San Diego Criminal Trial/Litigation
Winning San Diego Criminal Trial/Litigation Attorneys
If you are facing federal criminal charges in San Diego, you need to be prepared to defend yourself at trial. At Oberheiden, P.C., our San Diego criminal litigation attorneys have an extensive record of securing favorable results in federal district court.
If you have been charged with a federal crime, avoiding substantial fines and long-term imprisonment means presenting an aggressive defense strategy in pretrial and trial litigation. The Assistant United States Attorneys prosecuting your case are working hard to convict you, and they have the full weight of the federal government’s law enforcement resources on their side.
At Oberheiden, P.C., we fight hard to protect our clients against unjust consequences in federal criminal court. Our San Diego criminal trial/litigation attorneys understand what is at stake, and we also know that there are ways to mitigate (if not escape entirely) the consequences of a federal arrest and indictment. Our attorneys have represented clients in more than 500 federal criminal trials. And if you are facing the fight of your life, we can represent you in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego.
Federal criminal litigation is complicated. It is difficult. To be frank, the odds are stacked against you. But, there are ways to protect yourself. And at Oberheiden, P.C., we can make sure you have every opportunity to avoid a conviction. From the moment we take your case, our San Diego criminal trial/litigation attorneys will work tirelessly to overcome the government’s prosecution tactics and the criminal allegations against you. We will use the unique circumstances of your case to pursue the optimal outcome prior to and, if necessary, during trial. We handle cases involving allegations of:
- Health care fraud
- Federal drug crimes
- Tax crimes
- Bank fraud
- Securities fraud
- Public corruption and bribery
- Other white-collar federal offenses
Litigation Attorneys for Criminal Cases in the United States District Court in San Diego, CA
Protecting yourself in a federal criminal case starts with making sure you have a clear understanding of the allegations against you. From grand jury proceedings through pretrial discovery and motions practice, our federal litigation attorneys use the judicial process to gather as much information as possible about not only the allegations against our clients, but also any defenses that may have arisen due to mistakes or constitutional violations by federal agents or prosecutors.
7 Steps in the Federal Criminal Litigation Process
1. Grand Jury
If the U.S. Attorney’s Office decides to pursue criminal charges, the first major step is to seek an indictment before a federal grand jury. In grand jury proceedings, Assistant United States Attorneys present evidence (including evidence obtained through grand jury subpoenas) in order to try to convince the grand jurors that they have “probable cause” to pursue a criminal case in federal district court. If the grand jurors are convinced that probable cause exists, the grand jury will issue an indictment, and this results in the formal filing of charges against the defendant.
While the grand jury process itself involves an investigation and while grand jury proceedings typically follow federal investigations conducted by agencies such as the Department of Justice (DOJ), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Office of Inspector General (OIG), the investigative process continues well after the grand jury issues an indictment. On the defense side, the purpose of this continued investigation is to identify potential defense strategies and determine the best path forward as a trial date is set and the case proceeds toward litigation in federal district court.
3. Pretrial Strategizing
There are numerous potential defenses to federal criminal charges, and part of developing an effective case strategy is to identify the best and most cohesive way to present a comprehensive defense. Presenting an effective defense really is all about strategy. And in-depth knowledge of how federal cases progress as a result of decades of experience in federal litigation is among the most important tools in a federal defense attorney’s arsenal.
4. Plea Deal (or Dismissal) Negotiations
With a strategy in place, you can begin negotiating for a favorable pretrial resolution. Ideally, this would mean securing a dismissal prior to trial. However, if the Assistant United States Attorneys handling your case are convinced that they have the evidence necessary to secure a conviction, it may mean negotiating a plea. In any case, every move must be made in furtherance of your ultimate objective, and you must be prepared to anticipate the government’s every move.
5. Pretrial Litigation
As your San Diego criminal trial/litigation attorneys negotiate with the prosecution, they will also be engaging in pretrial litigation practice. This includes:
- Responding to discovery requests (including challenging the government’s requests for information, as justified);
- Requesting information from the government;
- Attending hearings in federal district court;
- Filing motions to suppress evidence and limit the scope of the government’s case (or potentially seek a dismissal); and
- Responding to the prosecution’s court filings.
When undertaken strategically, these steps can serve a number of different purposes, from convincing the U.S. Attorney’s Office that you are prepared to fight to whittling down the government’s case to the point that it is no longer worth pursuing.
If it is not possible to secure a favorable pretrial resolution, then you will need to take full advantage of your day in court. In federal criminal trials, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has the burden of proving your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Federal criminal trials can last anywhere from a single day to several weeks. And from discrediting the government’s witnesses to presenting your case in chief, your defense team will take advantage of every opportunity to secure an acquittal.
If the jury decides to rule against you, you will have an additional opportunity to protect yourself during the sentencing stage of your trial. Litigating the sentencing phase involves its own unique legal, factual, and strategic considerations, and it takes experienced San Diego criminal trial/litigation attorneys to convince a federal district court judge that only minimal sentencing is warranted.
Even once you are sentenced, your case still is not necessarily over. A federal criminal conviction can potentially be appealed on several grounds. If your trial counsel took the steps necessary to preserve your rights on appeal, you can challenge your conviction in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Defense Strategies in Federal Criminal Litigation
As we mentioned above, there are numerous potential defenses to criminal allegations in federal cases. The specific defenses you have available will depend on factors including: (i) the federal statute(s) under which you are being prosecuted, (ii) the specific circumstances surrounding your arrest, and (iii) whether federal agents or prosecutors made any prejudicial errors during the investigation or prosecution of your case. With this caveat in mind, some defense strategies we are frequently able to use in federal criminal cases include:
- Arguing the Burden of Proof – This is the bedrock of any federal criminal defense strategy. In order to avoid a conviction, you do not need to prove that you are innocent – you only need to prevent the U.S. Attorney’s Office from proving that you are guilty. If you can successfully challenge any element of the government’s case, this alone could be enough to protect you against fines and imprisonment.
- Seeking to Exclude the Government’s Evidence – One way to prevent the government from meeting its burden of proof is by keeping incriminating evidence out of your trial. Evidence can be deemed inadmissible for a variety of different reasons, and it is possible to challenge the admissibility of evidence during the pretrial and trial processes.
- Asserting Affirmative Defenses – While you do not need to prove your innocence, doing so can be an effective defense strategy in some cases. Typically, this involves asserting what is known as an “affirmative defense.” With an affirmative defense, you are effectively arguing that, even if the allegations against you are true, they do justify a criminal conviction as a result of a statutory protection, exclusion, or “safe harbor” that applies under the circumstances at hand.
- Asserting Your Constitutional Rights – The constitutional protections that apply in federal criminal cases can provide partial or complete defenses under a variety of different circumstances. From unlawful searches and seizures to violations of your right to remain silent and your right to a speedy trial, if federal agents or prosecutors have violated your constitutional rights, our San Diego criminal trial/litigation attorneys can use this to your advantage.
Federal Defense Attorneys for High-Stakes Criminal Litigation in San Diego
With offices in San Diego (as well as other major cities around the country), our federal litigation team represents clients facing criminal charges in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. We have an extensive track record, and we are passionate about securing justice for our clients. Learn more:
Speak with Our San Diego Criminal Trial/Litigation Lawyers
If you are facing federal charges in San Diego, we strongly encourage you to contact us for a free and confidential consultation. To schedule an appointment as soon as possible, call our proven San Diego criminal trial/litigation lawyers at (214) 692-2171 or tell us how to reach you online now.