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Federal criminal case steps and procedures

There are few things more frightening than facing a federal criminal trial in Alabama or elsewhere. For many, just the word “federal” ups the ante, inspiring fear, stress and lots of anxiety. It is true that federal cases are serious and could result in stiff penalties upon conviction, but an attorney looking after your best interests will guide you carefully through the process while developing an aggressive defense on your behalf.

Here is what you can expect if you are involved in a federal criminal case.

The first significant courtroom procedure will be a pretrial in which the judge will speak with the defendant about the charges. The judge will also decide whether enough evidence exists to schedule a trial. The defendant will enter his or her plea at the pretrial as well.

Once the trial begins, attorneys for both sides can request motions such as suppression of evidence in certain circumstances. They will also argue their cases, the prosecution arguing that the defendant is guilty and the defense arguing just the opposite. Pretrial evidence will also be submitted for the jury during the trial.

The burden of proof lies with the government, which means the prosecution provided by the government must deliver enough evidence to the jury to convince the panel of the defendant’s guilt. If a guilty verdict is rendered, the judge will determine a sentence, but if the jury votes not guilty, the defendant is released and can never be tried for this particular crime again.

Knowing what to expect can lessen the anxiety associated with federal cases. You can find out more by visiting our firm’s detailed criminal defense webpages.