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How The Federal System Works

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Los Angeles Federal Criminal Lawyers


When it comes to defending a Federal Criminal case in Los Angeles or elsewhere in the federal system, it is important to realize that cases are dealt with differently than in the State Court Criminal Justice system.  How federal criminal cases are investigated, filed, prosecuted and sentenced is something that should only be dealt with by a seasoned federal criminal attorney.  The law enforcement agencies associated with the federal system are sophisticated, well funded and extremely thorough in how they investigate and prosecute federal criminal defendants.  Below, we discuss the various stages of federal criminal cases.


There are a number of law enforcement agencies that investigate federal criminal cases (the Federal Bureau of Investigations–FBI, The Drug Enforcement Agency–DEA, The Department of Homeland Security and a number of others.  Sometimes state law enforcement agencies assist in these investigations as well.

General Information:

The federal government and their law enforcement agents typically take their time in investigating potential criminal conduct.  They are much more detailed and meticulous than state agencies in their investigations.  They will take months and even years to investigate a case and make sure that they have sufficient evidence against a person before proceeding to arrest/indict them.

They will use much more sophisticated means to investigate than State authorities usually use.  For example, it is not uncommon to see wiretap evidence utilized in a federal criminal prosecution.  The feds also use various forms of surveillance.  It has been our experience that the most common and effect form of investigative methods is the use of informants against wouldbe defendants.  Because of the way the federal criminal sentencing scheme is set up…the use of informants has been the most effective tool the federal government has to capture other defendants in their broad reaching net.


Federal criminal cases are prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs).  They strictly prosecute federal criminal crimes and often times work hand in hand with federal law enforcement agencies in the investigative stages of a federal case.  They are attorneys that have been specially trained in the prosecution of federal crimes.


One of the most important and complex areas of federal criminal defense is sentencing.  I can’t tell you how often I receive phone calls from and meet with potential clients that give me a factual scenario and want to know exactly what their sentence will be.  There is a problem with this line of thinking…it does not work in federal criminal defense cases.  The best a seasoned federal criminal defense attorney is going to be able to give you, is a range that you fall in, based on a long list of factors.  The federal sentencing guidelines, what your charged with and your criminal history are all consideration that will play into your sentence.  Some defendants are eligible for “safety valve” consideration and downward departures that can significantly reduce their sentence.  Federal criminal defense is much different that State Criminal Defense in a number of important areas.

I highly recommend that you call and set up a face to face consultation so you can really get a handle on what you are up against and hopefully begin the process of seizing your life back!


Ron Hedding
Lead Attorney
(213) 542-0994
Personal E-mail –