If you or your family member has been charged or investigated for committing a federal crime, you need an experienced federal criminal defense attorney by your side that has been on the front lines of the court room. Attorney Mauricio Garcia has the skills necessary to guide you through the criminal process and fight for you in a court of law. Having been exposed to hundreds of federal criminal cases, Mr. Garcia knows the ins and outs of how to best represent you or your family member.
The federal government has hundreds of resources to prosecute a case against you. Don’t waste time with inexperienced attorneys. As a federal criminal defense attorney, Mr. Garcia has experience in dealing with complex federal crimes and investigations. We will represent you in the violation of any federal crime, or any of the ones listed below:
- Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID) a Controlled Substance (marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines)
- Alien Smuggling
- Human Trafficking
- Illegal Entry / Re-Entry
- Drive-By Shooting
- False Statement on a Record of a Gun Purchase
- Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person / Felon
- Stolen Firearm
- Healthcare Fraud
- Money Laundering
- Securities Fraud
- Wire Fraud
1. The Investigation
Most federal investigations start with your usual agencies: the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). These agencies conduct their investigations usually without the subject’s knowledge. They will conduct surveillance, execute wiretaps, and even interview witnesses. If you are the target of an investigation, it is extremely important to be represented an attorney. You attorney will help you understand the implications of you speaking with law enforcement agencies and can help guide you through the process.
2. The Charge
Once the investigation has rendered sufficient facts, the prosecutor will decide whether to bring charges against a business or individual. In this step of the criminal process, the prosecutor will make the case to a secret grand jury who will then vote. If the grand jury votes to render an indictment, the individual can elect to hire an attorney.
3. Initial Appearance and Arraignment
Within 72 hours of the arrest, the individual will be brought before a Magistrate Judge (“MJ”) to be informed of the charges against him, his constitutional rights, and the statutory range of imprisonment. If the Defendant is not able to hire a lawyer, the Court will appoint one for him. After the initial appearance, an arraignment will be held in which the Defendant will have an opportunity to plea guilty or not guilty to said offense after a reading of the Indictment. The Court will then issue a scheduling order to dictate the deadlines for the parties.
4. Plea Bargaining and Re-Arraignment
Often times prosecutors will build extensive cases and offer plea deals. A lawyer can help you examine said agreement and understand the ramifications of entering a plea. If the Defendant elects to enter a plea agreement, he will have to abide by all terms of said agreement.
5. Motions and Trial
If at all stages of the criminal process the Defendant maintains his innocence, the case will proceed to trial. The Defendant’s attorney will file motions to attempt to weaken the prosecution’s case, such as a motion to suppress the evidence. Once the parties announce they are ready to proceed to trial, a district court judge will preside over the trial. In federal court, the vast majority of cases are settled before proceeding to trial.
Once the Defendant has entered a plea of guilty or has been found guilty at trial, a sentencing will be conducted. This is a crucial part of the federal criminal process. At sentencing, the U.S. Probation Department will issue a final presentence report (often called a “PSR”). The PSR contains all factual allegations relating to the charges, criminal history, and other identifying information. In it, an “Offense Level Computation” will be made in which the Defendant is assessed points pursuant to the United States Sentencing Guidelines, an advisory guideline for district judges to sentence defendants. Although a guideline range is merely an advisory range and the Court can depart from the guideline, an experienced attorney can help knock off points to your guideline range.