San Fernando Valley Criminal Defense Attorney

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Los Angeles Federal Criminal Attorney


The first thing you should do if you are about to be charged with a federal crime or already charged with one is to say nothing and set up a face to face meeting with a seasoned federal criminal defense attorney. Talking to the federal authorities (FBI, DEA, ICE or any other federal entity) is almost always a huge mistake. Most of the time I see client's cases who have made statements, the information they gave during the statement is usually the best evidence against them in the case. If you sit down with an attorney, then they can represent you and do the talking for you. They can also help you make the decision as to whether to speak to the authorities or not and if you do decide to speak to the federal prosecutors and their agents there are certain protections you can utilize to you advantage you.


There are a number of scenarios where it makes sense in a federal case to actually sit down with your attorney and the federal government and answer their questions. Sometimes they have a misconception about you and your culpability as it relates to federal criminal charges and this meeting gives you the chance to explain what is really going on with you. Other times you want to sit down with them to convince them to give you some sort of advantage or time off your sentence. The "Queen for a Day" letter permits you to give them information and answer their questions without risking them using the information against you. This type of agreement says that anything that you say during your meeting with them is not allowed to be used against you in any criminal way.

The only way the feds can use a statement made during a "Queen for a Day" meeting is if they can show you lied to them or if you get on the witness stand in a future proceeding and say something different then you did during the meeting with the feds. The point here is that you are not going to be able to make statements in the future that are inconsistent with the statement made under this particular agreement. In order to determine whether it makes sense for you to participate in a "Queen for a Day" session is to discuss it with your attorney and let him or her guide you through this process and the right decision for you.


If you are facing federal charges in Los Angeles, your first move should be to hire a seasoned federal criminal defense attorney that has handled cases like yours to a successful resolution. If you find an attorney that knows what they are doing, them you should go sit down with them with a list of questions and get clear on what you are up against and the potential defenses you may have. Once you are clear on what the perameters of your case are, then you will have a sense of control back and you can proceed to resolve your matter with confidence.

If you know what you are facing and what the steps are to achieve the best possible result for your case, then this sense of clarity will hopefully begin the process of getting this situation behind you. I find that once a client comes and sits down with me and I explain to them how their case will likely be dealt with by the judge and prosecutor, invariably I notice that the client feels better and have a sense of calmness in knowing that now they can begin the process of putting their life back together. Once a sound plan is structured between myself and the client, then it is just a matter of executing the plan and doing everything possible to achieve the best result.


The United States Federal Government is one of the most power and well financed in the world. It's criminal justice system is second to none. In order to match forces with them, you must have an attorney that has been around the block in the federal arena and had success!

Because of the sophistication level of the federal criminal justice system, the prosecutors and agents are typically very prepared and do a detailed job in the investigation and prosecution of a criminal case. Thus, the answer to the question above is to find an attorney who is more prepared and seasoned than they are and provide him or her with the information necessary to properly defend your case. Over ninety percent of cases are resolved by way of a negotiated plea in the federal system. Hence your attorney better be familiar with how to negotiate your case and make sure you are in the best position when it comes time for sentencing.

At the Hedding Law Firm, our Attorneys are experienced and confident in handling criminal cases in both state and federal court. If you are being charged with a crime in federal court, it is very important to retain the services of an experienced lawyer that is knowledgeable on all fedral laws and courtroom procedures.

We know how the system works and we know how to work the system. That being said, your best interest is our top priority.

How it Works in the Federal Court system

The initial step is an investigation that is conducted by federal agencies such as Homeland Security, the DEA, the FBI or some other federal agency. The results of the investigation are submitted to the federal prosecutor's office where the prosecutor will evaluate the case and decide if further investigation needs to take place or if they are going to file a criminal case.

If the prosecutor believes that a crime has been committed, then they have options on how to proceed. If you already have a federal criminal defense attorney that represents you, then they will typically call the attorney and discuss the case and attempt to decide had to proceed. If there is no attorney available to talk to, then they will usually send federal agents to arrest you and you will appear in federal court and can argue not to be detained while your case is pending.

Obviously having an attorney from the beginning of your case puts you in the strongest possible position to defend yourself and end up with the best possible result. When I am called by the federal prosecutors, after they decide to file a case, many times I am able you structure the entire case during that first conversation. I can convince them to not make you post bail and work out a resolution that makes sense based on your circumstances. Other times I can give them the defense's position in the case and convince them not to file certain charges and deal with the case in a way that is best for my client.


In a federal criminal case the judge and attorneys on a particular cases will use the federal sentencing guidelines to assist with determining the sentence in a particular cases. They referred to as guidelines because the parties can argue for a higher or lower sentence than what the guidelines say and ultimately once the judge consults the guidelines, listens to the attorneys arguments, listens to the defendant and reviews the presentence report, they can sentence the defendant with whatever sentence they deem appropriate. This is why anyone entering the federal criminal arena must realize and respect their judges tendencies and hire an attorney who can do what is necessary to assert your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for you.

These guideline are typically adhered to by prosecutors and judges alike. They outline what the appropriate considerations and sentences are for all of the federal crimes and your attorney must be familiar with them and applied them to many cases in order to successfully represent you. I find it important to go over the applicable guidelines in every case with my clients, so they know what they are up against and how we can combat the government and angle the case in our favor.


In most state cases, if a person works out a deal with the prosecutors, they know exactly what their sentence will be before the judge ever says a word at the sentencing. In federal criminal cases, the defendant does not know what the sentence will be because ultimately it is up to the federal judge to make that final decision. This may sound strange to most people, but it is how the system is set up and in most cases, it ends up working out ok for the defendant as long as they have mitigating circumstances on their side and their attorney does a good job in pointing out all of the mitigating factors related to their case.

Before a federal judge can sentence a person in a criminal case, they must take into consideration certain important sentencing vehicles. First, they must consult the sentencing guidelines as they relate to the particular case to be sentenced. Further, they must consider the Presentence Report that is prepared by the Federal Probation Department. And finally they will review the defendant's sentencing position, the prosecutor's position and listen to oral arguments at the sentencing before they pass judgment on the particular defendant.

The way the system is set up can sometimes work to the benefit of the defendant and other times to the benefit of the government. Another huge issue that i have seen over the past 25 years is that the judge who does the sentencing makes a crucial difference in what the ultimate sentence will be. However, even the toughest of judges can be convinced of the defendant's position if their attorney makes the right moves and presents the right evidence.

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The Hedding Law Firm

Phone: (818) 986-2092 | (866) 986-2092
The Hedding Law Firm
Phone: (818) 986-2092
Encino-San Fernando Valley Address:
16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436
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Los Angeles-Downtown Address:
445 South Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90071