State-level law enforcement agencies and judicial authorities in New York typically focus on DUI, drug possession, and other minor fish crimes. Federal law enforcement agencies and judicial authorities usually focus on fraud, drug trafficking, and other significant fish offenses.[1] Frequently, the big fish net catches little fish as well. Under federal conspiracy law, if one member of an organization commits a felony, all members can be charged with a felony.

The focus and laws aren’t the only difference between state and federal courts. Since the voters elect state judges for short terms, these individuals are often accommodating to lawyers. The president appoints federal judges to lifetime terms. Lawyers get no slack in these courtrooms. So, a federal criminal defense lawyer near you must be familiar with all procedural rules, including the unwritten ones. Then, and only then, can an attorney put a defensive plan into action.

Individual Rights During Investigations

Before the 1960s, the Fourth Amendment was a summary of lofty ideals. Today, it looms large in federal criminal investigations. The Supreme Court embraced the exclusionary rule in the 1960s. This rule excludes illegally obtained evidence at trials.

The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. By definition, searches and seizures are reasonable if officers have a valid warrant or a court-sanctioned exception applies, such as:

  • Consent: An owner or apparent owner may voluntarily consent to property searches, like a roommate who isn’t on the lease. Usually, judges allow some law enforcement bullying. But this bullying eventually crosses the line, and the consent becomes involuntary.
  • Plain View: This exception often applies if officers stumble upon contraband while looking for something else. For example, a search warrant might authorize officers to search the garage for drugs. If they see illegal weapons in plain view, in transit, or in the garage, they don’t need a warrant to seize them.
  • Stop and Frisk: This controversial tactic sometimes applies at airports. If TSA or other federal agents see suspicious people in parking lots, they can stop them and pat them down for weapons if that suspicion is based on some evidence of criminal activity.

Judges must approve affidavits that show probable cause before they issue warrants. However, this standard is low. In 2015, an Iowa federal judge ruled that officers had probable cause to stop a motorist for speeding one mph over the speed limit.[2]

Finding the Right Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me

At the minimum, attorneys cannot take federal criminal defense cases unless licensed in federal court. Furthermore, a criminal defense lawyer near you should be experienced in federal court and dedicated to such matters.

The New York State Bar licenses attorneys. To practice law in federal court, attorneys must meet additional requirements.

Teenagers might have driver’s licenses, but they aren’t experienced drivers. Likewise, a license to practice law in federal court doesn’t make someone an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer near you. As mentioned, federal court procedure is complex. Attorneys must know what they’re doing.

That’s where dedication comes in. Many attorneys handle a few federal criminal cases on the side, primarily for friends and family. Dedicated attorneys are thoroughly familiar with all the rules. Furthermore, dedicated attorneys have staying power. They don’t look for a quick and easy way out.

Individual Rights During Case Resolution

The Eighth Amendment forbids cruel and unusual punishment. Depending on your perspective, this provision might or might not ban capital punishment. The Eighth Amendment affects how a federal criminal defense lawyer near you resolves cases.

Plea bargains resolve 98 percent of federal criminal cases.[3] Under the Eighth Amendment, the punishment must fit the crime. Judges won’t approve plea bargain arrangements that “make an example” out of the defendant or are otherwise unduly harsh. So, during plea negotiations, the Eighth Amendment is the ace in the hole.

Compared to state court, federal court is like a grown-up court. Contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi for a free consultation with an experienced DWI defense lawyer in Rochester. Convenient payment plans are available.






The information in this blog is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.

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