New York  Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Facing federal charges is probably one of the most nerve-racking experiences in life, even with one of the best federal criminal defense attorneys at your side.

In many cases, by the time the accused learns that he or she is the target of federal criminal investigation, the government has already built a strong case.

What Type Of Federal Criminal Cases Do We Handle?

Our NYC based federal criminal attorneys handle a wide variety of federal criminal cases with special emphasis on white collar matters, including:

The federal government and its criminal investigative agencies have almost unlimited material and human resources to prosecute their cases. A less known fact is that federal prosecutors obtain conviction in more than 95 percent of federal criminal trials!

At Joseph Potashnik and Associates PC, our NY federal criminal attorneys have over 70 years of combined experience of handling over a thousand of federal cases, including close to a hundred jury trials. We represented clients in the most complex federal cases spanning every conceivable white-collar offenses and other crimes. We handled high-profiled cases reaching great results.

Defendants charged with federal crimes face draconian penalties. The federal criminal justice system does not usually provide for parole. In most cases, convicted individuals will serve more than 85 percent of their sentences.

All these issues make defending against federal charges more complex and emotionally draining than defending against state charges.

If you or your loved one are facing-off with the federal government in New York or anywhere else, you need a competent New York federal criminal defense attorney who will stand up for you against the federal prosecutors.

It is important to realize that in most cases, as a federal defendant, you are essentially fighting for your life.

What you need is a federal lawyer who will weaken the government’s case by various strategic and procedural methods to gain advantage that can be used later in suppression of evidence – and ultimately improving your chances for a case dismissal, reducing charges, or getting a favorable plea bargain.

However, not every case can be bargained away or dismissed. When we accept a case, we are prepared to take it all the way to trial if necessary.

NYC Federal Investigations

Federal prosecutions always begin with criminal investigations. These investigations are conducted by one or several federal law enforcement agencies, depending on the nature of the case. The FBI is responsible for most federal criminal investigations, but other agencies, such as the IRS, the DEA, ICE, the Secret Service, and more than a dozen more are routinely and actively involved in most white collar investigations.

Some of the individuals under criminal investigations are unaware that they are targeted until the arrest is made. However, in most situations the targets will be approached by federal agents who want to interview them. This is the crucial moment in the criminal case because voluntary statements made to the government agents prior to arrest are admissible in court. The agents are not obligated to “Mirandize” their targets unless they first arrest them. Countless individuals have made the tragic mistake and provided self-incriminatory information to the government.

Many complicated problems can be avoided if an experienced federal criminal attorney is consulted as early as possible, hopefully before the interview with the agents. One of the first steps the federal defense lawyer will do is build a wall between the agents and the client so that the client is not going to make statements that will be used against him or her in court later.

Sometimes speaking with the agents and providing information is helpful and beneficial to the client, but it can only be conducted in controlled settings, with the lawyer present, and only after the lawyer has discussed the case with the client and the federal prosecutor. Other than under these conditions, you must not be speaking with the agent.

An example of such controlled meeting is a “proffer”. This means that the client agrees to meet with the prosecutor and the agents and speak with them and in return the prosecutor promises in writing that these statements would not be used against the client in court. The proffer may be a powerful defense tool or it could be an extremely dangerous idea. Whether or not the target should be meeting with the government is a very important question and only an experienced federal criminal attorney should be consulted on these matters. Federal criminal practice is hugely different from state criminal practice and you need to make sure that the attorney you consult with is experienced in handling federal criminal investigations.

If you are under federal criminal investigation in New York, you need a law firm that has handled similar cases before. Federal criminal cases are hugely different from state criminal cases and most criminal lawyers don’t have adequate experience to handle federal cases (in fact, most lawyers have no experience handling such cases). At Joseph Potashnik and Associates PC, our New York City criminal attorneys have handled over a thousand federal criminal investigations and cases and tried over a hundred cases to jury verdict. We have over 70 years of combined experience in federal courts, including many high profile cases. If we get involved in the case early enough, the outcome of the case may be dramatically different. We don’t promise our clients what they want to hear. We offer a realistic and honest assessment of the case. And then we just do our job of providing the best possible results.

Here are some resent representative cases in which our clients were able to utilize our experience to their ultimate benefit:

  • Represented an individual in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York in a $42 million fraud investigation and prosecution that involved massive Holocaust reparations fraud scheme. We persuaded the U.S. Attorney’s Office to defer prosecution, resulting in the case being closed.
  • Successfully represented a co-defendant in a 12 million Medicaid Fraud investigation perpetrated by a medical office. Our client was facing a five years prison term but was sentenced to probation, exclusively because of our early intervention.
  • Represented an owner of a Queens real estate agency who was investigated by the FBI for conspiracy to commit bank fraud in a mortgage fraud scheme. Our attorneys convinced the prosecutors not to bring charges against the client.
  • In another case involving a multi-million mortgage fraud case our client was sentenced to time served (one day in custody).

