Irvine Criminal Defense
Our federal defense lawyers have a long track record of achieving favorable outcomes for people and companies facing criminal allegations or investigations in Irvine, California (as well as nationwide). Call our Irvine criminal defense lawyers at (214) 469-9009 for a free and confidential consultation.
Oberheiden, P.C., is a criminal defense law firm representing individual as well as corporate clients in a wide range of federal matters. We have a reputation as a law firm that fights aggressively for our clients’ legal interests in every federal investigation or criminal case.
While some firms rush into a “plea right away” strategy or move wholly into a trial posture immediately upon receipt of an indictment, our proven Irvine criminal defense lawyers in California take a different approach: working diligently to have charges dismissed at the earliest possible opportunity, or otherwise negotiating a substantial reduction of charges. In the vast majority of cases, we have achieved this.
Our law firm is comprised of trial-tested defense lawyers and highly experienced former federal prosecutors. When you hire us, you can rest assured, knowing that only senior-level attorneys are working on your case.
Whatever the status of your case might be, our dedicated Irvine criminal defense lawyers are ready to help – from preliminary federal law enforcement investigations or grand jury proceedings to pretrial negotiation, trial litigation, and appeal.
Most federal criminal charges carry substantial penalties, which can include exorbitant fines or long-term imprisonment (years, decades, or in some cases, even a life sentence). Furthermore, it is not unusual for the Assistant U.S. Attorneys in Irvine to charge a single defendant with multiple crimes in the same case (and multiple counts of each).
Indeed, we have represented many distinguished white-collar professionals and corporate entities in the Irvine area who have faced millions of dollars in fines and decades behind bars – and in most cases, our Irvine criminal defense lawyers have helped them substantially reduce their liability and avoid charges.
A Decisive and Proven Federal Defense Team for All Stages of Criminal Cases in Irvine, CA
Below, we explain the various stages of a typical federal criminal case in Irvine. Oberheiden, P.C., has deep experience at each stage and is available to get involved at any time, whatever the status of your investigation might be.
However, our highly experienced Irvine criminal defense lawyers prefer to get involved as early as possible. The sooner we can intervene, the more effective and protective we can be. For that reason, we encourage you to contact us immediately upon learning of a federal investigation, suspicion, or criminal charge.
Some of the most common investigating agencies in Irvine criminal matters are the Department of Justice (DOJ), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Office of Inspector General (OIG – the law enforcement arm of the Department of Health and Human Services).
At Oberheiden, P.C., we see investigations as opportunities for proactive criminal defense: protecting your interests, countering evidence, and engaging the government in negotiations before there is a trial. We are proud to say that the vast majority of the clients who hire us during a federal law enforcement investigation never ended up having to face civil or criminal charges.
If your investigation is currently civil (meaning it has not yet entered the U.S. criminal justice system), you want to keep it that way. This limits the penalties on the table (federal imprisonment in particular). If, on the other hand, your investigation has already entered the criminal justice system or if it has the potential to become a criminal matter soon, you need to tailor your defense strategy accordingly. Oberheiden, P.C., can help.
2. Grand Jury
Grand juries convene at the request of a federal prosecutor. Their purpose is to give the prosecutor a formal opinion as to whether the government has sufficient evidence (i.e., “probable cause”) to charge the defendant with a federal crime. If so, the grand jury will issue an indictment and prosecutors will then proceed with formal charges.
Grand juries sometimes convene in secret. But in other cases, you might be called to testify or offer evidence before a grand jury – either as a potential defendant or as a witness in someone else’s case.
You should never approach a grand jury proceeding alone. Whether submitting documents or providing testimony, you do not want to (and are not required to) provide any information or testimony that will be self-incriminating or subject to the attorney-client privilege.
If we are hired by a client who has already been charged with a federal crime in Irvine, our strategy is to immediately begin looking for opportunities to resolve the case before a trial.
The best way to do this is by acquiring leverage, which can often be done through hearings, motions, answers, and other proceedings that are scheduled as part of the official pretrial process. Most federal criminal charges are ultimately resolved pretrial – either by plea bargains or by convincing the U.S. Attorney’s Office to drop charges entirely. At Oberheiden, P.C., our skilled Irvine criminal defense lawyers never take going to trial for granted.
If it becomes apparent that going to trial represents your best interest or is inevitable, then your defense team must prepare thoroughly. Strategy counts for a lot at trial. The goal is to keep the prosecution from overcoming its burden of proof. This can be done in a number of ways, including:
- Seeking to have evidence suppressed at trial
- Cross-examining the government’s expert witnesses
- Challenging the government’s fact patterns
- 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 or charges against you?)
