Choosing a federal criminal defense lawyer can be one of the most important decisions you make in your life.
Being charged with any crime can have life-altering ramifications, but a federal charge can come with higher penalties and fines than what someone may encounter in a state court. The stakes are high, and choosing the right attorney to defend you is crucial.
Mark Worthley started Worthley Law to help the people of Indiana with several types of cases, including federal offenses. With over 14 years of experience and a passion for helping people, Mark Worthley has appeared in hundreds of trials, achieving favorable outcomes even in the face of adversity.
If you believe you are under investigation for a federal offense or you have been formally charged, call us at (219) 575-8565 or contact us online. Whether you seek representation for yourself or a loved one, we provide free consultations to discuss your case in detail and map out a path to move forward.
In a federal case, it can feel like it’s you against the government, and, in a way, that’s true. This is because you are facing what is widely perceived as the most powerful entity in the world, with virtually unlimited resources at its fingertips.
Regardless of the crime, you’ve been charged with; you are entitled to due process under the United States Constitution and the presumption of innocence. You have the right to contest the charges brought against you, and when your future hangs in the balance, it’s imperative to have an experienced attorney who will go the extra mile to fight for your rights.
We can sum up the way we work here at Worthley Law in one sentence: Your case is worth it.
No matter how significant the charge, no matter how much it feels like the odds stack against you, and no matter the circumstances of your case, we are prepared to assist you with any legal issue.
As a former Deputy Prosecutor in Indiana, Mark Worthley brings a unique perspective in federal offense cases. He understands how the other side operates and has developed relationships throughout his 14-plus years of experience to work in his clients’ favor.
THE BENEFITS OF CHOOSING WORTHLEY LAW TO REPRESENT YOU IN COURT
The most notable difference between federal and state crimes is the government charging you with the crime: the state or federal governments. Both the federal government and each of the 50 states have a specific set of laws along with their own law enforcement systems.
If you’ve been accused of violating state law, then the state government will prosecute you. On the other hand, if the accusation stems from the alleged violation of federal law, the federal government will handle the case.
The federal government has an interest in prosecuting certain crimes because of their potential to have a more significant impact on society if left unpunished. Crimes in this category include:
1. The crime involves multiple states. For example, transporting goods from Indiana to Illinois involves interstate commerce.
2. The defendants accused of committing the crime live in multiple states. For example, suppose numerous people across the country are conspiring or acting together. In that case, it can be problematic for a single state to have the authority to hear and decide the matter, so the federal court will have jurisdiction.
3. A federal government agency is investigating the crime. There are hundreds of federal agencies, but some of the most well-known include the IRS, DEA, FBI, EPA, or other agencies at the federal level.
4. The crime occurred on federal property. Examples of the federal property could include military bases, government buildings, national parks, tribal land, or even a bank with FDIC insurance.
5. The crime involves a network or large operation. Larger-scale activities can pique the interest of a federal agency.
6. The crime is severe enough to warrant federal attention. Examples include weapons charges, drug trafficking, violent crimes (including murder and sex crimes), white-collar and financial crimes, computer crimes, some types of fraud, terrorism, civil rights, violations, organized crime.
Typically, a crime is classified as a federal offense when there is a connection between state lines, such as interstate commerce or travel, and the crime in question.
State crimes, by contrast, tend to involve crimes that are committed entirely within a single state. They are investigated by local law enforcement and prosecuted in a state court.
There can be some overlap between state and federal crimes. Drug trafficking, theft, bank robberies, and homicide, for example, could be tried in state or federal court. It all depends on who initiates the charges based on the circumstances of the allegations.
It is also possible for the same crime to be charged at both the state and federal levels. You could be called into court twice to defend yourself in separate trials when this occurs. Working with an experienced federal offenses lawyer is critical to ensure your rights are protected at all steps of the process.
The short answer to this question is yes, and the sooner you retain an attorney, the better. As soon as you become aware that a federal investigation is underway, you should act. Having an attorney at this phase can help you avoid incriminating yourself.
Your attorney can also act as an advocate, advising you on how to answer questions in interviews and formulating strategies in advance if formal charges are brought. Every case is unique, but if you have the chance to retain an attorney before any official charges are brought, you have the potential to sway circumstances in your favor, including the possibility of dismissing charges.
