Montana Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys
Federal crimes are extremely serious. They are also different than state charges. If you get charged with a federal offense in Montana, you do not just need an experienced legal defense team; you need a defense team that is familiar with the federal criminal justice system.
The federal defense lawyers at The Criminal Defense Firm legally represent suspects and defendants in federal court in Montana. With their help, numerous clients have invoked their rights and protected their future from the penalties of a serious criminal conviction.
The Difference Between State and Federal Criminal Defense
Many defendants – and even lots of criminal defense attorneys – do not fully appreciate the difference between facing a state charge and a federal one. This exposes defendants to significant amounts of legal liability and can lead to the serious consequences of a conviction.
There are three important differences between state and federal cases that you should be aware of.
First, the penalties of a conviction are generally higher in federal cases. This is mainly because federal criminal statutes prescribe more prison time and much higher fines than state criminal statutes do, out of the notion that federal offenses warrant them because the offense was severe enough to trigger federal jurisdiction. It is also because federal criminal law makes heavy use of mandatory minimum sentencing, which guarantees at least some prison time for a conviction. However, federal cases also often come with higher penalties because federal law enforcement agencies generally refuse to prosecute low-level offenses in federal court, leaving the case to state or local prosecutors to pursue, instead.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, the power of the law enforcement agencies that you will be facing is far stronger in federal cases than in state cases. If you are charged with a state offense in Montana, the case will be prosecuted by your local district attorney’s office or by the Montana Attorney General’s Office. Meanwhile, if the case is a federal offense, it will generally be pursued by U.S. attorneys at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). This is one of the most powerful law enforcement agencies not just in the United States, but in the entire world. They have access to resources that state or local prosecutors could only dream of, including the manpower and the investigative skills of entire other federal agencies, such as the:
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
If you hire criminal defense lawyers who focus primarily on state charges, they are likely to be overwhelmed by the strength and intensity of the law enforcement agents on the other side, and you will suffer as a result.
Third, your case will go through the federal court system, not the state one. Federal judges have life tenure, and so are less concerned with the political ramifications of their actions. They are also generally chosen for their position because of their accolades and reputation for fairness. Any personal rapport that criminal defense lawyers may have gained with local, state judges is gone if the case goes to federal court, instead.
The Federal Criminal Justice System in Montana
In Montana, that federal court system has three tiers to it.
The first is the United States District Court for the District of Montana. This is where your trial would be held and where all of the pretrial proceedings will take place. There are five branches for the District Court in Montana, located in the cities of:
- Great Falls
If the outcome of your case is not to your liking in District Court and there is a ground for appeal, your case can be brought before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for review. If the Ninth Circuit’s ruling also goes against you, you can petition the Supreme Court of the United States to take a look, as well.
The attorneys at The Criminal Defense Firm can represent you throughout this entire process.
Federal Offenses We Handle at The Criminal Defense Firm
At The Criminal Defense Firm, we legally represent suspects and defendants against a wide variety of federal offenses, including:
- Crimes against children
- Domestic violence
- Drug offenses
- Healthcare fraud
- Identity theft
- Insider trading
- Money laundering
- Online child pornography
- Securities fraud
- Sexual assault
- Tax violations
- White collar crimes
All of our attorneys have at least a decade defending people against allegations such as these. Many of our lawyers came to our firm after long careers in the same federal law enforcement agencies that may be pursuing your case.
The Penalties of a Federal Conviction are Severe
Getting convicted for one of these offenses in federal court will come with extremely harsh penalties. While the specific penalties will depend on the exact charge you are facing, the presence of any aggravating factors, and your own criminal history, there are a handful of types of consequences that you can face:
- Prison time
- Criminal fines
- Other financial repercussions
- Collateral consequences
Some of those other financial repercussions can be crippling, especially when the conviction was for a white collar crime. They can include monetary payments for:
- Civil forfeiture
Even once your sentence is complete, you will still have to go through a period of probation. While the terms of your confinement during probation are far less strict than they were in prison, that is not saying much.
Furthermore, you will also feel the collateral effects of having a federal criminal conviction on your background. This can make you lose your job and other professional opportunities that could have helped you return to a normal life after your conviction.
Four FAQs About Federal Crimes in Montana and The Criminal Defense Firm’s Legal Representation
Why Should I Hire You?
Because The Criminal Defense Firm has an impressive record of successes in federal court and is exclusively staffed by senior-level lawyers.
The experience of our lawyers in federal court is something that sets us apart from other defense firms in Montana.
When you hire a different law firm to defend you against federal charges in Montana, you will likely find that the partners and leading attorneys there have lots of experience, as well. However, those lawyers are probably not going to be the ones that you deal with during your case. Even though the accolades and the experience of those leadings lawyers was what the firm touted online and in person, much of the legal work that gets done on your case will likely come from a junior associate who only just passed the bar exam and a couple of paralegals who never took it. In many cases, you will not interact with the senior lawyers who drew you to their law firm until the last stages of your case.
That is not how we do things at The Criminal Defense Firm. You will not see your case passed off to newly minted lawyers or paralegals because we do not have any of them on our staff. Instead, our team of attorneys solely consists of senior-level lawyers with numerous years of experience handling cases like your own.
Which Federal Agencies Will Be Investigating My Case?
It depends on the specific nature of the charge. Generally, though, criminal allegations are filed by either the FBI or the DOJ. However, that does not necessarily mean that the investigation is performed by one of these agencies. Federal agencies frequently conduct joint investigations that combine the subject level expertise of, say, the SEC in securities fraud cases with the prosecutors from the FBI or DOJ that will actually be taking your case to court.
When Should I Call a Lawyer?
A common saying in the legal field is that, if you are asking this question, then the answer was yesterday.
Most federal charges are only filed after extensive investigations have uncovered incriminating evidence against you. Those investigations can take months or even years. If you ever even suspect that you are the target of one of these investigations, getting legal help immediately can drastically reduce your legal exposure and can protect your future. Delaying until charges are filed can put the lawyer that you do eventually hire into a position where several defensive strategies and steps will no longer be available to you. Delaying only hurts your future.
Why Don't You Call Yourselves the Best Federal Defense Firm in Montana?
Because we would rather have our prior clients’ testimonials say those sorts of things about the legal services that we can provide. We think it means more when it comes from them anyway.
Reach Out to The Criminal Defense Firm for Federal Representation in Montana
If you have been accused of a federal crime in Montana, you need experienced legal representation. Not just any criminal defense lawyer will do: These are serious charges and you need attorneys who are familiar with the federal criminal justice system.
Reach out to The Criminal Defense Firm at (866) 603-4540 or contact us online for the legal guidance that you need at this incredibly important time in your life.