Learning that your loved one has been charged with a federal crime is very scary. You want to help, but you do not know how to do it, or what steps to take. You may also want to post bond as soon as possible, so your spouse can come back home to you. The federal justice system though, is very different from the state justice system most people think of in criminal cases and so, it is important to understand those differences, and what you should do after your spouse is arrested.
State Court vs. Federal Court
Many people are familiar with the state court system and how it works, but are unaware that federal court is very different. Federal convictions typically carry much harsher consequences, and the procedural rules also vastly differ. As such, you need to work with a criminal defense lawyer that has the necessary experience in federal court to give your spouse the best chance possible.
One of the biggest differences between state and federal courts is that you will likely be unable to post bond right away for your spouse. State courts often allow people to post bail or bond and remain at home until the date of their court hearing. Federal courts do not typically follow this procedure.
The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure state that defendants must appear in their first detention hearing within three days of arrest. At the hearing, they will be read the charges they are facing, and the court will determine if the individual is a flight risk, or if they pose a threat to others. After determining this, the judge will determine whether bond is appropriate.
Certain federal offenses do not allow defendants or their loved ones to post bond. These include certain violent crimes, drug offenses that carry a prison sentence of ten years or more, felonies committed against a minor, and felonies committed with a firearm.
Steps to Take to Help Your Spouse’s Case
If your loved one cannot post bond, it will be even more important that you understand the steps you should take. The first step is to keep copies of all documentation. You may receive copies of warrants, police reports, and other paperwork during and after your spouse’s arrest. It is crucial that you keep all of these, as they will contain information about where your spouse is detained.
Secondly, you must speak with a federal criminal defense lawyer that can help with your spouse’s case. Remember that the lawyer will work for your spouse, not you. Although it is okay to ask questions, remain understanding if there are certain aspects of the case the lawyer cannot discuss with you.
Our Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Here to Help
If your spouse has been arrested and is facing federal charges, there is little doubt that you want to help them as much as possible. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, our experienced Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer knows what a difficult time this is for you, and wants to make it easier on your family. Call us today at 312-270-0999 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help your spouse with their charges.
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