Federal Criminal Defense

The practice of Federal Criminal Law requires specialized expertise and experience that not every criminal defense lawyer has.  Federal law – and the Federal Court System – are very different than state and local law and courts, and the consequences that can be imposed when you are charged with a federal crime can be drastically higher than what usually happens to state court defendants.  

The attorneys at the Sprano Law Firm in Fairfax, VA, have been representing defendants charged with federal crimes in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia for almost 20 years.  We have the experience, knowledge, judgment and skill to get the best possible result in your federal case. 

Presenting Your Defense Against Federal Criminal Charges

If you are charged with a federal crime, usually the first court appearance will be a combination Detention Hearing and Preliminary Hearing.  The purpose of the Preliminary Hearing is simply to determine if there is at least probable cause for the case to go forward.  The usual rules of evidence do not apply, and the government normally proceeds by introducing the written affidavit prepared by the lead case agent.  It is very rare for a case not to make it past the Preliminary Hearing stage in federal court. 

The attorney will also be able to argue for the defendant’s release at the Detention Hearing.  In order to be approved for release, the defendant will need to have a suitable “3rd party custodian,” who agrees to help supervise the defendant and ensure compliance with the court’s orders.  For some charges – particularly those involving mandatory minimum sentences (most drug cases), firearms, violent crimes or sex offenses – the presumption against pre-trial release can be difficult to overcome.  However, the attorneys at the Sprano Law Firm have been successful in gaining release for clients charged with such offenses as conspiracy to distribute drugs, child pornography, and various types of federal fraud crimes.  

The next step in the process of federal criminal defense is what is called “Discovery.”  The prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia do not “hide the ball.”  Quite the contrary – they will usually provide just about every shred of evidence they have, including voluminous police reports, surveillance audio and video recordings, computer and phone forensic reports, scientific evidence, etc….   The process of combing through all of this evidence searching for little nuggets of helpful information – and making sure we are aware of any and all potentially harmful evidence – can be painstaking and extremely time consuming, but it is also very necessary. 

After reviewing all of the discovery materials, we will be able to sit down with our client and have thorough and frank discussions about all of the possible options and strategies to pursue moving forward with the case.  If we are going to trial, we prepare to win.  Other times we try to convince the prosecutor to agree to a more favorable plea offer than they originally intended.  When successful, these types of negotiations can greatly reduce the clients ultimate sentence.  

The final step in the process is to prepare for sentencing.  After reviewing all of the evidence, the pre-sentence report, and gathering any and all information favorable to our client, we will prepare and file a sentencing memorandum with the court in advance of the actual sentencing hearing.  The government will do the same, and it is often the strength (or weakness) of these written motions that will determine the judge’s final sentence. 

While past success is no guarantee of future results, we are proud of the fact that we have managed to achieve sentences at or below the low end of the federal sentencing guidelines for that majority of our federal clients.  Many times our clients have even served less than the mandatory minimum sentence dictated by law.

Call 703-763-0979 or 866-936-5614 for Advice About Federal Criminal Defense

In most situations, you’re already at a disadvantage just by being in federal court. Instead of dealing with a local prosecutor and suburban police departments, you’re up against an Assistant United States Attorney who might even have a longstanding specialized focus on the prosecution of cases very much like yours. The prosecution will be backed up by the accumulated resources some of the most effective law enforcement agencies in the world: FBI, DEA, ATF, IRS or Homeland Security, and numerous “joint task forces” allied with local law enforcement.   When the full might and power of the United States government is seeking to put you or your loved one in prison for a very long time – you need to find a top lawyer with experience in federal court.

At the Sprano Law Firm, our lawyers have extensive experience with the defense of federal charges, and we use our familiarity with federal investigation, charging, pretrial and sentencing practices to benefit our clients at every stage of the case. Because the opportunities for lenient plea and sentencing arrangements are much more restricted in the federal system, we know how to use our trial experience to strengthen your bargaining position.

Our federal criminal defense attorneys can help you develop and present a defense whenever necessary for a wide range of federal criminal charges in U.S. District Court, including:

  • Conspiracy to Distribute Drugs
  • Money laundering
  • Child pornography or Internet sex crimes
  • Weapons offenses, most commonly felon in possession of firearm cases
  • Fraud and white collar crimes like embezzlement or public corruption
  • Counterfeiting
  • Mail Fraud
  • Wire Fraud
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Obstruction of Justice / False Statements
  • Sex Trafficking
  • Assault on a Federal Law Enforcement Officer
  • Robbery (Hobbes Act)
  • Passport Fraud
  • Murder

Although you can’t always expect to get advance notice of a federal investigation before being charged, it’s a good idea to get defense counsel before the charges are formalized if you are aware of the possibility.  Child Pornography Charges. Online sex crimes and Federal drug charges in particular can provide opportunities to develop a sound defense strategy before the case is presented to a grand jury, and an experienced attorney can help protect you from the most serious potential charges.

Find out more about the federal criminal defense practice at the Sprano Law Firm. Contact us in Fairfax for a free consultation.

Click on the links below for more information:

The Sprano Law Firm, LLP

Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyers
10603 Judicial Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-763-0979

Toll Free: 866-936-5614
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