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Know basic concepts used in federal criminal justice

Facing federal charges for anything is a frightening experience. If you are in the midst of a federal criminal matter, you should make sure that you understand a few basic points.

The federal government has a lot of resources that it can pour into criminal cases, so you can't go into one of these cases with a rushed defense. A rushed defense could end in disaster. Make sure that you take the time you have available to work on your defense. Consider these points:

The prosecution has the burden of proof

If your case goes before a jury, the prosecution will have to prove that you committed the crimes of which you are accused. The burden is on that side to show that there is proof to convict you beyond a reasonable doubt. Your defense might poke holes in the points that the prosecution is putting up. This might introduce doubt.

You have options

You have choices throughout the criminal justice process. One of the options that you have is how you will plead to the charges. More than 90 percent of people facing federal charges choose to plead guilty instead of going through a trial. Oftentimes, this is part of a plea deal that they work out with the prosecution. Make sure that you understand these options because they can have a huge impact on your defense.

You must ensure that your legal representation is familiar with the aspects of federal court that you will have to deal with. The last thing you need is someone on your side who is just winging it and hoping for the best.

Source: United States Courts, "Criminal Cases," accessed April 28, 2017

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