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Former Assistant District Attorney
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

What steps are involved in a federal criminal case?

On Behalf of | Jul 30, 2021 | Federal Crimes

When charged with a crime, it is crucial to understand that the details will play a substantial role in your case. One of the first matters you may want to consider is whether your case involves charges that the state of Mississippi will address alone or whether you face federal charges that will involve federal government agencies as part of the case. In the latter scenario, you likely face the risk of more serious charges and potential consequences.

Like with any criminal charge, if you face federal accusations, you have the right to create and present a criminal defense against them. Your case may have more complex aspects to it than a state-level case, but you still have legal rights no matter the level at which authorities charge you.

Understanding the process

Whether authorities have already filed charges against you or an investigation is underway with you at the center as a suspect, it pays to understand the process involved with a federal case. Some of the more general steps that typically apply to most federal cases include the following:

  • An investigation by a federal agency or multiple agencies, depending on the nature of the suspected crime
  • Determining whether a federal crime has occurred
  • Arrest of a suspect or gathering of more evidence before making an arrest
  • Presentation of evidence to a grand jury, which will decide whether to indict a suspect on charges
  • Filing of charges, if applicable
  • An initial appearance by the suspect in front of a judge, who will inform the suspect of the charges and his or her rights
  • An arraignment in which the suspect may enter his or her plea of guilty or not guilty
  • Discovery period in which additional information about the case may be requested and obtained from the other party, such as the defendant demanding evidence from the prosecutor
  • The criminal trial, which will likely take place in front of a jury

Again, this list represents only a general and broad description of the process involved in a federal case. Each step can take a considerable amount of time to complete, and the specifics of your case will determine how these steps are handled. If you hope to handle your case as well as possible, gaining additional information that relates to the charges and circumstances of your predicament is prudent.