Many more similar stories can be shared, but if you are a target of a criminal federal investigation in New York, make a smart move and call our NYC federal criminal attorneys today at (212) 577- 6677 to set up a confidential and immediate consultation.

Served with Federal Grand Jury Subpoena?

If you live in New York and you receive a federal grand jury subpoena in the mail, it is in your best interests to consult an experienced federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

A federal grand jury subpoena is a document that requires you to appear and testify before a grand jury in federal court. If you receive one it is because the federal prosecutor who issued it believes that you have knowledge or information concerning a significant criminal investigation. The prosecutor may also believe that you yourself have committed a crime.

What is a federal subpoena?

A subpoena is a court order that requires a person to testify or to produce documents, or both, on or before a certain date. A grand jury subpoena’s primary service is to review evidence presented in a criminal trial to determine if the changes are possible. A grand jury has the ability to subpoena evidence for a case.

There are several kinds of grand jury subpoenas:

  • Ordering a person to testify before the jury;
  • Ordering a person to tern over evidence such as documents, test results, or tape recordings to be presented to the jury.

Because a subpoena is issued by the authority of the courts, ignoring a subpoena may result in criminal contempt charges and criminal penalties.

What are the options?

When served with a court subpoena, one cannot just ignore it. Ignoring the subpoena may lead to charges of contempt of court. If a person chooses to comply with the grand jury subpoena, they must do everything that the subpoena requests. If the subpoena is asking for the person to testify then they must do that on the given date. If the subpoena orders a person to provide certain documents, they must comply and produce the documents. Do not just throw away a subpoena because you have decided that you do not want to testify. Do see an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to figure out what your next step should be.

An experienced defense attorney can help you determine what exactly the subpoena wants from you. As discussed above, there are two kinds of federal grand jury subpoenas: personal subpoenas require you to appear and testify as a witness, while a subpoena duces tecum requires you to provide the prosecution with certain documents or evidence in your possession. Be aware that the subpoena duces tecum can also pose a risk to you; just because you are not going to be questioned on the witness stand, does not mean you should take it lightly.

Your attorney will also help you figure out whether you are, at this point, the target of the investigation, or a subject. You are a target of the grand jury investigation if the prosecutor or the grand jury has substantial evidence connecting you to the crime being investigated, and the prosecutor sees you as a future defendant in the case. You are a subject if, at this point the prosecutor sees you as a witness and a source of information about the target, though you may still become a defendant in the future. The subpoena will typically not state whether you are a target or a subject, but an experienced defense attorney may be able to discern the truth through discussion of the facts underlying the investigation and possibly communication with the prosecutor, if appropriate.

Providing testimony or documents could be very damaging to the person complying with the subpoena. One must always consult with a criminal attorney before considering the next step after being served with the subpoena. If a person feels that he or she shouldn’t have to comply with the grand jury subpoena, they may file a motion to suppress the subpoena. This may be extremely important. Under the Fifth Amendment, any person has the right not to be forced to incriminate themselves. A Subpoena can be suppressed on the grounds that documents requested could contain privileged information that can incriminate the person who is providing the documents. Therefore it’s very important to weight the option when dealing with a sensitive situation. It’s also a sensitive matter when the information requested by the subpoena is in conflict with client confidentiality and a person as a professional is risking his or her reputation and license when complying with the grand jury request.

Your attorney will also discuss any other privilege issues that may affect your testimony, such as testimony against a spouse, or testimony that may violate rules of confidentiality.

If you believe you may be implicated in the crime being investigated, you may consider cooperating with the government. Cooperation, whether in the form of providing information or testifying about co-conspirators, can get you reduced charges and/or sentencing. However, this is a complex issue, which is very dependent on individual circumstances. Your attorney will help you determine whether it is the best course for you, and will negotiate on your behalf with prosecutors should you decide that you wish to cooperate..

Finally, your attorney will be able to explain to you the potential risks you face, as well as any other ways in which your course of action in this matter can affect you. If you have received a federal grand jury subpoena, do not delay in contacting an experienced federal criminal defense attorney.

New York Federal Indictment

An indictment is required for federal criminal prosecution in all cases except where either (1) the offense is a misdemeanor or a petty offense or criminal contempt or (2) the defendant waives prosecution by indictment (this does not apply to capital cases). If federal prosecutors fail to charge the defendant by indictment, the district court does not have jurisdiction over the defendant, which could result in overturning a conviction obtained in the prosecution.

