White Collar Crimes
The category of white-collar crime encompasses a wide variety of alleged misconduct:
- Mortgage fraud
- Honest services fraud, kickback schemes
- Bribery, extortion, conspiracy, money laundering
- Medicare fraud, health care fraud, insurance fraud
- Wire fraud, securities and tax fraud, mail fraud
- Internet crime, computer hacking
- Counterfeiting, forgery
- Public corruption
Whatever form they take, these cases are usually very complicated. All by themselves the allegations can be confusing, and the cases can get more baffling as they go along. A white-collar prosecution is often based on electronic communications and storage, in addition to complex paper documents. Your attorney needs to understand the rules of evidence and their particular applications to this kind of evidence. He needs to understand media forensics and financial issues well enough to identify important issues and have them analyzed by a trusted expert. In my white-collar practice I collaborate with highly-trained investigators, forensic accountants, and experts in computer forensics to evaluate the government’s evidence, and uncover favorable evidence ignored or missed by investigators and prosecutors.
Most white-collar cases are prosecuted in federal courts. The federal justice system is significantly different from state court, and your attorney needs to have a lot of experience defending cases in federal court in order to ensure you’ll get the representation you need when the limitless power of the federal government bears down on you. He needs to understand how federal judges and juries can be different from their counterparts in state court. He also needs to have an excellent reputation among judges and the prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The substantial majority of my practice is devoted to criminal defense in the federal court system, including military jurisdictions. In addition to trial work, I provide white-collar defense by representing clients in grand jury proceedings and internal investigations. For a client whose criminal case involves international issues, I will handle all communication with the Department of State, foreign ministries and consulates, and all law enforcement agencies.
An allegation of sexual assault can have life-ruining consequences, even if it’s a “he said, she said” case. What a lot of people don’t understand is that what “she said” counts as evidence. A jury can convict someone based on nothing other than the testimony of one witness. Fortunately, what really happened is rarely crystal clear. A typical sexual assault case can give your attorney a number of issues to work with:
- Overindulgence in drugs or alcohol
- Biased, lying, or motivated witnesses
- Contradictory forensic evidence
- Impaired memories
- Shoddy investigations
Your attorney has to be able to develop these issues through cross-examination of the government’s witnesses and creative uses of the rules of evidence. He’ll need to have a thorough understanding of police procedures and interrogation tactics, and a history of working with experts in alcohol and drug toxicology, forensic psychiatry, and sexual assault medical examinations. Fortunately, a large part of my practice has been dedicated to defending this kind of case and working with – and against – experts, and I have a proven record of success in getting these cases dismissed before they get to court, and winning ones that go to trial.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the way your attorney carries himself will reflect upon you, so he needs to conduct himself like a professional. That’s true in all cases, but it’s especially important in a situation like this. Unfortunately, many attorneys will try to bluff and bully their way through a sexual assault case. One of their most common tactics is to put the victim on trial, even if the victim is a child. It might sound like a good idea, and you see it on TV all the time, but it can antagonize a jury and end up destroying a winnable case. Usually, it’s best to put the evidence on trial, not the victim. To do that, your attorney needs to be able to see the case from multiple perspectives, not just yours. He needs to understand why people lie and how they can remember things that never happened. In the best-case scenario your attorney can win the case without ever asking you to testify. I have a proven record of success doing exactly that.
Computer Crimes Involving Children
An allegation involving child pornography can ruin your life, regardless of how the files got onto the computer. These allegations are usually grossly exaggerated, and there are a number of ways a person can unintentionally end up with these files on his computer. Even if the accusation is false, you will be presumed guilty at first, and you will be abandoned some of the people you thought were your friends. You might find that the most important person in your life is your attorney, so make sure you got someone who has experience defending this kind of case.