- Presenting affirmative defenses that insulate you from criminal culpability
If for some reason, despite all efforts, you are found guilty on any charge at trial, then your case will proceed to a sentencing hearing. This happens in a separate proceeding, typically at a later date. Do not underestimate the opportunity to protect yourself in a sentencing hearing. Even if you have been convicted, there is still a real opportunity to argue for minimal or substantially reduced sentencing. Here again, working with an experienced criminal defense team in Irvine will give you the best opportunity to protect yourself from excessive or unduly harsh sentencing.
Finally, regardless of your sentence, if you were found guilty in federal criminal court, you have the right to file an appeal. However, the grounds for appeal are limited. For this reason, it is absolutely critical that your Irvine criminal defense attorneys keep one eye on the possibility of appeal, just in case – making sure to 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, not only our own clients, but also clients who were represented by other attorneys or law firms during their trial.
Learn More about Your Case
The federal criminal justice system can seem confusing and overwhelming. Certainly, it is complex, and you are not expected to understand all the ins and outs. But learning about some of the basic legal principles and procedures will help you make informed decisions throughout your case.
For more information about defending against federal criminal charges in Irvine, we encourage you to read these resources from our website:
- What Are Conditions for Pretrial Release? – Learn about what you need to know if you have been detained pending trial.
- Federal Grand Jury Subpoena Defense – Learn about important considerations for responding to a grand jury subpoena.
- What Are My Options after Being Federally Indicted? – Find out what comes next after a federal grand jury issues an indictment.
- What Is the Burden of Proof in Federal Criminal Cases? – In federal district court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office must prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is a high burden. But with decades of experience, many federal prosecutors are very good at what they do.
- How to Prepare for a Criminal Trial – Going to trial requires painstaking preparation and the confidence that you will be successful. Learn how we prepare our clients’ cases for trial.
- How Can I Prepare for My Sentencing Hearing? – Learn how you can help reduce your risk of a hefty sentence after a conviction at trial.
FAQs: Facing a Federal Investigation or Federal Criminal Charges in Irvine, CA
Q: What should I do if I have received a subpoena or target letter?
A: Subpoenas and target letters are typically issued after the government has already acquired some significant piece of evidence or after agents have spent some time building a case. Accordingly, if you have received a subpoena or target letter from a federal agency (such as the DOJ, DEA, FBI, IRS, or HHS – OIG), you should now consider yourself the subject of a federal investigation and proceed accordingly. You need to be extremely careful about your next steps. Contact a defense lawyer to discuss your rights and obligations, right away.
Q: If I have been indicted, do I have any chance of avoiding a conviction at trial?
A: Yes, absolutely. In fact, our Irvine criminal defense lawyers have achieved a dismissal of criminal charges in the majority of the federal cases we’ve handled. We’ve even reached that result in the face of an already-issued indictment. We have also obtained acquittals during trial on behalf of many clients. Even if there is no way to avoid some form of sentencing, there is still a meaningful opportunity to negotiate a plea deal that could significantly minimize the consequences of your indictment.
Q: How do I know if my investigation or charges are civil or criminal in nature?
A: You might not know. Especially if you are not represented by an attorney, the government may not be forthcoming in the early stages of an investigation. Often, it is difficult to tell whether an investigation or federal charge is civil or criminal in nature. Civil cases sometimes turn into criminal cases. When you hire Oberheiden, P.C., our established Irvine criminal defense lawyers will use our extensive experience and insights to determine what’s at stake in your case. In many instances, we will even contact the investigating agencies and/or U.S. Attorney’s Office / Department of Justice directly to get the information we need.
Q: Can you provide criminal representation during an investigation in Irvine, even if there are no charges yet?
A: Yes. Our criminal defense attorneys are available to travel throughout Irvine, CA, to represent our clients whenever and wherever needed.
Q: What can I expect during a free case assessment?
A: When you schedule a free case assessment at Oberheiden, P.C., you are scheduling a comprehensive, one-on-one consultation with a senior federal defense lawyer. Your Irvine criminal defense 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 Oberheiden, P.C.
If you need a federal criminal defense lawyer in Irvine, we encourage you to contact us immediately to schedule your free case assessment. To discuss your case in confidence, call our trusted Irvine criminal defense lawyers at (214) 469-9009 or send us your contact information online now.