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Federal Crimes

Attorney Representing Defendants in Southeast Michigan

People accused of engaging in unlawful activity in Michigan are often charged with violating state laws. In some instances, however, allegedly illegal activity will lead to federal charges. Federal crimes are serious offenses that can result in time in federal penitentiaries, and it is crucial for anyone facing federal charges to obtain the assistance of an assertive attorney. Detroit federal crime lawyer Ellen K. Michaels can develop a strategy to help you pursue a favorable outcome. She has ample experience defending people in federal courts, and she will zealously advocate on your behalf. She represents people in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, and Monroe Counties, and throughout the Detroit metro area.

Examples of Federal Crimes

Generally, federal charges arise out of violations of federal law or illegal activity that crosses state lines, occurs on federal land, or harms a federal employee. For example, crimes involving the United States Mail, interstate kidnapping or theft, and counterfeiting typically constitute federal offenses. Possession or distribution of child pornography, drug trafficking, and racketeering are often charged as federal offenses as well.

The Process of Prosecuting Federal Crimes

There are multiple federal agencies that investigate federal offenses, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Drug Enforcement Agency. As with entities investigating state crimes, they must comply with rules that aim to protect constitutional rights, which means that they typically must obtain a warrant prior to conducting a search or seizure and cannot exceed the scope of a warrant. They must advise criminal suspects of their rights prior to questioning them. If they fail to comply with the proper procedures, it may provide grounds for a federal crime attorney in Detroit to argue that any evidence obtained during the investigation should be suppressed.

If the investigating agency believes that it has enough evidence that a person committed a federal offense, it will issue an indictment, setting forth information regarding the potential charges. A hearing will then be conducted in front of a grand jury, who will determine whether there is enough information to charge the person with a crime. If the defendant is charged, the parties will conduct discovery, which is the process of gathering and analyzing evidence. They will then evaluate whether to enter into a plea agreement or proceed to trial.

Burdens of Proof in Federal Criminal Cases

While state attorneys prosecute alleged violations of Michigan law, federal crimes are prosecuted by United States Attorneys. Regardless of whether criminal trials are conducted at the state or federal level, though, the prosecution faces the same burden of proof. Specifically, the prosecution needs to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that each element of the charged offense is present and that therefore the defendant should be found guilty. While there is no precise definition for the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, it has generally been interpreted to mean that the evidence is so persuasive that no reasonable person examining it could arrive at any decision other than that the defendant is guilty. A Detroit federal crime attorney can help hold the prosecution to this high standard.

Criminal defendants do not bear any burden of proof and are not required to offer evidence to prove that they should be found not guilty. In many instances, though, they choose to do so for their own benefit. In some cases, they may merely point out the deficiencies in the prosecution’s case, such as the fact that they cannot establish certain elements of a crime, like intent. At other times, defendants will choose to offer affirmative defenses, like self-defense or entrapment.

Contact a Knowledgeable Michigan Lawyer

People charged with federal crimes often fear that it is inevitable that they will be found guilty, but there may be numerous defenses that they can assert to achieve successful results. If you are accused of a federal crime, it is advisable to confer with an attorney about your options. Ellen K. Michaels has the skills and experience needed to help you fight to protect your rights. Attorney Michaels’ offices are located in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Bloomfield Hills, and West Bloomfield, and she regularly helps people charged with federal crimes in Macomb, Wayne, Oakland, and Monroe Counties, and throughout Southeast Michigan. Attorney Michaels can be reached via the online form or at (248) 202-3345 to set up a confidential meeting with a federal crime lawyer in the Detroit area.

Client Reviews

I hired Ellen Michaels to represent me after I was charged with retail fraud 3 in Livonia. She was wonderful to work with...


Ellen represented my daughter when she received an MIP. She not only fought for a full dismissal, which she was able to get...


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