What Is a Federal Criminal
Lawyer, and When Do You
Need One?

When facing accusations of committing a crime that breaks the United States’ laws, you will need an experienced federal criminal lawyer to help you avoid steep fines or prison time.
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What Is a Federal Criminal Lawyer?

A federal criminal lawyer is a legal professional specializing in defending individuals or organizations facing charges for federal offenses. These attorneys have extensive knowledge of the laws and procedures specific to the federal court system and are experienced in navigating the complexities of federal prosecution.

If federal authorities charge you, hiring a federal lawyer as quickly as possible is in your best interest. Perhaps you made a mistake that you regret, or perhaps you merely got caught up in the misdeeds of another. Maybe you did not participate in criminal behavior or participated unwittingly.

Whatever the reason you are being accused of a federal or white-collar crime, you should not attempt to handle your defense yourself. The federal criminal law is complicated, and criminal defense lawyers with experience at the federal level are best equipped to present a winning argument.

Attorney Jay P. Mykytiuk of Scrofano Law PC is a Virginia and Washington DC criminal defense lawyer with experience defending white-collar criminals and other federal criminal offenses. He has experience representing clients in various federal court cases, such as drug offenses, tax fraud, and identity theft.

Read on to learn more about the role of a federal criminal lawyer and when you may need one.

What Does a Federal Defense Attorney Do?

A federal lawyer’s duties are similar to those of a state criminal defense attorney, but the cases they handle differ. Federal lawyers may have additional experience in constitutional law, which is crucial for preparing a defense.

When you hire an experienced federal criminal attorney, you can expect them to:

  • Investigate the charges against you and gather evidence to build a defense.

  • Examine federal agents’ actions to ensure they did not violate your rights during the investigation.

  • Identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and exploit them in court.

  • Negotiate with federal prosecutors for reduced charges, plea agreements, or dropped charges.

  • Represent you in court and present a strong defense on your behalf.

When Do You Need a Federal Criminal Lawyer?

It is essential to hire a federal criminal lawyer as soon as possible if you face any federal offense. Some examples of federal crimes include:

  • Drug offenses that involve large quantities, trafficking, or crossing state lines.

  • White-collar crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, or money laundering.

  • Immigration offenses such as smuggling or illegal entry.

  • Terrorism and national security violations.

If you are under investigation for any of these federal offenses, having a skilled and knowledgeable federal criminal lawyer by your side is crucial. Even if you have not been charged yet, having a lawyer involved early in the process can help protect your rights and potentially prevent formal charges from being filed.

Understanding Federal Laws and the Federal Court System

If you have been accused of a federal crime, your case will be heard at a Federal District Court and overseen by a United States District Judge or a Federal Magistrate Judge. Cases decided by the district court can later be appealed in a United States Court of Appeals, located at a Circuit Court.

Federal criminal cases are characteristic because potential sentences for most cases are outlined in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The criminal history of the individual accused of committing the crime and the seriousness of the offense are considered in sentencing guidelines.

While these sentencing guidelines establish the minimum and maximum time of potential prison sentences for federal crimes, they are not binding. A federal judge may depart from the guidelines when determining the penalty.

However, certain offenses carry mandatory minimum penalties that can result in a lengthy sentence in federal prison.

Criminal cases heard at this level are typically very serious. A federal defense attorney can explain your options and prepare your best defense. They can also advise on whether or not to pursue an appeal and how best to do it.

There are considerable distinctions between dealing with charges in state and federal court, so if you are facing federal criminal charges, you want an attorney with federal experience. Jay P. Mykitiuk is a Virginia and DC criminal defense attorney with a track record in the federal court system. He and the Scrofano law team can help you defend your rights in federal cases.

Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

A federal criminal defense attorney can provide advice and represent you in court if you are accused of a federal crime in Washington, DC. Most white-collar crimes are tried at the federal level, but other crimes heard in these courts include:

  • Computer crimes

  • Counterfeiting

  • Drug trafficking

  • Federal drug offenses

  • Federal sex crimes

  • Money laundering

  • Treason

  • Violation of interstate commerce

  • Violation of security laws

  • Violent crimes

  • Weapons charges

  • White-collar federal crimes

If you are arrested for any of these crimes, be sure you know what not to do when arrested in the District of Columbia.

After an arrest, the defendant will likely be prosecuted. That is when you’ll learn what federal law charges you will be up against. The trial date will be set if no plea agreement is reached with the federal prosecutor.

