There are certain types of criminal charges that come with particularly severe penalties. Federal charges are an elevated form of criminal offenses that come with the potential for consequences that may include time in prison and more. If you are facing federal criminal charges, or you are currently under investigation by West Virginia or federal authorities for this type of offense, you may benefit from learning more about what you can expect from the federal criminal justice process.
An understanding of the process may provide you with insight as you seek to develop the best possible defense strategy for your individual situation. With much at stake, you will benefit from taking immediate action to defend your interests and protect your rights at every step. Anything you say can be of use against you during a criminal proceeding, which makes it especially important to shield yourself from the earliest possible stage.
The stages to expect
After an arrest for a federal criminal offense, there are several steps that will happen before you appear in court. You can expect the following stages when navigating the federal criminal justice system:
- The pretrial stage — Typically, this stage begins with an investigation into alleged criminal activity. If there is a determination that a crime took place, law enforcement officers may seek an arrest warrant. The pretrial stage also includes the initial appearance, the arraignment and plea bargaining.
- The trial stage — During the trial, the government will have the opportunity to present evidence against you, but you will also have the opportunity to challenge the prosecution’s case and present evidence that supports your defense.
- The post-trial stage — If convicted, you may have the opportunity to appeal your sentence or your conviction. This may involve hearings, and you may have to appear in court.
While each case is different, knowing the basic idea of what you can expect from this process can allow you to move forward with confidence.
A defense of your rights, interests and personal freedom
If you are facing federal criminal charges, you will benefit from taking immediate action to protect yourself. You have the right to a presumption of innocence, as well as the right to confront any evidence against you. If you are under investigation or already facing charges, you may benefit from speaking with an experienced professional regarding the specific defense options you have available to you.