If you have been charged with a federal crime in Northern Virginia, you may be facing some serious penalties and long-term consequences. During times like these, it is important to carefully vet your legal options with the assistance of a federal defense attorney who has experience handling cases in the court where your charges will be heard.
By working with a Fairfax federal criminal lawyer at our firm, you can develop a robust and personalized defense strategy that takes advantages of the strengths of your case and forces the prosecution to meet the burden of proof. To get started, contact one of our Fairfax criminal lawyers today and complete your initial consultation free of charge.
There are two divisions of the federal Eastern District Court in Virginia. There is the Alexandria Division and the Richmond Division of the Eastern District of Virginia. When speaking about criminal cases, the cases before the Eastern District Court are those in which people have been charged with violating federal laws.
The difference between state and federal courts is the jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the case often depends on what government agency has investigated the case and determined whether there’s probable cause to believe that the person has violated the federal law or state law. But in many cases, there is a combination of both.
For instance, there is overlap regarding child pornography statutes. Virginia has child pornography laws but so does the federal court. This means there could be a multijurisdictional task force who has investigated a person. And then there needs to be a decision as to whether the case is brought in state court versus federal court. And they have different considerations that they might think about before making that decision.
A lot of times, it comes down to what statute carries the most serious penalty or how wide reaching the facts of the case are. If there is more than one person involved than that would be more appropriate in federal court because federal court has more reach in the entire country to be able to put their investigative resources to use beyond just state lines.
The United States Eastern District Court of Virginia is also known as “The Rocket Docket.”
A rocket docket is a term of art used to describe the Eastern District of Virginia. The reason for it is because the court’s calendar moves extremely quickly, and so the length of the case from start to finish is significantly shorter than in other courts. The judges take the timeline of court dates leading to trial very seriously, and attorneys need to be aware of that when they are preparing their cases.
The Assistant US Attorneys in the Eastern District, or the prosecutors, are very responsive to Fairfax federal criminal lawyers who reach out to them early in the case to obtain information about the case (which is also called discovery), and to start a dialogue with them. That’s something that is different than in other courts.
However, each case is different. It depends on what the client is charged with, and that determines how the attorney prepares for a case. The rules in federal court, the rules of procedure and the rules of evidence are different than they are in state court.
Obviously the attorney who is handling the case needs to be aware of the local rules and the rules of criminal procedure in federal court and the rules of evidence in the federal courts because they can be quite different than the ones in Virginia.
The judges in that court are extremely intelligent. They are well-prepared, they are very formal, and they have high expectations for the attorneys that appear before them. They want attorneys that are well-prepared and professional, and provide good service to their clients.
The sooner you contact our Northern Virginia law offices and complete your case evaluation, the sooner an experienced Fairfax federal criminal defense attorney can review the details of your case and begin working on your behalf. Don’t wait—our friendly legal team is standing by to receive your call.
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