If you’ve been arrested and charged, you already know that you need a defense attorney, and you should specifically seek out an attorney who has practiced extensively in federal law. Mark Worthley is well-versed in all matters relating to the federal court system, and he can provide qualified counsel, no matter how complex the case.
The most obvious way to become aware that you’re being investigated is the moment a federal agent arrests you, but it’s also extremely likely that a case has been established against you months (or years) in advance, and the agency waited until they felt they had enough evidence to make an arrest and get a conviction to stick.
Another telltale sign is if a federal agent has gotten a warrant to search your home or business. Alternatively, an agent can leave a business card at your residence or place of business, or an agent may reach out to you by phone to request a meeting. You may also receive correspondence in the form of a Target Letter, which, as the name suggests, notifies you that you are the target of an investigation.
Even without these signals, you could be being investigated without realizing it. Often, these investigations are conducted in secret, so you may not know an investigation is underway until you receive correspondence or are arrested. However, if a friend, colleague, or other associate informs you that they’ve been questioned or searched in connection with your activities, you can be confident that formal notice is likely imminent.
If you do get an advanced warning that you’re being investigated, this can actually be a good thing. Being aware of the potential of being charged with a federal offense allows you to retain an attorney early who can work with federal prosecutors to have a more significant influence on the outcome of your case. Depending on the situation and the evidence that’s been compiled against you, your attorney may be able to have the charges dismissed outright.
Facing criminal charges could perhaps be the scariest and most stressful situation you will ever experience in your life. While easier said than done, it’s important that you keep a calm and logical head. Though these tips won’t necessarily help you win your case, not following them is sure to cause damage that could be difficult to overcome:
1. Do not panic. When we’re feeling stressed, we tend to make bad choices. It’s not easy to control panic in this situation, but make sure you avoid acting impulsively, which could lead to you making an incriminating mistake.
2. Avoid speaking to a federal agent without first consulting a federal criminal defense lawyer. It’s important to remember that the agent(s) is not your friend, even if they seem cordial.
3. Do not destroy evidence. While it’s a natural impulse to make use of a paper shredder or your computer’s recycle bin, if you get caught, you may face additional charges. In some cases, the coverup may be judged more harshly than the original offense.
If you’ve visited this website and have gotten to this point of the page, you are likely in the depths of research. As you’re looking around and evaluating your options, we’ve outlined five strategies to help you choose a federal offenses lawyer that has the necessary experience to represent you.
1. Look for experience in criminal law, specifically federal defense. This might seem obvious, but it’s not uncommon for someone to Google a criminal attorney in their area and then begin the consultation process without understanding what type of law the attorney practices or where their experience lies.
2. Read the reviews. Look for attorneys that have had success with other cases similar to yours. You can review the testimonials on the attorney’s website and read what’s been written on Yelp and Google reviews. It’s also a good idea to check Avvo, which shares information about the attorneys’ practice areas.
3. Interview the attorney. Before committing to an attorney, make sure you interview them. You may even decide to consult with two or three lawyers to compare notes.
It’s important to find an attorney who speaks to you with respect, and in terms that you can understand, not legalese.
4. Ask about the attorney’s communication style. Communication between you and your attorney is a necessity, so make sure there are no barriers. Attorney availability is also an essential factor to consider. Here at Worthley Law, we are known for being available on evenings and weekends to serve our clients.
Being kept up to date by your attorney is also vital. Find out how and when you’ll be updated on case developments. Will you have to reach out to get updates, or will they be provided to you proactively? If you have questions, how quickly can you expect an answer?
5. Inquire about rates. The rates attorneys charge fluctuate, and there can be a wide amount of variation between offices, even in the same city. Whether you have decided money is no object when it comes to your freedom, or you have more practical constraints, you’ll want to discuss finances with your attorney. There are different ways to structure the financial agreement, including flat-fee, hourly, and payment plans.
Keep in mind that the most expensive option isn’t always the best. The most critical factors in evaluating a lawyer are the attorney’s track record and communication style.
No matter what federal charges you are facing, do not try to proceed without the assistance of an experienced federal offenses lawyer. A federal conviction can come with severe penalties beyond a prison sentence, including substantial fines and the loss of certain privileges that can diminish your quality of life.
Call Worthley Law today at (219) 575-8565 for a free consultation.