If you were arrested for a federal criminal offense, you may be understandably concerned about your first court hearing. It is important to remember that you have the right to have an attorney present at this court appearance.
There are many crucial things to consider before the initial hearing in an Omaha federal criminal investigation. The skilled defense attorneys at Berry Law can help you prepare for this meeting and give you the tools you need to protect your rights.
What is the First Hearing Following a Federal Criminal Arrest?
If you were recently arrested on federal charges, you will likely have your first court appearance within 24 to 48 hours. The parties attending the initial hearing will include you, your lawyer, the federal judge, the prosecuting attorney, and the pre-trial services officer. If you have not retained an attorney by this time, the judge will determine whether you qualify for a public defender and appoint one to your case.
During this meeting, the judge will read you your rights and the charges against you. Then, you will enter your plea. Once you enter your plea, the judge sets the progression order, which is the schedule for discovery and trial.
Discussing Detention in the Initial Hearing
Detention is when the defendant is held in jail until trial. Occasionally, the issue of detention is brought up at the initial hearing for a federal criminal investigation. If this is the case, your lawyer will enter an argument for your release, and the judge will make a decision. However, if this issue does not come up during the initial hearing, you have the right to request a detention hearing.
Preparing for a Hearing with an Omaha Attorney
There are many steps a lawyer can take to help you prepare for the initial hearing in your federal case. A seasoned attorney can explain what to expect during the meeting, advise you on how to conduct yourself, and help you determine how to plead.
Understanding the Role of the Defendant
During the initial hearing, you will not have to do much. The judge will ask you to confirm your name and state whether you understand your rights and charges. Your defense attorney can enter your plea on your behalf. You do not have to speak much during the initial hearing. In fact, your lawyer will likely advise you to avoid making any unnecessary statements about your case.
The Impact of Your Plea on the Progression of the Federal Trial
Possibly the most important role of the attorney is helping you decide how to plead. In most cases, your attorney will instruct you to plead not guilty. Although, there are times in which a plea agreement has been reached ahead of time. In those cases, your lawyer may instruct you to plead guilty.
It is important to note that your plea at the initial hearing will directly impact the progression of your federal criminal case. As such, you should take this decision seriously. If you enter a not guilty plea, the federal trial process begins. You and your attorney will go through discovery, in which you can challenge the government’s evidence. Once discovery is finished, the trial will begin.
If you enter a guilty plea, you will skip trial and go straight to sentencing. A criminal conviction carries significant consequences, so it is best to speak with an attorney before making any decisions on your plea.
Our Omaha Lawyers Can Help You Prepare for the Initial Hearing in a Federal Criminal Investigation
The initial hearing in an Omaha federal criminal investigation can be daunting, especially if you have no experience with the criminal justice system. If you were recently arrested, you should retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Our legal team at Berry Law can provide aggressive legal representation from start to finish. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation.