A couple mornings ago I heard financial Guru Jim Cramer talking about the Feds – in particular, he was talking about potential criminal charges against stock traders or sellers:

"The most frightening thing in the world is to go up against the US Attorney. They have unlimited resources and you don’t!"

He is absolutely correct. 

The United States Attorney’s office prosecutes federal cases and they do in fact have unlimited money and perhaps, more importantly, power. Every time I’m involved in the criminal case against the United States, it is clear that they are months or sometimes years ahead of me. By that I mean that they have already spent tons of money and hours investigating the allegations. By the time charges are filed, federal investigators have combed through documents, and built a case against my client that may be virtually impossible to crack.

So, should you fear the feds? Yes!

If you have to do battle with the federal government, you better strap it on and be ready for the fight of your life. They play for keeps. There is no federal probation and parole to provide an easy out for an innocent person caught in their web. And as George Washington said over 200 years ago, "government is not reason, it is power."

If you are facing a federal investigation, here are 3 steps you must take immediately:

Number 1. Don’t talk. Federal investigators are trained to get everybody in a case talking. They play nice. They sit you down in a room and offer you a drink, and then they get you to pour your heart out. Everybody in America has heard that he or she has a "right to remain silent," but nobody ever remains silent. So don’t talk. Don’t tell them your story. Sit tight and zip your lips.

You cannot talk your way out of a criminal charge when it comes to the feds.

It will not happen, despite the inner voice that tells you if you would only explain your side of the story the nice federal special agents would understand that you are really not guilty. Life does not work that way.

Number 2. Get the best lawyer you can afford, immediately.  You have the right to counsel to assist you with respect to a potential criminal investigation. From my experience, the people who do the best when it comes to the feds are those who have had counsel and remained silent. An experienced criminal defense lawyer is going to be able to guide you through the process. But notice that I said experienced. I mean a criminal defense lawyer who has had experience with federal cases. Do not hire some young lawyer who has never had a federal case. You are not doing yourself any favors by doing so.

Number 3. Get ready for a long ride. The feds investigate, and investigate, and investigate some more, and at some moment in time years after they first considered your case, they indict. An indictment is a charging process for federal crimes. You have an absolute constitutional right to not face any federal felony offense unless there has been an indictment by grand jury. But a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich if asked to by a federal prosecutor. So do not expect that a federal investigation will be "fast and furious," quite the opposite it will be slow, deliberate, and painstakingly done by investigators who are well-trained and analysts who examine each and every inch of each and every document or item at issue. The truth is the federal government has a huge head start by the time a person is indicted in federal court.

By the time you face a federal criminal charge, government and its agents have been working perhaps for years in building a case against you that they consider to be so solid you will have no choice but to admit your guilt, take your punishment, and provide them with a conviction statistic.

If all this sounds little cynical, perhaps it is. After 31 years facing federal authorities on behalf of clients in cases across the United States, I have tremendous respect for the attorneys, investigators, and agents who bring these matters before the court. But I also understand that federal charges can be so broad as to ensnare a perfectly innocent person. When you look at the statistics shall see that roughly 95% of persons charged with federal crimes ultimately either plead guilty or are found guilty. A person found guilty faces a federal sentencing guideline structure that makes it very difficult to stay out of jail or prison.

For all these reasons, if you are facing a criminal charge in federal court, you need to play the game carefully, and you need someone who has experience to guide you through the process.

If you are facing federal charges give us a call. Whether we can take your case or not, we can certainly point you in the right direction. You can learn more about this subject by checking on my prior post.




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