How Does A Federal Court Case Work?

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federal criminal defense attorney mnFederal crimes are handled quite differently from crimes charged at the local and state level. First and foremost, a federal crime is prosecuted by a federal branch — specifically, the United States Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division. This division has seven different branches that prosecute different crimes. Which branch prosecutes your case will depend on what kind of charges you’ve been accused of. The seven branches of the U.S. Attorney’s Criminal Division are:

*Major fraud
*Reactive crimes
*Financial litigation
*General crimes
*Narcotics enforcement
*Cyberspace crimes and national security
*Appellate

As with other court cases, a federal trial requires jury selection at the outset. Both the federal prosecutors and the defense are allowed to question each of the potential jurors in an effort to disqualify biased or impartial candidates. However, the judge that will preside over the case has the final call over who makes the jury.

The rest of the trial process will look familiar to anyone who’s ever been involved in or watched a non-federal trial. Each side presents opening arguments, with the U.S. attorney going first. Then each side presents evidence to attempt to prove their side right. Both the defense and prosecution can also challenge any evidence that is presented, with the judge referring to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to determine whether or not each individual piece of evidence is admissible. Finally, both sides have a final chance to make their case with closing arguments, before the jury goes into deliberation to choose whether they find the defendant guilty or not guilty. It’s worth remembering that in a federal trial, the jury verdict is required to be unanimous.

In the event that a guilty verdict is rendered, the next step of the case is the sentencing process. Before sentencing is done, there is a chance for the court to retrieve and take in information that has the potential to influence the sentencing by making it lighter or heavier. It’s the judge who makes the final choice as to what the sentence is, so they will weigh any evidence while deciding how harsh things should be. Make sure you hire the best Minneapolis criminal defense attorney, Birrell Law Firm, for your Federal Case.

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