The federal criminal process can be confusing and frightening, especially for those without experience with the federal criminal justice system. Our federal defense lawyers are familiar with the whole process, judges, and the federal courts, and we will strive to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

Why Might You Need a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Federal crimes occur when an individual violates federal law or commits a crime on federal property, while state criminal cases deal with individuals who violate state laws.

Thus, a federal criminal investigation is much different than an investigation and cases handled before state courts. For example, law enforcement agencies that investigate federal crimes have highly skilled investigators and agents responsible for conducting federal investigations.

Those facing federal criminal charges should be aware that federal criminal investigations last for months and even longer before criminal charges are even filed. That also means federal criminal defense lawyers have much catching up to do when hired to defend charged individuals.

Since the federal government and federal prosecutors conducting federal criminal trials have practically unlimited resources to pursue a case, hiring a federal defense lawyer is necessary to create a defense strategy focused on protecting your rights and overcoming the allegations.

If you are arrested for any offenses listed above or even suspect you are under investigation, you most likely need a federal criminal defense lawyer.

Your federal case or the investigation can continue rapidly, and a lawyer can advise you what to do and not to do to have the best chance at avoiding hefty federal criminal penalties. Quick intervention by a legal professional can be vital to your freedom.


Skilled Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help

Among the primary goals of a federal attorney is to help you avoid or reduce the following penalties:

  • Federal jail time

  • Fines

  • Probation

  • Restitution

To learn more about how to set yourself up for success, even in the face of federal charges, check out this article on your right to remain silent.

Working with Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys

DC Federal Criminal Lawyers will provide skilled legal representation if you have been accused of a white-collar crime or various other crimes at the federal level.


How Much Does a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost?

If you are wondering how much a federal criminal defense lawyer costs, it depends on the expense of various things, such as:

  • Capability
  • Credentials
  • Experience

The particulars of the case like whether it is your first offense and how complex the case is will also affect the expense.


Defending Federal Criminal Cases

When you are dealing with a federal criminal case, an attorney in Washington DC will develop and perform a custom-tailored defense technique to help you avoid the possibility of a conviction at trial.

At Scrofano Law PC, we work hard to level the playing field when it feels like it’s you against the world. Call 703-783-5740 or contact attorney Jay P. Mykitiuk via our online form today to schedule a confidential case assessment and discover how we can make justice work for you rather than against you.


We fight for your rights!

Deb Obi

Gretchen was a joy to work with because of her wittiness and fast thinking. She was actually recommended to me by another Lawyer who admired the way she handled things in a courtroom they were both in.

Her advice, encouragement, and patience with me as she handled my case was admirable. She knows her stuff and I felt confident that she was able to get the best outcome for my case based on my interactions with her. Her fast thinking and knowledge of the law and procedures allowed for my case to be dismissed. She is fast on her feet, ready to fight for you while being poised.

If you are looking for someone who is going to listen to you, knows the law, willing to fight on your behalf and is empathetic while at it, please go with Gretchen. You will not regret it.

Charles Graves

I hired Gretchen Taylor over 10 years ago, when I was very young and she successfully defended me from a false allegation.

Now I’m very successful in life, and I have to give Gretchen a ton of credit for her help! She is extremely honest, hardworking, kind, and sees the best in people. She believed in me, and she’s also a very good lawyer.

Through this process I grew up, and I learned that there are good and bad women, good and bad men, and that it’s important to be careful about who you associate with, or hang around or date, because even when you live your life with honesty and integrity, some people are simply trouble. Thanks to this, I’ve been happily married to my amazing wife for almost a decade now, and successful financially. Gretchen didn’t only win my case but she really had good wisdom for me too. She’s very knowledgeable about the law and doesn’t let the system take advantage of you.,

You won’t find a better lawyer, period!

Breck Blalock

If you are in need of an exceptional trial defense attorney, look no further than Gretchen Taylor Pousson and the ScrofanoLaw firm. In my experience, Gretchen is the consummate professional. She provided me with top-notch legal representation and extremely sound advice, delivered not only with compassion but also direct forthrightness. She worked closely with all my trial witnesses and presented a fantastic case on my behalf. The ScrofanoLaw's support staff is also excellent – any inquiry I made was handled professionally and on a timely basis. I could not be happier with my decision to hire Gretchen Taylor Pousson and the ScrofanoLaw firm in my time of legal need.

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