Defending Colorado Federal Cases – Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer – H. Michael Steinberg
Understanding The Federal Criminal Court System In Colorado
Another Court System Next Door – The Federal Criminal Justice System
Federal Criminal Cases do not receive much attention in Colorado and while Colorado has a courthouse in the county seat of every county in the state and the cities also have courts of their own, an entirely parallel criminal justice system exists in Colorado, that is…. the federal court system.
Article III of the U.S. Constitution establishes the federal judicial branch of government, and gave Congress the power to create the federal court system. This resulted in the federal court system we have today, including the two federal districts in Colorado.
Federal courts interpret the constitutionality of federal laws. They also interpret and apply these laws which include all federal criminal laws. While Colorado State courts have broad jurisdiction – the federal courts only have the jurisdiction that is granted to them through Congress.
The first or preliminary question in any federal criminal case is why is this case in federal and not state court? If jurisdiction does not “lie” in federal court is improper, then the case must be dismissed and re-filed in state court.
However – Congress enacts so many federal criminal laws that grant jurisdiction to federal courts over so many different kinds of cases over the past 230 years, that almost all criminal conduct is capable of being prosecuted either in state court or federal court. The courts are dramatically different and you must know this: if you are charged in federal court, your case will be vastly more complex – and yes – more dangerous than if it were prosecuted in Colorado state court.
How Is Federal Court is Different – Why Do You Need a Colorado Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
Federal court is different – depending on the case – your result in federal court may be better or worse than a comparable charge in state court. I know of many – (if not most) – criminal defense attorneys who simply will not handle federal matters. These cases are complex, the penalties are tough – there are many mandatory sentences -and therefore the skills and knowledge that are required for success only develop after many many years of experience in the state and federal courtrooms of Colorado.
To be successful it is critical that the Colorado Federal criminal defense lawyer …….
….know the Federal Criminal Code, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. A good federal criminal defense lawyer will design a plan for the most favorable result and will avoid making the mistakes that can have disastrous consequences. He or she will also keep you and your loved ones informed throughout the process.
Beginning immediately after your initial contact with federal investigators and continuing through trial and appeal- here is a link to an interesting sentencing case I handled through appeal in Colorado United States v Dennis Herula…
An experienced Colorado federal criminal defense attorney can guide you through the frightening federal criminal – compelling the system to accord you your rights and forcing the AUSA (the prosecutor) to follow the law.
The Investigation of Federal Criminal Cases Is Different
Federal criminal cases are typically investigated by the federal law enforcement agencies – the federal agencies have complex investigation divisions – ALL operating independent of each other and ALL having different law enforcement and political agendas. Examples of these agencies include – but are not limited to:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
- Secret Service
- United State’s Marshal Service
- Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- Department of Homeland Security
- U.S. Attorney’s Office, Dept. of Justice (DOJ),
- Border Patrol,
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS),
- Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF),
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- The U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office
The Colorado State – Federal Task Force
Commonly state and federal law enforcement agencies will form task forces that assist each other with investigations as well… most often these involve drug task forces…such as the Southern Colorado Violent Gang Safe Streets Task Force.
The Fed’s are patient and secretive. The investigative tool of the federal grand jury can mean that a federal investigation may take months or years. In most instances – you will not even know you are the target. These investigations tend to be extremely detailed, and the feds have access to much more sophisticated resources and tools (wiretaps, extensive informant networks, etc.) to enhance their investigations – MUCH more than a typical state or local police department will have.
The Prosecution of Federal Criminal Cases – The How ands The Why
Federal criminal cases are prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office. There is a U.S. Attorney’s Office located in Denver, Colorado to serve the Northern District of Colorado.
Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) in these offices serve as the prosecutors in federal cases. They may only prosecute federal crimes, and work closely with other federal law enforcement agencies in both the investigative and trial stages of a federal prosecution.
AUSA’s receive special training in federal criminal law, they are smart and they typically are very experienced prosecutors. A seasoned Colorado federal criminal defense lawyer will be comfortable working with them, and against them…. others – inexperienced in the federal criminal experience – will be intimidated.
The Federal Criminal Process
Every case is different, however the basic framework of a federal criminal prosecution below.
A successful federal criminal defense begins early…..
If you are contacted by federal investigators for any reason, you need to contact a Colorado Federal Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. Their techniques for getting you to cooperate with them are very sophisticated, and biding your time politely while refraining from making any statements until you retain a lawyer will be one of the hardest things for you to do in your case.
In the beginning it is important to find out whether they are interested in you as a potential suspect, as a potential witness, or if they simply need some information. These people mean business, and if they are focused on you it is highly recommended that you contact a lawyer immediately.
A successful federal criminal defense requires a trial lawyer with the right experience.
Federal Cases – AFTER Indictment – Move Very Fast
Another distinction between federal and state criminal cases is that federal cases move much faster to trial. The lawyer must begin preparing cases for trial immediately upon being retained.
This will contribute to better results in most cases, as it forces the defense lawyer to develop the best possible defense and provides for the time necessary to investigate and gather the information necessary for success.
The Federal Sentencing Guidelines
A successful federal criminal defense requires knowledge of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines
Most federal cases are going to make it to the sentencing phase – this is where a federal criminal lawyer with experience working with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines will make the most difference in your case. Federal sentencing has become a highly complex part of every case.
There can be a tremendous variance in sentences, even in similar cases. It is imperative for your lawyer to have a working knowledge of the federal sentencing guidelines – your freedom depends on it.
Typical Federal Crimes
Congress has made at least 4450 crimes subject to federal jurisdiction, and continues to add more each year.
- Federal Drug Crimes
- Mail Fraud
- Wire Fraud
- Bank Fraud
- Bankruptcy Fraud
- Identity Theft
- Antitrust Violations
- Child Pornography
- Immigration Law Violations
- Bank Robbery
- Federal Gun Offenses
- Money Laundering
- Federal Property Crimes
Typical Areas of Federal Criminal Representation – What Do You Need Us To Do?
Representation before you are charged (if you are being investigated)
Federal Detention – Bond and Bail Hearings
Post-Conviction Relief – Sentence Reconsiderations
What Our Firm Does
If you are being investigated or accused of any federal offense, federal prosecutors have the full power and resources of the federal government at their disposal, to prove you guilty, and maximize your sentence.
H. Michael has been the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Panel Representative for over a decade – handling federal criminal cases when the Federal Public Defender has a conflict. In addition to the casework – he attends specialized training in federal criminal law, and stays on top of developments in the federal court system.
Areas Of Expertise
Title 18 Federal Offenses
White Collar Offenses
•Access Device Fraud (credit card fraud)
•Identity Theft Fraud
•False Statement to a Federal Agent
•Conspiracy/Aiding and Abetting
•Traveling Across State Lines to Commit Sex Act
•Importation/Exportation of a controlled substance
Crimes of Violence
•Murder for Hire
•Forcible Sex Acts
Title 21 Federal Offenses
•Importation/Exportation of a controlled substance
Title 28 Federal Offenses
•2255 Habeas Corpus
When your freedom and future are at stake in Colorado Federal Cases…
…… call H. Michael Steinberg and expect that he is going to work with you to provide the best legal advocacy and representation possible.