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Federal criminal cases require a lot of work for defendants

People with criminal charges in this country have to think about what court they are facing when deciding how to handle their defense strategy. Each court has the same purpose and many of the same procedures, but there are small differences that can impact cases before the judge.

The federal criminal justice system is mystifying to some people. However, many of the same procedures apply to all courts. Here are some important points to remember if you are facing federal charges:

Prosecutor's burden

In all criminal cases, whether at the federal or state level, the burden to prove your guilt in on the prosecutor. The job of the defense is to show why there are reasonable doubts about the prosecutor's claims.

One big difference between federal and state cases is that federal prosecutors often have more resources at their disposal. They might be able to do more in depth investigations and may have higher quality tests, such as substance testing methods, than state courts. Because of the vast resources of a federal prosecutor, defendants facing them in court should take the time to prepare their case without trying to rush at the last minute.

Multiple court appearances

There are many different steps that a federal case might go through. Many of these include hearings before the court. There will likely be at least two pretrial hearings. One is a bail hearing during which the court determines what type of bail and the amount of surety you need to put up to be released from jail while your case is moving through the court system. The other is the arraignment, which is when you will let the court know how if you are pleading guilty or not guilty.

You might go through a trial. There is a possibility that you will be able to work out a plea deal. In this case, you would have a hearing that allows the court to determine if the deal is acceptable.

If you are found guilty or plead guilty, you will go through a sentencing hearing. This is when you will find out what punishment the court is imposing in your case. If there is a chance that you will be incarcerated, you should prepare for this before the sentencing hearing.

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