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3 things to know if you’re facing federal charges in Illinois

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Being arrested for a federal crime is a serious matter that requires an immediate strategic response. If you have been taken into custody or questioned by federal agents, or if you believe you may be under investigation, you should waste no time in seeking counsel from a criminal defense lawyer with experience in federal cases.

1) Federal charges are usually the result of lengthy investigations

In most federal cases, criminal charges are brought after investigators have developed significant evidence over a period of time. Sometimes evidence is gathered over the course of years. Federal prosecutors are very meticulous, and if you are facing a federal charge of any kind, you should assume that federal authorities have been working on the case for some time.

However, that does not mean that federal agents and prosecutors are immune to mistakes. Thousands of people are charged with federal crimes and eventually are acquitted, or the charges are dropped, even in cases that have taken many months for prosecutors to develop.

All of this underscores the importance of putting a skilled federal criminal defense lawyer on your side as soon as possible if you are accused of a federal crime. You need an attorney who is as experienced and meticulous as the prosecutors.

2) Exercise your 5th Amendment rights

This is often the most important thing you can do in any type of criminal case: exercise your right to remain silent, and tell investigators that you want to talk to your attorney. Even if you think your responses to questions are innocent or even courteous, investigators and prosecutors are skilled at using your seemingly innocuous statements against you. If you are questioned or arrested by federal authorities, politely decline to answer their questions and request an attorney.

3) Not all defense attorneys are experienced in federal cases

Federal courts are run very differently than local and state courts. An attorney may be familiar with and successful in a local court, but the same attorney may have no experience in defending against federal charges in federal court. Additionally, federal cases involve federal charges that often involve federal sentencing guidelines. You need an attorney who is familiar with these matters and who has defended clients facing the prosecutorial power of the federal government. Don’t put your case in the hands of a less experienced lawyer.

For more on these matters, please see our federal criminal defense overview.