Imagine a terrifying moment when a doctor tells you that you need brain surgery, or you will surely die. Like any surgery, there are several risks. You can choose a veterinarian, who has done many surgeries on dogs and cats, or a neurosurgeon, who has ample experience doing the surgery you need and similar complex surgeries. While the veterinarian costs substantially less and has experience doing surgeries, the neurosurgeon costs substantially more and has the exact experience you need to give you the best chance to survive the surgery. Sadly, we see clients choose the veterinarian when faced with a federal investigation or charges.
Enforcing Criminal Law in U.S. Courts
Criminal laws are found in federal and state statutes and regulations. Most researchers estimate there are at least 5,000 federal criminal laws, and 10,000-300,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally, many with complex elements the government needs to satisfy. Unlike the state criminal justice system, federal investigators work hand-in-glove with federal prosecutors to build a case against targets to make prosecutions easier. At the direction of prosecutors, agents often approach people in the hopes of obtaining evidence and confessions. According to the Justice Department’s internal guidelines, people fall into one of three categories: targets, subjects, witnesses.
Important Terms in Criminal Defense Cases
A “target” is a person the prosecutor and agent believe committed a crime. A “subject” is a person the prosecutor and agent believe may have committed a crime or know about a crime. A “witness” is a person who can provide evidence that a crime took place and will not likely be charged. Especially early in an investigation, prosecutors and agents tell people they are subjects. Even if someone is told they are a witness, that status can change. Different rules apply to targets, subjects, and witnesses. No matter the person’s status, agents attempt to interview the person.
That is the subject of another article, located here.
Why Experience Is Key in Resolving Complex and Challenging Cases
Federal investigations can focus on complex schemes to defraud others using interstate wires or the U.S. mail; computer intrusions; healthcare fraud, government contracting fraud, securities fraud, tax fraud, and bank fraud. Like the experienced neurosurgeon for brain surgery, you need to find lawyers with experience in this area to initiate a defense investigation. While some states, like Florida, permit several continuances to conduct broad discovery in criminal cases that almost mirror civil cases, those discovery rights and continuances do not exist in the federal criminal justice system. Lawyers used to receiving a road map from state prosecutors before conducing depositions during a long pretrial period are often unprepared to learn complex federal law and conduct an effective defense investigation in a short period of time.
How Horwitz & Citro, P.A. Is Using Expertise and Knowledge to Fight for Justice
Recently, Attorney Vincent A. Citro was retained to provide an expert opinion about an agreement that federal prosecutors entered into with a licensed professional. While the state authorities believed the agreement proved certain things, Attorney Citro was called to testify before a judge about federal law, the agreement, and the Justice Department’s rules governing federal prosecutors. While state authorities believed certain things about the federal process that meant our client should be punished, but Attorney Citro made it clear state authorities were wrong.
It is imperative to retain counsel experienced in national security and criminal investigations to navigate the perils you face when you learn you are a target, subject, or witness in a federal or state criminal investigation or administrative disciplinary proceeding. If you believe you are under federal investigation, or if you are an attorney with a client under federal investigation, contact the Law Offices of Horwitz & Citro, P.A. immediately.
Call (407) 901-5852 to request a free initial consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.