The United States court system is divided up into state courts and federal courts. Most criminal cases are brought by state prosecutors in state court. However, the federal government has broad discretion when determining which cases it wants to pursue. Typically, federal prosecutors only pick up the most serious cases or those that involve offenses committed in multiple states. Thus, these cases are often extraordinarily complex and present extremely high states. It is essential for anyone facing federal charges to reach out to a federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
At Robinson Law, PLLC, we’ve assembled a dedicated team of federal criminal defense lawyers to serve clients across Virginia. Our Fairfax law firm handles all types of federal crimes, including:
- Federal drug cases,
- Federal child pornography offenses,
- Federal theft and fraud cases,
- Federal gun charges, and
- Federal DUI/DWI charges
Virginia has two federal courts, the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the District Court for the Western District of Virginia.
The Eastern District of Virginia federal courthouses are located in Norfolk, Alexandria, Richmond and Newport News:Norfolk
Walter E. Hoffman United States Courthouse
600 Granby Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
Albert V. Bryan Courthouse
401 Courthouse Square
Alexandria, VA 22314
Spottswood W. Robinson III and Robert R. Merhige, Jr., Federal Courthouse
701 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
United States Courthouse
2400 West Avenue
Newport News, VA 23607
The Western District of Virginia federal courthouses are located in Abingdon, Big Stone Gap, Charlottesville, Danville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, and Roanoke.
If you face charges in federal court, there could be a few reasons why federal prosecutors decided to pick up your case. You could be facing federal charges because you committed a crime on federal property, which can easily happen in Fairfax County because of the numerous federal agencies and buildings in the area. Also, crimes committed in national parks or on military property may result in different charges than you would normally face in Fairfax County.
Another possible reason why a case is brought in federal court is that it involves multiple states. For example, wire fraud, child pornography, and other crimes involving the internet or other telecommunications devices often trigger federal jurisdiction.
Finally, sometimes the federal government brings a case because the case involves a matter of public concern or the feds do not believe that the state prosecutors have sufficient resources to adequately prosecute the case.
In many cases, the first indication that you are under investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office will be a target letter. This is a letter, normally sent to you by an Assistant US Attorney, informing you that the court intends to put information related to you and a specific charge or charges in front of a Grand Jury. The practical upshot of this is that they are trying to tell you that they will be seeking to officially charge you with a crime. If this happens, you need to contact a Virginia federal lawyer right away.
This letter will have some information about the charge or charges. The letter will likely advise you to have an attorney. Make sure to consult with a federal attorney prior to contacting any prosecutor in these situations. If you make any statements to law enforcement, those statements may negatively impact your case down the road.
Hiring an attorney at this point is crucial for several reasons. First, a lawyer experienced in the Federal Court system will explain the charges to you more fully, discuss possible penalties and advise you on how to proceed. Secondly, if you have an attorney reach out to the Assistant United States Attorney, he or she can obtain information and review any evidence. If this is accomplished prior to any charges being officially filed, you and your attorney may determine the next best move.
Your federal attorney will be equipped with information on your case to see if there is sufficient evidence to consider a plea agreement, cooperation or a trial. Third, if you do decide that a plea agreement or cooperation is the best option for you, by entering into an agreement early and “pre-indictment,” you frequently can receive certain reductions in the sentencing guidelines that you might not have had otherwise. Fourth, this allows you and your attorney to take some measure of control over the speed of the proceedings and may allow you to better position yourself and your family given the likely consequences.Do You Need a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Absolutely. If you face federal criminal charges, there is a tremendous amount at stake. Federal prosecutors are among the most highly skilled prosecutors in the country, and federal judges impose harsh sentences under the United States Sentencing Guidelines. The result is that there is too much on the line to risk having an attorney who is not familiar with how federal criminal cases are handled.Are You Under Investigation for a Federal Crime?
If you recently learned that you are under investigation for a federal crime, it is essential that you quickly reach out to a federal criminal defense lawyer at Robinson Law, PLLC. The skilled attorneys at Robinson Law have decades of experience handling cases on behalf of clients charged with extremely serious crimes in federal court and know what it takes to mount a successful defense in even the toughest cases. We are immediately available to meet with you to discuss your case, review your options, and get started on creating a compelling defense to the charges against you. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys today, call (888) 259-9787.