Federal vs. State Court

Watch as Richard C. McConathy discusses how the his law firm approaches defending somebody in state court versus federal court.

Federal vs. State court defense attorney in Dallas, TX

Transcript
Defending a person in federal court is very different from defending someone in the state court system. First and foremost, the feds are going to be extremely aggressive. If you think the state is aggressive, you haven’t seen anything. Most of the time the feds will sit on prosecution for years until they have everything perfectly lined up. They’re not going to move on a man until they know they’ve got him. But, in those particular situations, it’s very important to hire an attorney quickly, get down to the united states attorney’s office, and begin to get in there to see if there could be a way to negotiate for immunity, downward departure, or some other way to avoid a big prison sentence. One of the big factors that separates from the state and the federal level is that in the eighties, congress became nervous with the discretion federal judges had. It was all over the board. Some guy was getting life, another guy was getting a slap on the hand depending on what type of narcotics they were dealing. So, they created the federal guideline rules, which basically gives recommendations to the court which the court then is bound to follow for minimums and maximums. So, it’s a point system. When you get involved in a federal case, you may find yourself in a situation where your fate is already decided. So, its key to get in there, get in there early, and begin the process of negotiation with the united states attorney and trading information. It’s not one of these things where you need to wait around and get arrested and then you wait until you go to court. By the time you do that, the government is done making deals and you’re going to be the odd man out. In addition to that, the federal is very very strict on what they do in federal prison and so if you get twenty years, you’re doing twenty years. Any time you deal with a crime category that crosses state lines you’re going to enter into a federal category. Anytime you deal with the united states postal service, anytime you deal with banking transactions, anytime you deal with communication transactions, that are crossing those dividing lines between the states. Once that happens you’re going to get the feds in that process. In addition, the IRS. Anything that is going to be crimes that are international taking place. Once those happen, the jurisdiction will fall into the federal government and you’re going to go into one of the districts here in Texas, the northern district, or the eastern district. You’re either going to be out of Dallas or Sherman. In these particular instances, it’s important to be aware of what your facing and especially if you’re talking to federal agents without having an attorney present. I have a lot of people come to me after the fact saying, “hey Richard I need your help. I already had my interview with the united states attorney”. Sometimes it’s too late. That’s why you need to get on the phone immediately, find yourself an attorney who handles this situation. Here at this office we’ve been practicing federal defense since 2002, both in the northern and the eastern district. If you run yourself into this situation, get lawyers who know how to handle this defense.

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