Federal Crimes & Charges
Understanding Federal Crimes & Charges
In St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties, being investigated for or getting charged with a criminal offense that violates Federal law is a serious matter. Having a defense lawyer with experienced success inside a Federal courtroom is crucial. Brian Mallonee is a board certified criminal trial lawyer and successfully defends cases in Federal court on a regular basis.
Federal cases are very different than cases brought in state court. The cases move very fast and the ultimate sentence is generally up to the Judge, no matter what the "agreement" between the government and the defense may be. In Federal court the rules of procedure are different, the rules of evidence are different, discovery is different and the potential penalties can be extremely harsh. If a grand jury indictment is handed down, the first step is to try and convince the court to free the accused on bail. This takes place within a few days of the arrest at a pre-trial detention hearing. A variety of factors are considered by the court, but most of the focus is usually on whether or not the accused presents a risk of flight (fleeing the jurisdiction) or a danger to society.
After the pre-trial detention hearing, the case will move even faster. Pre-trial motions need to be investigated, researched, filed, and argued. If there is to be a trial, it will generally be set within 70 days of the date of arrest.This is the type of case best handled by a criminal lawyer.
A jury trial can feel very confrontational and an experienced Federal criminal lawyer can mean the difference between freedom and a lengthy incarceration.
If a case results in a plea, an intimate knowledge of the Federal sentencing guidelines is vital. Basically the guidelines are a bunch of recommended sentencing penalties that depend on a slew of variables that have to be carefully scrutinized.
Recent changes in the law dictate that the guidelines are only advisory, meaning the judge can look at them for advice, but the ultimate sentence is up to the court. This is a welcome change because it gives your Federal criminal attorney an opportunity to be an advocate and try and persuade a judge to sentence someone "below the guidelines." It also makes your choice of Federal criminal lawyers a very important one. If you enter a plea, your attorney needs to know how to convince a Federal judge that you are worthy of a lenient sentence.
After your defense lawyer conducts a thorough investigation and negotiates with the U.S. Attorney's office, you may decide to exercise your right to a trial by jury. If you are going to trial in a Federal court on Federal charges, you want a lawyer experienced in Federal court and Federal charges. Additionally, you need an experienced Federal criminal attorney who actually cares and who has special skills to persuade a jury of your innocence.
Hiring "local counsel" is often a wise move. Although special favors and "secret winks" are generally a myth, having a Federal criminal defense lawyer who has earned credibility over the course of time can never hurt. Familiarity with local law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges can be a distinct advantage when trying to negotiate a deal or "handicap" an important ruling.
The U.S. Attorney's office for the southern district of Florida prosecutes Federal cases in Fort Pierce. The cases heard in Fort Pierce arise from alleged conduct that takes place in the counties of St. Lucie (Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie), Indian River (Vero Beach, Sebastian), Martin (Stuart, Jensen Beach, Palm City), Okeechobee, and Highlands. The Law Office of Brian H. Mallonee is located in downtown Fort Pierce near the Federal courthouse.
If you have questions about an ongoing Federal investigation or pending Federal charges, feel free to contact Federal criminal defense lawyer Brian Mallonee at for a criminal defense attorney free consultation.