An indictment may be used as the means to obtain an arrest warrant because the fact that the defendant has been indicted serves as a probable cause element necessary to issue an arrest warrant.

If information is used, it serves as a criminal complaint. The prosecutor must file and attach an affidavit of probable cause in order for the court to issue a warrant.

The indictment or information must contain a plain definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense. An indictment must also ‘set forth the elements of the offense charged and contain a statement of the facts and circumstances that will inform the accused of the elements of the specific offense.

Federal prosecutors have wide discretion in deciding whether or not to prosecute a particular individual and what charge to file or bring before a grand jury. Some defendants attempt to dismiss an indictment on grounds of selective prosecution arguing that they have been picked among other potential defendants. This defense is difficult to sustain in view of the prosecution’s wide discretion to choose their defendants. However, an indictment could be dismissed if it could be demonstrated that other similarly situated persons have not been prosecuted and that the government’s decision to prosecute a particular defendant was based on race, religion or other arbitrary factors, or that the prosecution was intended to prevent the exercise of a fundamental right.

An indictment may be also be dismissed for unwarranted prosecutorial delay. This could be accomplished of the defendant shows that the delay actually or substantially prejudiced the right to a fair trial and that the government caused the delay intentionally to gain a tactical advantage over the defendant.
An indictment may also be dismissed because of prosecutorial misconduct such as:

  • the likelihood that the remarks of the prosecutor tended to mislead the jury or prejudice the defendant;
  • the remarks were extensive;
  • the remarks were deliberately made;
  • the evidence against the defendant is weak.

If the prosecutors want to change their charging document, they may replace or amend it.

What Happens After a Person Is Arrested by the Federal Government

After the defendant is indicted or charged on a criminal complaint, he or she is arrested by the federal law enforcement and is taken to the local federal court for arraignment. Arraignment is the initial appearance in court in which the person is officially charged with the crime and enters a plea (usually not guilty). Most arraignments occur on the day of the arrest although there are sometimes delays.

If a person has been charged and arrested in different districts, the district court where the person has been arrested will hold the removal proceeding so that the case can be transferred to the original jurisdiction.

Federal Court Bail

One of the main issues at the arraignment is whether the defendant should be detained or released on personal recognizance or secured/unsecured bond or bail. The government always argues for detention unless the defense attorney has had an opportunity to discuss the case with the prosecutor in the short time between the arrest and the arraignment and work out an acceptable bail package. It is crucial for the family of the newly arrested person to contact an experienced federal criminal attorney as soon as possible after the arrest.

During the arraignment, unless there is an agreement with the prosecutor, the defense lawyer will make a bail application trying to convince the judge to release the defendant. The most important factors that judges consider are previous criminal conduct, the nature of the crime, the risk to the community if the defendant is released, and the risk of flight. Even if the defendant is detained, it is possible to revisit the bail issue later either by convincing the prosecutor to agree to bail or by making a motion for reconsideration. It is also possible to appeal the decision to detain the defendant.

The types of federal criminal cases we handle

At Joseph Potashnik & Associates our New York federal criminal lawyers handle virtually all types of federal cases from white collar fraud cases to international extradition to violent crimes. We represented clients in some of the media-covered cases involving organized crime, terrorism, cybercrime, and massive fraud schemes. We are based in New York and most of our cases are in New York federal courts. However, we routinely handle federal criminal cases in New Jersey and across the country.

How to choose the best federal criminal lawyer in New York

There are a lot of competent criminal lawyers in New York, including those who practice in federal courts. There are also a lot of lawyers who rarely appear in federal cases and really have no expertise. There are lawyers who claim to have expertise while they really don’t. Choosing a defense attorney for a federal case is one of the most serious things you will do in your live. We believe that you should not make this important decision based on the Internet presentation alone. You should investigate the attorneys which you consider to interview and then you should meet them in person to make the final decision. Ask the questions which are important to you. Did the firm handle similar cases? What happened in those cases? Did the firm try cases in front of juries? If the lawyer says to you that they never lost a trial, ask how many trials they had. Will the firm pressure you to plead guilty  or will they explore all available defenses? Which defense will they use and how? What is the defense strategy? Is the firm so big that it will assign a number of associates to work on your case and drain your retainer in a matter of weeks? Is it a solo practitioner who may not have the resources to handle a very complex matter (not that it’s impossible)? Did the lawyer explain to you the federal sentencing system including the Sentencing Guidelines? Most importantly, did the lawyer promise you any result. If they did, we recommend that you keep on looking.

These are some of the questions you should be asking. Ultimately, there are many good competent attorneys in New York and you should choose the one you are most comfortable with.

If you need to speak about your case with an experienced New York federal attorney, call Joseph Potashnik & Associates today to discuss your case.