First, decline to answer any law enforcement questions. Though this may seem like belaboring the obvious, broken-record attorney advice, every day in America, thousands of arrest subjects still succumb to law enforcement pressure and talk without an attorney present. Law enforcement uses a number of tricks to convince people to waive their 5th Amendment rights.
Law enforcement may promise deals or leniency, imply that silence is an admission of guilt, or otherwise threaten or coerce investigative targets. Resist the temptation, no matter the pressure, and call an attorney who specializes in federal court criminal defense. Anything you say will be used against you. Statements made to law enforcement drastically lessen your chances of success at trial, while also giving the government more leverage in plea negotiations. When you consult an experienced federal criminal lawyer, you are assured that the only statements you make are the ones that help your case.
Hire a lawyer with specific experience in federal criminal law
Federal and state courts are different animals. Experience in state courts does not equate to federal experience. Federal courts follow different procedures. Federal judges adhere to different precedents. Rules of evidence are different, as are the laws themselves. Federal courts tend to deal in much more serious charges. Federal laws often provide for stiffer penalties.
In the federal prison system, there is no early release. With years or decades of your life at stake, you need the best possible representation. Building the skills necessary to successfully defend clients in federal court takes years of practice. To ensure that you receive the discharge of charges or plea deal that you deserve, always contact an attorney who is experienced in federal criminal defense.
Avoid speaking to anyone about your case, except your lawyer
When you speak to a criminal lawyer, your communications are privileged. When you speak to anyone else about your case, your statements could be used as evidence against you. Even statements that you think are perfectly innocent and show your lack of culpability could actually be turned against you.
This happens for several reasons, including people misunderstanding or misinterpreting your statements. A statement you make could also seem to contradict evidence, even if it doesn’t in reality. Law enforcement may also misconstrue your statement to make it fit their narrative. You could even be the target of malicious intent by the person you make statements to. In some cases, people lie to law enforcement about what a defendant said for personal gain.
If held in custody, it is imperative that you speak to no one about your case. The only way to protect yourself is to remain silent about the case at all times.
You have the right to bail
If you are in custody, you have the right to bail. Law enforcement cannot hold bail over your head by trying to convince you to make admissions in exchange for bail. Remain silent and call a lawyer. If bail is too high, discuss the matter with your lawyer, who may be able to get bail reduced. There are also many options for raising bail, including friends and family, loans, property bonds, and even charitable organizations.