Mississippi Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
Federal Criminal Court – An Overview
Mississippi has a courthouse sitting in the county seat of every county in the state, and most counties and cities have courts of their own. These courts comprise Mississippi’s state court system. But a parallel court system exists in Mississippi, that being the federal court system. Article III of the U.S. Constitution establishes the federal judicial branch of government, and gave Congress the power to create the federal court system. This resulted in the federal court system we have today, including the two federal districts in Mississippi, the Northern District and the Southern District.
Federal courts determine the constitutionality of federal laws, and interpret and apply them, including federal criminal law. Unlike state courts, federal courts only have the jurisdiction that is granted to them through Congress. So the preliminary question in any federal criminal case is by what authority is the case in federal court? If it can be shown that jurisdiction in federal court is improper, then the case can be thrown out. The reality is, however, that Congress has enacted so many federal criminal laws, and granted jurisdiction to federal courts over so many different kinds of cases over the past 230 years, that almost all criminal conduct is capable of being prosecuted either in state court or federal court. Ultimately you need to know this: if you are charged in federal court, your case will be vastly different than if it were prosecuted in Mississippi state court.
Federal Court is Different – You Need a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
Being prosecuted in federal court is different – depending on your situation it may be better or worse than state court – but it is different. Some criminal defense attorneys do not handle federal matters, because the matters tend to be complex, and the penalties are extremely harsh and unforgiving. Certain skills and knowledge are required, and it is important that your attorney be well-versed in the Federal Criminal Code, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. A good federal criminal defense lawyer will help you design a plan to avoid the mistakes that can be made if your case is not defended properly. And a great federal criminal defense lawyer will keep you informed throughout the process.
Beginning immediately after your initial contact with federal investigators and continuing through trial and appeal, an experienced Mississippi federal criminal defense attorney can guide you through this potentially dangerous process, and force the federal government to follow the law. This firm’s mission in every criminal case is to produce positive results for you through detailed and dedicated personal attention, and proactive investigation and defense work.
Investigation of Federal Criminal Cases
Federal criminal cases are typically investigated by the federal law enforcement agencies that you have heard of before, including, but not limited to:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
- Secret Service
- Marshal’s Service
- Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- Department of Homeland Security
- Numerous others
Occasionally state and federal law enforcement agencies form task forces to assist each other with investigations as well.
A federal investigation may take months or years, and you may not even know you are the target. Federal investigations tend to be extremely detailed, and the feds have access to much more sophisticated resources and tools (wiretaps, extensive informant networks, etc.) to conduct their investigations than a typical local police department may have.
Prosecution of Federal Criminal Cases
Federal criminal cases are prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office. There is a U.S. Attorney’s Office located in Oxford, Mississippi to serve the Northern District of Mississippi, and offices in Jackson, Mississippi and Gulfport, Mississippi to serve the Southern District of Mississippi. The Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) in these offices serve as the prosecutors in federal cases; they only prosecute federal crimes, and they work closely with the federal law enforcement agencies mentioned above in both the investigative and trial stages of a federal prosecution. These attorneys receive special training in federal criminal law, and they typically are very experienced prosecutors. Make sure your lawyer respects them, but is comfortable working with them, and against them.
The Federal Criminal Process
Every case is different, but Clarence explains the basic framework of a federal criminal prosecution below. He’ll be with you every step of the way.
A successful federal criminal defense begins early
If you are contacted by federal investigators for any reason, you need to contact a Mississippi Federal Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. Their techniques for getting you to cooperate with them are very sophisticated, and biding your time politely while refraining from making any statements until you retain a lawyer will be one of the hardest things for you to do in your case. In the beginning it is important to find out whether they are interested in you as a potential suspect, as a potential witness, or if they simply need some information. These people mean business, and if they are focused on you it is highly recommended that you contact a lawyer immediately.
A successful federal criminal defense requires a trial lawyer
Another distinction between federal and state criminal cases is that federal cases move much faster to trial. Clarence begins preparing cases for trial immediately upon being retained. This almost certainly contributes to better results in most cases, as it forces us to think together and develop the best possible defense for you, and gives us time to investigate and gather the information necessary for success. Clarence is a veteran of over 250 criminal trials. He is “more comfortable in the courtroom than in the conference room,” and he knows what needs to be done to prepare your case, and to try it.
A successful federal criminal defense requires knowledge of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines
Clarence’s first objective in every case is to win – to obtain a dismissal or a not guilty verdict. The simple truth, however, is that most federal cases are going to make it to the sentencing phase. And this is where a federal criminal lawyer with experience working with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines will make the most difference in your case. Federal sentencing has become a highly complex part of every case. There can be a tremendous variance in sentences, even in similar cases. It is imperative for your lawyer to have a working knowledge of the federal sentencing guidelines – your freedom depends on it.
Clarence provides a VERY rudimentary explanation of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines below:
Typical Federal Crimes
Congress has made at least 4450 crimes subject to federal jurisdiction, and continues to add more each year. Take this opportunity to find out more about some typical federal crimes. Clarence may be able to help you with any of these, (and more):
- Federal Drug Crimes
- Mail Fraud
- Wire Fraud
- Bank Fraud
- Bankruptcy Fraud
- Identity Theft
- Antitrust Violations
- Child Pornography
- Immigration Law Violations
- Bank Robbery
- Federal Gun Offenses
- Money Laundering
- Federal Property Crimes
What Do You Need Us To Do?
- Representation before you are charged (if you are being investigated)
- Bond and Bail Hearings
- Take your case to trial
- Expungements – Clearing Your Record
- Appeals and Post-Conviction Relief
What we can do for you:
If you are being investigated or accused of any federal offense, federal prosecutors have the full power and resources of the federal government at their disposal, to prove you guilty, and maximize your sentence. What do you have?
Clarence has been the Criminal Justice Act Panel Representative for several years, handling federal criminal cases when the Federal Public Defender has a conflict. Each year, he attends specialized training in federal criminal law, and stays on top of developments in the federal court system. Your freedom and future are at stake, and Clarence is going to work with you to provide the best representation possible.
If you are under investigation, or would like to discuss your federal case with us, please call The Guthrie Firm, PLLC at 601-991-1099 or toll-free at 866-991-1055. Feel free to contact us by email as well. We are here to help.
Federal Offenses Questions:
- What is the difference between a Federal and State crime?
- What happens in my federal case after I am found guilty or plead guilty?