California Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

Winning California Criminal Defense Lawyers

Our federal defense attorneys have a robust track record in Los Angeles, in San Diego, in all of California, and nationwide. Call our California criminal defense lawyers (888) 519-4897 now for a free and confidential consultation.

Oberheiden, P.C., is a criminal defense law firm that represents individuals and corporate clients in federal criminal matters. Comprised of trial-tested defense lawyers and highly-experienced former federal prosecutors, our criminal defense trial lawyers offers a proven record of results during criminal investigations, grand jury proceedings, at trial, and on appeal.

Regardless of the status of your case, if you are at risk for federal criminal prosecution and sentencing, you need a highly skilled and committed defense team on your side. Most federal crimes carry the potential for substantial fines and long-term imprisonment, and it is not unusual for Assistant United States Attorneys in California to pursue multiple counts of a broad array of charges. In fact, many of our clients have been at risk for millions of dollars in fines and decades behind bars; in many cases, our California criminal defense lawyers have helped them avoid charges entirely.

A Decisive and Proven Federal Defense Team for All Stages of Criminal Cases in California

We get involved in our clients’ cases at all stages of the federal criminal justice process, from investigations through appeals. However, as a general rule, the sooner we get involved the more options we have. As a result, we encourage anyone who is facing an investigation or charges to contact us immediately.


The first opportunity to defend against a federal criminal case comes during the government’s investigation. Depending upon the allegations involved, these investigations can involve the Department of Justice (DOJ), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Office of Inspector General (OIG), and any of a number of other federal agencies. When facing an investigation, one of the first critical steps is to determine: (i) which agencies are involved, and (ii) whether the investigation is civil or criminal in nature.

If your investigation is currently civil, you want to keep it that way. This limits the penalties that are on the table (most notably, you are not at risk for federal imprisonment). However, if your investigation is criminal or if it has the potential to become criminal, then you need to tailor your defense strategy accordingly. We begin representing the majority of our clients during the investigative process, and the vast majority of these clients never face civil or criminal charges.

Grand Jury

A federal grand jury is the process by which federal prosecutors can obtain an indictment to formally pursue criminal charges. If you have received a grand jury subpoena, you need to have an attorney evaluate the subpoena immediately to determine what you need to do to comply and whether you have any grounds to challenge the subpoena – either in whole or in part.

It is critical to work with an experienced federal defense attorney when preparing to submit documents or provide testimony in response to a grand jury subpoena as well. You do not want to (and do not have to) provide any documents that are self-incriminating or subject to the attorney-client privilege, and you need to make sure you are as prepared as possible to present yourself effectively in front of the grand jury.


If you have been federally charged, the next stage of the defense process involves seeking to secure a favorable resolution prior to trial. Pretrial is a significant part of federal criminal litigation, and it is the stage at which most charges are resolved – either by plea bargains or by convincing the U.S. Attorney’s Office to drop charges entirely. While some law firms immediately focus on trial preparation following an indictment, our highly experienced California criminal defense lawyers know that there are many opportunities to secure leverage and negotiate favorable outcomes during the pretrial process and we never take going to trial for granted.


If going to trial is your best (or only) option, then your defense strategy must focus on preventing the prosecution from meeting its burden of proof. This can be done in a number of ways, including:

  • Seeking to have evidence deemed inadmissible (or “suppressed’) at trial;
  • Cross-examining the government’s fact and expert witnesses;
  • Challenging the veracity of the government’s evidence or the sufficiency of its overall case (e.g., has it failed to address a key element of the charge(s) against you?); and
  • Presenting affirmative defenses that insulate you from criminal culpability.


If you are found guilty on any or all charges at trial, then your case will proceed to sentencing. After a guilty verdict, it is critical not to make the mistake of assuming your fate is predetermined. There are numerous ways to argue for minimal or reduced sentencing. Once again, working with an experienced defense team will give you the best opportunity to minimize the consequences of your conviction.


