Can any criminal defense lawyer defend me in a federal criminal case?
The answer is no. First of all, in order to practice in the federal courts, you need to be a member of the Federal Trial Bar. But more importantly, if you’re in federal court, you need a lawyer with years of federal, criminal defense experience. Ideally a lawyer that’s board-certified. Ideally a lawyer that’s handled hundreds of federal criminal cases; a lawyer who’s knowledgeable; a lawyer who knows the prosecutors; a lawyer who knows the judges; a lawyer who is respected and experienced. It makes all the difference in the world.
So, if you’re charged in federal court, you must get a federal, criminal defense lawyer. Other lawyers may say, “Oh yeah, I can handle the case.” But I’ve seen time and time again, where lawyers who’d never been in federal court are lost when they come in to federal court. They’re intimidated. They don’t know the rules. They don’t know the procedures. They don’t know the local rules. They don’t know how it’s done. You don’t want a lawyer learning on your case.