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Who Investigates Federal Crimes in California?

Federal crimes are investigated by federal prosecutors who will then show their findings of criminal activity to the U.S. Attorney to review. If a case merits legal action, a complaint will be filed, and a grand jury will issue an indictment against the accused. That person will be arrested and a trial date set.

Since federal crimes are illegal across the United States, not just California, which is why the consequences can have serious negative effects if you are convicted. The Federal Bureau of Investigation handles federal charges and utilizes many advanced resources to gather evidence. An experienced federal crimes defense attorney will know the best strategies to combat this evidence.

Start your defense today with our Newport Beach federal crimes attorneys. We are ready to hear your story and provide a free consultation today at (949) 251-0330.

How Do The Federal Grand Juries Work?

A “target” is an individual “as to whom the prosecutor or the grand jury has substantial evidence linking him or her to the commission of a crime and who, in the judgment of the prosecutor, is a putative defendant.” Since not every individual indicted by a grand jury is found guilty, whether the evidence necessarily must be “substantial” is debatable. Federal prosecutors perceive their targets as guilty throughout the course of their investigation, even though many individuals are acquitted by a federal grand jury.

A “subject” is defined as one “whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury’s investigation,” but is not the target of investigation. Id. Additionally, an individual who the prosecution believes will assist them in establishing probable cause for an indictment is a “witness.”

Targets, subjects, and witnesses may be subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury. Subjects and witnesses should be particularly cautious when they testify, because their testimony could be more damaging than advantageous to their ends. Prosecutors make great effort to secure the target’s voluntary appearance, [and if] a voluntary appearance cannot be obtained, the target will in many cases be subpoenaed only after the grand jury and the [US] Attorney … have approved the subpoena.

Only once a witness “explicitly waives his or her privilege against self-incrimination, on the record before the grand jury, and is represented by counsel or voluntarily and knowingly appears without counsel and consents to full examination under oath,” may an individual be given the chance to testify. Importantly, the requirement that individuals be represented by counsel cannot be fulfilled by merely having counsel present during their testimony.

The Federal Grand Jury Process

Under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, one of the 16 to 23 members of a grand jury is selected for the position of foreperson, and is given the tasks of signing indictments and overseeing oaths and affirmations. FRCrP 6(a)(1) and FRCrP 6(c). Another member of the jury is chosen as the deputy foreperson. FRCrP 6(c). Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the number of jurors that concur with the indictment is recorded and sealed from the public. Id.

All involved in the administration of the matter, including government attorneys, jurors, transcribers, court reporters, and interpreters, are prohibited from revealing information about a grand jury session. Id. 6(e)(2)(B). Furthermore, only “attorneys for the government, the witness being questioned, interpreters when needed, and a court reporter or an operator of a recording device” are permitted to be in attendance during the grand jury session. FRCrP 6(d)(1).

Even the target and his attorney cannot be present, unless the target is testifying. The government alone has the opportunity to present its evidence against the target, and this can include evidence, such as hearsay, that would not be admissible at a trial (USAM 9-11.232). If 12 or more grand jurors conclude that an indictment should be issued, the target is indicted. Id. 6(f).

The indictment is a clear and succinct written document, signed by a government attorney, which explains the facts that comprise the criminal charge. FRCrP 7(c)(1). Each count of the indictment must offer the applicable statute for the offense, but it may claim that the means “by which the defendant committed the offense are unknown.” Id. If the citation for the statute is absent or cited incorrectly, the indictment can still stand, unless the accused was somehow deceived or prejudiced. Id. 7(c)(3). Before the accused is taken into custody, the indictment is usually sealed. FRCrP 6(e)(4).

The target is informed of the indictment and becomes the “defendant” after the US Attorney and a federal agent see the Federal Magistrate Judge and are issued an arrest warrant.

Contact Our Newport Beach Federal Crimes Attorney Today

Federal offenses are crimes that do not fall under specific California jurisdiction and are punishable by United States law. Federal laws are often harsher, and those accused of federal crimes face serious penalties. There’s no getting around it: facing federal charges is a serious event that could change the rest of your life. You need the representation of a qualified attorney to protect your future. Corrigan Welbourn Stokke is an Orange County criminal defense law firm that uses over 100 years of experience to produce results for clients. Attorney Kate Corrigan is an experienced federal crimes defense lawyer. Her experience has taken her throughout the country as a speaker regarding complex federal law issues.

Each attorney at Corrigan Welbourn Stokke is a former prosecutor. We know the strategies that the other side will use and will combat them with the strongest possible defense. As a firm that provides excellent client experience, someone will be available to answer your questions 24/7. These times are difficult, and you should not be left with unanswered questions about your future.

Contact us today at (949) 251-0330 to find out how our Newport Beach federal crimes attorneys will fight for you.


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