crime in federal court, choosing a federal criminal defense attorney should be your top priority. But you may not know where to turn, or how to go about finding a federal criminal defense lawyer.

Understand What Criminal Cases are Filed in Federal Court

Federal crimes are investigated and enforced by federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Federal Trade Commission, (FTC), the Federal Commodities Commission (FCTC), Trading and Immigration, Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Criminal charges commonly filed in criminal court include financial and securities fraud, healthcare fraud, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, tax fraud, corporate fraud, environmental fraud and drug cases.

If you believe you are under investigation or have been arrested by a federal agency, you should make finding a federal criminal defense lawyer your top priority.

Finding a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

When beginning the process of finding a federal criminal defense lawyer, most people search online, ask friends or family for a recommendation, or contact the local bar association. But use caution. Very few lawyers have experience defending people accused of crimes in federal court. Federal criminal defense is an extremely specialized area of practice. The stakes are high, and it is essential that you have an experienced lawyer on your side. Further, the federal sentencing guidelines are extremely complex and require special expertise in order to avoid draconian sentences.

Understand that litigation is different from a transactional practice, civil litigation is different from criminal defense, and there is a huge difference between defending someone in state court versus federal court. Just because someone is a lawyer does not mean they should represent you in a federal criminal case. The federal criminal legal system is incredibly complex. In fact, the federal investigative and criminal justice processes are so unique that many lawyers do not fully understand what is involved in litigating a federal criminal case.

When you are under investigation by the FBI, DOJ, DEA, IRS, SEC, ATF, , FTC, FCTC, EPA or ICE, you are dealing with highly skilled agents who have spent their careers in law enforcement. When choosing a federal criminal defense attorney, you need a lawyer who understands the process and who has experience in dealing with these investigations and prosecutions.

Experience Matters When Choosing a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

In today’s legal marketplace, the lawyer with the biggest megaphone may seem like the best choice. But that’s rarely the case. When you go about the process of finding a criminal defense lawyer, experience matters. And not just any experience — relevant experience.

You need a lawyer who understands the rigors of litigating a federal case and has spent their career developing and refining their skills so they can give you the advice you need to make informed decisions about your case.

You also need a lawyer who understands your business. The best federal criminal defense lawyer won’t just have an in-depth understanding of federal criminal statutes, sentencing guidelines, and relevant case law. They will also understand their client’s industry and the unique place their client’s business occupies within that space. A lawyer who understands your industry will ask the right questions to prepare a thorough defense. Ms. Lefeber uses a team of experienced forensic experts to analyze the financial aspects of your case and your business in order to deconstruct the government’s case and get the best results for you.

Narrow the List

Once you have narrowed your search, interview federal criminal defense attorneys to find someone who is qualified, who you feel comfortable with, and whom you can trust. You may wish to ask for references from past clients, about the types of cases they handle, and the best way to communicate with them. You should also ask about cost. Understand whether you are being charged an hourly rate of a flat fee, and the case expenses you will be responsible for in addition to the lawyer’s fee.

Choose the Best Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer and Move Forward with Your Defense

Ultimately, choosing a federal criminal defense attorney is about doing your research and finding an attorney with whom you feel comfortable. Don’t be afraid to reach out to multiple lawyers to find the best federal criminal defense attorney for you. When your freedom is on the line, it is well worth it to invest time in finding a federal criminal defense lawyer who is best for you.

New York City federal criminal defense lawyer Hope Lefeber has over 30 years of experience defending people of crimes in federal court. She began her career as an enforcement agent with the United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). Today, she uses that experience to defend people against criminal charges in federal court. She has earned a reputation as a tenacious and fearless advocate who is meticulously prepared and is not afraid to fight for her client’s rights.

To learn more about Hope Lefeber and schedule a free and confidential consultation, call the Law Offices of Hope Lefeber today.

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