Usually, State investigations are initiated by local police within their jurisdiction and/or state agencies with a lawful interest in the case. After an investigation is completed, officers of those agencies will either arrest the alleged perpetrator, charging them with the crime, or present their findings to the local office of the State Attorney in each Circuit in Florida who will either approve an arrest or decide what charge, if any should be brought against the offender.
The charges to be brought may be reviewed by the case filing unit in each respective State Attorney’s Office or may be reviewed by a filing Assistant State Attorney in different specialized units of the State Attorney’s Office for instance murder, fraud white collar, or general crimes divisions; At this earliest stage of prosecution, an accomplished defense attorney will surely get involved in the case trying to demonstrate good reason in influencing the Assistant State Attorney to drop charges completely, or file a reduced charge (down file) if possible, for the benefit of his client. It is also advisable at this stage of the investigation to try and convince the filing Assistant State Attorney to agree to the placement of the client in a pre-trial diversion program; skilled defense counsel must be familiar with the requirements of each prosecuting office so that diversion is a viable alternative. In capital crimes where the death penalty is a possibility it is also important for skilled defense counsel to be familiar with the rules governing grand jury presentations.
Federal Investigations require that a lawyer be familiar with the specialized concerns applicable to the earliest stages of these cases as well. For instance certain federal agencies are charged with specific responsibilities; the secret service has jurisdiction over counterfeiting and credit card offenses; special agents of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration are concerned with narcotics and money laundering investigations; United States customs and immigration service officers investigate crimes involving illegal aliens, the entry of individuals into the United States from abroad as well as the required declarations such individuals must make when bringing in currency or other items into the United States; Special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigate among many other cases, federal bank robberies or terrorism matters; Thus skilled defense counsel must be familiar with each agency and their jurisdictional responsibilities so that they can discuss a particular case with the agent either before or after the investigation has been presented to a United States Attorney’s Office or Department of Justice attorney.
It is equally important to be familiar with the workings of a federal grand jury including how investigations work before the grand jury, the obtaining of grants of use immunity or transactional immunity for clients if possible; other considerations include attempts to convince federal authorities to decline prosecutions, armed forces enlistment as an alternative to federal prosecution, pre- trial diversion as an alternative to federal prosecution; dual and successive prosecution policy of the Department of Justice and local US Attorney Offices concerning certain crimes (that is whether a federal crime should be declined if already brought in the State Court). Concerns regarding the arrest of foreign nationals in the United States; requirements concerning prosecution of attorneys and approval requirements for Torture, War Crimes and Genocide matters; as well as requirements for the investigation of organized crime matters;
Thus the importance of a skilled defense lawyer familiar with these issues at the earliest stage of a State or Federal investigation is extremely important.Criminal Law in Florida and the Criminal Law Processes
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When you need an experienced and committed defense lawyer you can trust in Southern Florida, Contact Michael B. Cohen, P.A. online or call him at: 954-928-0059 at his Fort Lauderdale Office or 561-366-8200 in Palm Beach County.