Unfortunately, most attorneys don’t want to represent someone accused of having anything to do with any alleged crime against a child, including possession of child pornography. Fortunately, I handle a lot of these cases so I stay current on the ever-changing state of the law in this area. Like the law, the state of media forensics continues to evolve, and by working with my experts and doing a lot of these cases, I make sure my working knowledge of the science is up-to-date. I also have the benefit of having prosecuted these cases before becoming a defense attorney, so I know how the government’s attorneys will prepare for the case.
Assault And Battery
If you have been accused of assault, battery, rape, domestic violence, child abuse, or any kind of violent crime, the state can prosecute you even if the other person doesn’t want to press charges. The police respond to a call involving a physical altercation or a crime against a child, they will usually make an arrest, especially when it comes to domestic violence, and they’ll leave rest to the judicial process.
Even a small argument can be blown out of proportion and result in criminal charges and a conviction. It’s common for cops, prosecutors, judges, and juries to automatically side with the person making the allegation. In addition to an interrogation, the police can use any number of tactics to get a statement that can be used in court: staged text messages, emails, phone calls, and recorded meetings. The state can pull out all the stops to win a case like this, so you’ll need an attorney who understands and can anticipate the complicated issues that occur in a case like this, and who can help you avoid being tricked into incriminating yourself.
Many of these cases are based on false or exaggerated allegations. False accusations of spousal abuse, spousal rape, or child abuse can be motivated by anger, bias, and revenge. Many of these cases have a family angle, and an accusation like this can be an attempt to gain the upper hand in a separation, divorce, or child custody dispute. I understand the complicated and sensitive emotional components of this kind of case, and for many years I have been successfully defending my clients against these allegations.
Misdemeanors & Property Crimes
There is no such thing as “just a misdemeanor.”
A misdemeanor conviction shows up on your record and any comprehensive background check by a prospective employer, landlord, or lender. The potential sentences for a misdemeanor conviction can be very serious, going as high as 364 days in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Theft is one of the most common misdemeanor charges. Many cases involving retail theft or shoplifting can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. For a fist offense, it’s usually a misdemeanor. But if you have a prior record of any similar offense, it makes it much more likely that the case will be prosecuted as a felony. With or without any prior record, your primary objective will be to keep the case at the misdemeanor level. At the misdemeanor level you’ll be looking at lower punishments, a less-serious criminal record, and the opportunity to resolve the case through alternatives that might allow you to have the case expunged from your record.
One of the most important things in misdemeanor court, regardless of the charge, is how you carry yourself. Your attorney needs to be comfortable in the courtroom and know how to conduct himself like a professional. Misdemeanor courts are usually very busy and crowded, and knowing how to handle yourself in that environment is critically important. You can’t afford to have an attitude or look like a slob, and your attorney will hurt your case if he acts like a jackass. Your attorney needs to know how to deal respectfully with judges and prosecutors under those conditions while still aggressively advocating for you.
Traffic And DUI
An arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol threatens to ruin your reputation and cost you your job. You can end up with a criminal record, revocation of your driver’s license, jail time, and thousands of dollars of fines and costs. The loss of your driver's license can cost you your job and place substantial burdens on your personal life. Your attorney will need to know the law, rules, punishments, and textbook police procedures. He’ll need to be able to read a case file and thoroughly analyze important issues, such as whether the traffic stop was valid in the first place. This won’t be a problem for most of the attorneys who practice DUI defense.
But it’s even more important that your attorney can go beyond the books and win the case in court. He needs to have experience doing jury trials and contested administrative hearings, and he needs to know how to cross-examine cops, eye-witnesses, and the state’s experts. This is true not just for felony DUI cases, but misdemeanor DUIs and license-suspension hearings as well. Most criminal cases, DUIs included, are resolved by a plea deal. Sometimes a plea is the right way to go, but not always. You might have to take your case to trial. Many criminal defense attorneys have very little experience doing jury trials, but my practice is focused on jury cases. Not every DUI case needs to go that far, but your attorney needs to be confident that he can do it if necessary.