Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

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What are your rights if accused of a federal crime?

Though people might hear the term 'federal crime' many times, they may not be entirely sure what it means. A federal crime is one that extends beyond state boundaries or has a direct impact on federal interests. Federal crimes are highlighted in Title 18 of the U.S. Code. If an Atlanta resident is charged with a federal crime, he or she may wish to know what rights he or she has.

An accused's rights are outlined in the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights and incorporated into the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Federal criminal trials are governed by the Federal Rules. Some of the guarantees provided to an accused are: the right to equal protection under the law, the right to have legal counsel present, right to a jury trial and the right to confront witnesses.

The right against self-incrimination is also important. Law enforcement officials must ensure that the defendant understands he or she has the right to remain silent and to have an attorney present when questioned, as per the U.S. Constitution, as interpreted by the courts.

In addition to this, law enforcement agencies must refrain from performing unreasonable searches and seizures, and courts generally do not allow evidence that has been gained from such a search or seizure to be introduced. This means that a search warrant, obtained by demonstrating probable cause to a judge, may have to be obtained in some situations.

Being aware of one's rights is very important, especially if Atlanta residents find themselves accused of a federal crime. The federal justice system works quickly, and an accused individual may want to consider consulting an experienced defense attorney to understand the nature of the crime and how to defend against a conviction.

Source: Cornell University Law School, "Criminal Procedure: An Overview," Accessed Jan. 12, 2015

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

918 Ponce de Leon Avenue, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30306 Phone: 404-692-5168 Fax: 404-872-1622 Atlanta Law Office Map