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New York Federal Criminal Lawyers

Federal crimes are subject to their own legal process and can have more serious consequences than non-federal criminal charges. For individuals charged with a federal crime in New York, retaining the services of a federal criminal lawyer could make the difference between freedom and incarceration.

Definition Of A Federal Crime

Federal crimes are those malfeasant acts that are deemed illegal by the United States government. When said actions are alleged, they are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBO) and other government entities. Additionally, those charged with these types of crimes and prosecuted by federal courts.

The Federal Crimes Process

Those arrested on suspicion of committing a specific federal offense are subjected to a specific legal process that encompasses several steps.


When federal prosecutors collect what they feel is substantial evidence that an individual has or is committing a federal offense, a complaint is filed. This complaint includes the specific alleged act the suspect is thought to have been committing and the reasons (evidence) needed to convince government authorities that the person in question should be arrested.


Once the prosecutors document this information, government authorities put out an arrest warrant and apprehend the suspect in question.

Initial Appearance Of The Suspect

Shortly after their arrest, the suspect appears before a judge, who will determine of the government possesses enough evidence to indict said individual and set bond. A bond hearing is typically held within three days of the arrest to determine of the suspect should be free to exit custody provided they can pay bond.


Usually, no more than 10 days following the alleged perpetrator’s arrest, a federal court will hold an initial hearing at which prosecutors will provide evidence proving the suspect committed the act in question. This procedure also enables the suspect’s attorney to refute charges. If prosecutors choose to pursue an indictment, the initial evidence is presented to a grand jury. This adjudicating body will ultimately decide whether to grant the indictment.

Federal Arraignment

Should the grand jury grant the indictment, a federal arraignment is held. During this proceeding, formal federal charges are levied against the suspect, the suspect is informed of their rights, the accused enters a guilty or non-guilty plea and a trial date is established.


Should the defendant plead not guilty, the case will be tried in federal court. This proceeding will determine the suspect’s fate. However, in certain instances, the prosecution and defense might agree to a plea deal.


If at the conclusion of the trial, an adjudicating body finds the accused guilty, said individual can make an appeal. appeals must be made within ten days of a guilty verdict.

Types Of Federal Crimes

Common federal offenses include:

Federal Drug Charges

Among the more common federal drug charges include drug trafficking, which is the act of transporting illicit substances across state and international boundaries.

Federal Weapons Charges

Possession of certain firearms or weapons are federal offenses.

White Collar Crimes

These offenses are typically financial in nature and are designed to cheat victims out of money. Common white collar crimes include Ponzi schemes.


These acts (which are typically violent) are often committed by extreme political or religious zealots as a means of intimidation against peoples and institutions whom share views inconsistent with their own.

Other potential federal offenses include cybersecurity crimes (computer hacking, identify theft), kidnapping, counterfeiting, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

The Importance Of Hiring A Federal Criminal Lawyer

Defending a case against the government is usually a daunting task. In most instances, federal prosecutors do not take action against an alleged criminal perpetrator unless they possess serious evidence. it us a federal defense attorney’s responsibility to put as much doubt and uncertainty into the federal authorities case as possible.

Accomplishing this feat requires an extensive knowledge of federal criminal law and significant experience trying federal cases. Though skilled in typical criminal law, a non-federal criminal defense attorney may simply lack this knowledge and experience. Furthermore, the punishments rendered for federal crimes could be harsher than non-federal offenses. Therefore, anyone charged with a federal crime is strongly advised to retain the services of an experienced federal criminal lawyer.

New York Federal Appeals Lawyers

The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants the right to a speedy trial, but that doesn’t apply to federal appeals cases. The U.S. legal system is built around the principle of legal redress of criminal and civil issues, but that legal process is completed after the trial and a legal verdict.

You can challenge the judgment in an appeal, but until appellate judges rule otherwise, the trial’s verdict is the law. appeals are considered investigations into a trial based on solid legal grounds such as a violation of the rules of evidence, improper arrest, juror misconduct or tampering and other issues.

Why Appeals Cases Move So Slowly

appeals cases move slowly – partly by design and partly by the ever-increasing volume of cases. Judges don’t schedule oral arguments in about 80 percent of the cases and handle them administratively through the exchange of briefs. This process can take a long time because judges can’t get instant answers as they do in the structured atmosphere of a hearing.

Federal courts are overwhelmed with cases, but the judges consider each case on its merits because an appeal is actually a charge of wrongdoing against a judge, juror, law enforcement officer or member of the prosecution team in the original trial. Judges don’t want to compound any errors by making further mistakes, so the entire transcript of the trial is reviewed.

The judges, prosecution and defense need time to research the legal issues, find precedents and consider the arguments. All this work takes time, and speeding up the process can lead to errors. Judges are human beings with limited time to devote to work. Even though they have assistants to perform research, each appellate judge handles hundreds of cases. Interspersed with handling appeals, judges also need time to schedule oral arguments and perform other duties.

Developing Reasonable Expectations

A federal appeal isn’t going to change anything right away, so it’s important to adjust your expectations. Most appeals take many months or up to a year or more. It might seem as if the judges are making a simple decision on whether to overturn a judgment, but a lot of thought and investigation goes into each case. The law runs on precedents, and overturning a judgment on appeal sets precedents that could affect many other cases.

There are 94 districts where federal judges preside, and there are 12 Circuit Courts of Appeal that oversee appeals on the decisions of these 94 federal courts. appeals courts normally hear appeals from courts in their districts and appeals from administrative agencies. Circuit courts also hear cases that originate in state courts if they involve charges that a defendant’s rights were violated by local laws or law enforcement actions.

That’s a lot of work for circuit courts, and the backlog of cases increases every day. The Ninth Circuit Court has the slowest closure rate of its appeals cases – 17.4 months. The Ninth Circuit covers California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Idaho. You might get a fairly quick decision if you live in the Fourth Circuit jurisdiction that includes Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia. The Fourth Circuit has the fastest average closure rate of 8.8 months.

Technology Can Only Do So Much

Digital technology can speed up the process to some degree, but judges must read the trial transcript, research legal precedents and consult with teams from both sides. There is a process that takes time. Steps of the process include:

  • The defendant in a criminal case files an appeal based on legal grounds and not to retry his or her case.
  • The appellee, which is usually the government in criminal cases, must file a responsive brief to the appeal.
  • The government is obligated to support any facts with researched citations and other evidence.
  • The appellant can counter the appellee’s assertions with equally stringent evidence.
  • The judges might have questions or need clarification on some of the issues.
  • In about 20 percent of appeals, judges schedule oral arguments to help to finalize their decision.

All of these processes take time and resources, so people considering appealing their cases should understand that the process is anything but simple. No matter how clever and creative your ideas might be, the legal system is based on precedents, and if there’s no legal precedent for your arguments, your appeal is unlikely to succeed. If your rights have been violated by jurors or officers of the court, your appeal overturn the original judgment.

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