Finally, regardless of your sentence, if you were found in guilty in federal criminal court you have the right to file an appeal. However, the grounds for appeal are limited, and it is crucial that your trial counsel preserve all potential appellate arguments prior to your verdict being rendered. In addition to representing individual and corporate defendants at trial, we also maintain an active appellate practice that involves representing our own clients as well as clients who were represented at trial by other attorneys.

Learn More about Your Case

The federal criminal justice system is extraordinarily complicated. And while you simply do not have time to learn everything, learning some basic facts and legal principles will help you make informed decisions throughout your case. For more information about defending against federal criminal charges in California, we encourage you to read:

  • What Are Conditions for Pretrial Release? – If you are detained pending trial, getting you out of prison will obviously be a top priority. There are certain effective strategies for seeking pretrial release, and our California criminal defense lawyers can help you pursue the best path forward.
  • Federal Grand Jury Subpoena Defense – A federal grand jury is entirely different from a petit jury in state court, and a grand jury subpoena is unlike any other type of investigative tool. Learn what you need to know about responding to a federal grand jury subpoena.
  • What Are My Options after Being Federally Indicted? – You have been indicted. What now? Find out what to expect during the remainder of your federal case from experienced federal defense lawyer, Dr. Nick Oberheiden.
  • What Is the Burden of Proof in Federal Criminal Cases? – You might know that the burden of proof in federal criminal cases is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” But, what does this mean, exactly? Find out how the jury will judge your innocence if your case goes to verdict.
  • How to Prepare for a Criminal Trial – If your case is headed for trial, everything you say and do can have an impact on the outcome of your case. From posting on social media to destroying evidence, here are some critical mistakes to avoid as well as some affirmative steps you can take to prepare.
  • How Can I Prepare for My Sentencing Hearing? – Not only is your sentence determined separately from your guilt or innocence, but it is actually determined in a separate legal proceeding. Learn about four ways you can help protect yourself while you await your sentencing hearing.

FAQs: Facing a Federal Investigation or Federal Criminal Charges in California

Q: What should I do if I have received a subpoena or target letter?


If you have received a subpoena or target letter from a federal agency such as the DOJ, DEA, FBI, IRS, or OIG, this means that you are the subject of a federal investigation. You need to be very careful about your next steps, and you should discuss your rights and obligations with an attorney promptly.

Q: If I have been indicted, do I have any chance of avoiding a conviction at trial?


Yes, absolutely. We have had our clients’ charges dropped and obtained acquittals during trial on behalf of many clients who have been federally indicted. Even if there is no way to avoid some form of sentencing, you may be able to negotiate a plea deal that minimizes the consequences of your indictment.

Q: How do I know if my investigation or charges are civil or criminal in nature?


In many cases, it is surprisingly difficult to tell whether an investigation or federal charge is civil or criminal in nature. Our California criminal defense lawyers can use their extensive experience and insights to determine what is at stake in your case.

Q: What can I expect during a free case assessment?


At Oberheiden, P.C., when you schedule a free case assessment, you are scheduling an in-depth, one-on-one consultation with a senior federal defense attorney. Your attorney will help you understand what you need to know in order to avoid critical mistakes and develop a strategic action plan for moving forward.


Contact the California Criminal Defense Attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C.

If you need a federal criminal defense lawyer in California, we encourage you to contact our California criminal defense attorneys immediately to schedule your free case assessment. To discuss your case in confidence, call us at (888) 519-4897 or send us your contact information online now.

All website terms, conditions, and disclaimers apply to this information and are hereby fully incorporated. Specifically, this information has been prepared (1) for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice; (2) This information may constitute attorney advertising in some jurisdictions; (3) Merely reading this information does not create an attorney-client relationship; (4) Attorneys of Oberheiden, P.C., are not licensed in all states but are only licensed to practice in the states mentioned in their respective biographies. Nothing contained in here is meant to constitute the unauthorized practice of law or a suggestion of physical presence in the state; (5) Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes in the future.

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