You've come to the right place if you're charged with a federal criminal case and need help. I think one of the first things you want to start thinking about is whether or not you can defend your case from the outside.
In other words, whether the case is at the prefiling stage or whether a case has already been filed against you and you were recently arrested. Perhaps the case has been pending for a while, and you're thinking about hiring a new attorney; you want to try to get yourself out of custody.
If you can, you're probably in a better position to set things up for your family if you have to do some time and also in a better place to help your attorney.
You can't always get that, but we certainly try to do that. That's done by determining what we can show the judge to show that you will not be a flight risk. In other words, you'll make all your court appearances; of course, you're not a danger to the community.
We can also get together some game plans for what type of bond you might be able to post. For example, the strongest bonds in federal cases are usually property bonds.
This is where you or a family member or friend has a property with equity in it, and then we take a piece of that equity, and the court ties that into a property bond.
This is a much more substantial likelihood that you will appear versus that they release you on your own recognizance. Because if you don't appear, whoever posted that house will lose whatever amount the property bonded it.
For example, if the property bond is $100,000.00 and the person doesn't show up to court, their house can be foreclosed on and lose that $100,000.00. So, that's a strong incentive for the person to show up to court. That's one way we can get you out.
Another way is by way of signature bonds. Not as good as a property bond, but certainly, if a family member says, if my brother doesn't show up, for example, I'm willing to sign a signature bond that says I'll pay $50,000.00 to the court if he doesn't show up.
You get a couple of those together, and that's another way you can make a run at trying to get the person out. There are other ways, but it depends on the facts and circumstances of the case.
Something to discuss when I meet face-to-face with you or your loved one with the federal case. So, that's number one. Then, we get the person out.
Fight the Case or Plea Bargain?
The second thing we want to consider is what we can do to deal with the case:
- Is it a case that we can fight, file motions, and try and knock the case out?
- Is there a defense where we'll take the case to trial, or is it one of those cases where they have the evidence against you?
I believe 97% of the cases the prosecutors file in a federal case are resolved through a plea agreement, meaning only a few cases are taken to trial.
The reason for that is that Assistant United States Attorneys and federal prosecutors are much more careful and sophisticated when they file their cases.
They won't file a case if they don't feel confident they can get a conviction. They're not always right, but I would say they're right most of the time, especially compared to the state.
So, the next move after we figure out whether we can get you out of custody is to figure out how we will deal with the case – whether we will fight it or try to resolve it.
If we try to fix it, we want to figure out ways to put us in the best position to get the best possible plea agreement.
Seeking the Best Possible Outcome
Again, that's something else that needs to be discussed face-to-face. It's not a general thing:
- We have to look at the facts of your case;
- Look at your criminal history;
- Look at what you did in the case; and
- Look at what weapons might be available for you to use to fight to get the lowest sentence.
Some of those weapons, for example, are the safety valve, 5K, which is cooperation with the government. So we can argue that you're a minor player.
A whole bunch of downward departures can be used as we look at the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in deciding where you fall and the best course of action.
So, pick up the phone now if you need the best and want to determine the best way to get the best result in a federal criminal case. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.