An arrest for any criminal offense can be a life-changing experience, but facing criminal charges in federal court is especially daunting. Only certain crimes may be prosecuted at the federal level, and the federal criminal court system generally seeks the harshest possible penalties for defendants convicted of federal crimes. An Atlanta federal terrorism attorney is an invaluable asset for a defendant in any such case.
Some of the most serious federal offenses one can commit in the United States include acts of terrorism. The federal law enforcement agencies and the federal criminal justice system take acts of terrorism very seriously, and if you find yourself facing any such charges, it is crucial to find a federal criminal defense attorney to represent you in these proceedings.
The team at The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman has years of experience in federal criminal defense, and our team has assisted many Atlanta-area clients with all types of federal criminal cases. You need to act quickly to secure defense representation you can trust after an arrest on federal terrorism charges, and we are ready to provide the counsel and support you need in this challenging situation.
A federal criminal trial will unfold along a similar framework as what you could expect in a state-level criminal case. However, the defendant faces the federal government, and most federal criminal cases do not proceed to the level of arrest until a federal law enforcement agency has compiled the evidence they believe they need to ensure a conviction.
If you are arrested for a federal terrorism offense, it is likely that the arrest will be managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), or, in the case of federal terrorism charges, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Whichever agency arrests you will file charges in federal court, and the defendant in this situation potentially faces many years to life in federal prison along with very heavy fines if they are convicted.
Even in federal criminal court, the criminal justice system of the United States functions on the rule of innocent until proven guilty, meaning it is up to the prosecution to meet the burden of proof to ensure conviction. The prosecution must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and the defendant must be found guilty by unanimous verdict from a jury of their peers.
It is the defense attorney’s job to prevent the prosecution from meeting their burden of proof. Your Atlanta federal terrorism defense attorney can assist you in gathering evidence that proves you did not commit the offense, or they may seek to highlight procedural missteps from the prosecution. When you choose The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman to represent you, we know how to identify all procedural issues that may work in your favor.
Ultimately, if your defense attorney cannot prove that you were wrongfully arrested and did not commit the offense, your most viable strategy may be to seek a plea deal with the prosecution. Prosecutors are sometimes willing to exchange lighter sentences and/or reduced charges in exchange for a swift guilty plea and/or cooperation with other ongoing investigations. Your defense attorney can advise you as to whether such a deal would be in your best interests.
The term “terrorism” broadly defines any intentional criminal act designed to damage or destroy critical government infrastructure or property, cause great bodily harm to members of the public and/or government officials, or intimidate government entities to change specific policies. As the name suggests, terrorism uses fear as an intimidation tactic, typically to further a political or ideological goal of a single person or group of people.
It is possible to face domestic terrorism charges at the state level as well as federal prosecution. Under state law, any terrorism charge can lead to many years in prison. Kidnapping or causing serious bodily harm can lead to 15 to 35 years in prison, causing death can lead to life imprisonment with or without parole or the death penalty, and causing harm to critical infrastructure or government property can lead to five to 35 years in prison.
The federal government only prosecutes the most serious criminal offenses, leaving most criminal justice proceedings to state and county courts under the rules of the Constitution. However, a criminal charge such as a firearms-related offense can lead to federal prosecution when the offense crosses state lines or when the defendant has committed damage or great bodily injury, reaching the level necessary to qualify for prosecution in federal court.
It is possible to represent yourself pro se in federal court, meaning you act as your own defense counsel, but this is inadvisable for many reasons. Even if you believe you have a solid defense or that you have been wrongfully accused, the federal government has virtually unlimited resources with which to prosecute crimes. You have the right to a defense attorney, and it is important to take full advantage of this right in such a serious case.
It’s understandable to have concerns about the potential cost of hiring a defense attorney, and it is vital to take your time to find one with a suitable billing policy. Most defense attorneys bill their clients hourly, setting an hourly rate and tracking the time they spend working on a case incrementally. The hourly rate depends on the complexity of the case and the attorney’s experience level, and the more time they must spend on a case, the more it costs the client.
The team at The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman has the experience and resources necessary to provide robust criminal defense representation in a wide range of federal criminal cases, including those pertaining to terrorism charges. If you have been charged in federal court for any type of terrorism, it is essential to find an Atlanta federal terrorism defense attorney you can trust to represent you.
Contact The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman today to schedule your consultation with an experienced defense team you can trust and find out how we can assist with your case.