Thanks to movies and television, most people have an automatic idea that comes to mind when they hear terms such as federal prosecution, federal crime or federal investigation. These images range from courtroom sketches of defendants in front of the judge, federal agents carrying boxes out of a business, and, of course, the infamous “perp walk.”
While none of this is necessarily inaccurate, it is important to understand that these images are part of a much larger process. The entire process starts with an initial investigation. Understanding more about a federal criminal investigation can help a person understand what to expect if they are facing this situation.
In any federal criminal case, the first step is a thorough investigation. This is designed to gather and provide U.S. Attorneys with the evidence necessary to prove the crime in question.
These investigations are handled by a number well-known agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation; however, they may also be handled by lesser known entities, such as Homeland Security Investigation and the U.S. Secret Service.
The majority of federal investigations require a private home or other privately owned property to be searched to secure evidence. As a result, federal agents have to take the proper steps to make sure they don’t violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits illegal searches and seizures. This means that the agency handling the case will have to secure a search warrant first.
To acquire a search warrant, the investigating agency has to be supported by probable cause that is secured from a federal judge who is “neutral and detached.” If there is a failure by the federal law enforcement to take this important step, it will likely result in the evidence being gathered during the investigation being suppressed, or, declared inadmissible when the case goes to court.
Prosecuting the Case
After the investigation and evidence gathering process are complete, all of the evidence gathered is given to the federal prosecutor. This is who is going to examine everything presented and determine if the government should present the case to a federal grand jury.
If you are currently under investigation for a federal crime, it is in your best interest to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as you can. They can outline your options and help to protect your rights. Selecting the right criminal defense lawyer in Miami is an important decision so make sure to take your time and find someone who is capable of handling the situation.
To learn more about criminal defense, or to discuss your situation, contact The Hansen Law Firm in Miami.