Orange County Criminal Defense
Experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Attorneys
The federal defense attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C., have a robust record of favorable outcomes, both in Orange County and nationwide. Call our Orange County criminal defense attorneys at (214) 692-2171 for a free and confidential consultation.
We are a criminal defense law firm representing individual as well as corporate clients in a wide range of federal matters in Orange County, California, and beyond.
Our team is comprised of trial-tested defense lawyers and highly experienced former federal prosecutors. Our winning Orange County criminal defense attorneys are proud to have achieved momentous results for many of our clients. In fact, in the vast majority of cases, we have achieved an avoidance or dismissal of criminal charges.
Whatever of the status of your case might be, we 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 come with the threat of substantial fines or long-term imprisonment. And it is not unusual for the Assistant U.S. Attorneys in Orange County to pursue multiple counts of multiple charges at the same time.
In fact, many of our clients (most of whom are distinguished white-collar professionals, successful business people, or corporate entities) have been at risk for millions of dollars in fines and decades behind bars – and in many cases, our skilled Orange County criminal defense attorneys have helped them avoid charges entirely.
If you are at risk for federal criminal prosecution and sentencing, you need a highly skilled, passionate, and aggressive defense team in your corner. Let us fight to protect you at every turn.
A Decisive and Proven Federal Defense Team for All Stages of Criminal Cases in Orange County
We are willing and able to get involved in a client’s case at any stage of the federal criminal justice process. That said, as a general rule, the sooner we can intervene, the better. For that reason, we encourage you to contact our seasoned Orange County criminal defense attorneys immediately upon learning of a federal investigation, suspicion, or criminal charge.
While a criminal case might formally begin with an indictment or the filing of charges, there’s usually an investigation that begins long before that. It is during this investigation that we have our best opportunity to defend you. Depending upon the nature of the alleged offense, these investigations might 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 number of other federal agencies.
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 (most pertinently, federal imprisonment). However, if your investigation is already criminal in nature or if it has the potential to become a criminal matter imminently, then you need to tailor your defense strategy accordingly.
While we can enter later if possible, we typically begin representing our clients during the investigative process. And our proven Orange County criminal defense attorneys are proud to say that the vast majority of these clients never ended up having to face civil or criminal charges.
2. Grand Jury
A grand jury is not quite like an ordinary criminal trial jury. For one thing, the grand jury’s purpose is different. Grand juries convene simply to offer an opinion to federal prosecutors: does the government have enough evidence (“probable cause”) to justify bringing charges against a defendant? If so, the grand jury will issue an indictment, and prosecutors will usually, then, proceed with formal criminal 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. In either scenario, 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 submit documents or provide testimony in response to a grand jury subpoena. 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. These proceedings are extremely serious, and handling them correctly can make an enormous difference in the series of events to follow.
If you have been charged with a federal crime in Orange County, your defense attorneys’ efforts will immediately turn to two things:
(1) complying with the court’s pretrial schedule and preparing challenges to the prosecution’s evidence and motions at every turn; and
(2) aggressively seeking opportunities to resolve your case before the 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 focus on trial preparation immediately upon receipt of an indictment, we understand that there are many opportunities to secure leverage and negotiate favorable outcomes during the pretrial process. Our skilled Orange County criminal defense attorneys 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 (which is “beyond a reasonable doubt”). This can be done in a number of ways:
- Seeking to have evidence ruled inadmissible (that is, “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 you are found guilty on any charge at trial, then your case will proceed to a sentencing hearing. A guilty verdict might seem like the end of the world to you – certainly, you want to avoid it all costs, and in the overwhelming majority of our cases, we have. But even after a guilty judgment, there is a real opportunity to argue for minimal or substantially reduced sentencing. Here again, working with an experienced criminal defense team in Orange County will give you the best opportunity to protect yourself from excessive or unduly harsh sentencing.
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. For this reason, it is imperative that your trial counsel always has an eye toward appeal (just in case), making sure to preserve all potential appellate arguments prior to your verdict being rendered. This is a crucial part of criminal litigation strategy at the federal level, and it is an area where experience really counts. In addition to representing individual and corporate defendants at trial, our experienced Orange County criminal defense attorneys 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 is extraordinarily complex. Certainly, you are not expected to understand the whole system or know its every facet. But learning some of the basic facts and legal principles will help you make informed decisions throughout your case. For more information about defending against federal criminal charges in Orange County, we encourage you to read these resources from our website here at Oberheiden, P.C.:
- What Are Conditions for Pretrial Release? – Find out what you need to know if you have been detained pending trial.
- Federal Grand Jury Subpoena Defense – Learn about effective and important considerations for responding to a 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 in this helpful guide, written by an experienced federal defense lawyer from Oberheiden, P.C.
- What Is the Burden of Proof in Federal Criminal Cases? – What does it mean to prove someone’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt”? Thoughts on how the jury will determine your guilt if your case goes to verdict in federal district court, from the federal criminal defense lawyers of Oberheiden, P.C.
- How to Prepare for a Criminal Trial – What can you do to help make sure the U.S. Attorney’s Office cannot meet its burden of proof? Read about steps to take and mistakes to avoid.
- 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, shared by the federal defense attorneys of Oberheiden, P.C.
FAQs: Facing a Federal Investigation or Federal Criminal Charges in Orange County
Q: What should I do if I have received a subpoena or target letter?
A: If you have received a subpoena or target letter from a federal agency, such as the DOJ, DEA, FBI, IRS, or OIG, you should consider yourself the subject of an active federal investigation. You need to be extremely careful about your next steps. Criminal investigations can expand in scope rapidly, so you should contact an Orange County criminal defense attorney 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. We have been able to get charges dropped for many of our clients, even after a grand jury indictment in many cases. 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: In many cases, it is surprisingly difficult to tell whether an investigation or federal charge is civil or criminal in nature. Our Orange County criminal defense attorneys can use their extensive experience and insights to determine what is at stake in your case. In many instances, we even get in direct contact with the investigating agencies and/or U.S. Attorney’s Office / Department of Justice to get the information we need.
Q: Do you provide criminal representation during an investigation in Orange County, California, even if there are no charges yet?
A: Yes. Our criminal defense attorneys are available to travel throughout Orange County, 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 with our senior Orange County criminal defense attorneys from Oberheiden, P.C., you are scheduling a complete, 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 Proven Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Oberheiden, P.C.
If you need a federal criminal defense lawyer in Orange County, we encourage you to contact us immediately to schedule your free case assessment. To discuss your case in confidence, call our Orange County criminal defense lawyers at (214) 692-2171 or send us your contact information online now.