Know What To Expect If You Are The Target Of Federal Civil Or Criminal Litigation
Being accused through federal litigation can take many forms, depending on what type of litigation it is, such as:
- An accusation by a federal agency that is your employer
- A lawsuit against you brought in a federal court
- Criminal charges against you or accusations that may lead to an indictment
Without exception, the most important response you can make in any such case is to get your own legal counsel right away and not submit to questioning by investigators before you have an attorney to advise you. Foley & Wilson Law Firm is here for you. Our defense attorneys are of the caliber you should be looking for to give yourself strong advantages in your defense.
If Your Employer, A Federal Agency, Accuses You Of Wrongdoing
First, be aware that your job, livelihood and reputation may be on the line.
At the same time, do not forget that you have rights. One challenging aspect of this situation is that, according to the rules issued by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), your supervisor or employing agency does not have to label the wrongdoing that they accuse you of, such as fraud. They can use a narrative to imply that offense, instead.
With just a vague narrative to work with in the beginning, a knowledgeable, experienced defense attorney may be able to prevent the labeling that could damage your position significantly. If the narrative does name the alleged offense explicitly, your lawyer will have the opportunity to help you prepare to file a complaint or bring a lawsuit alleging defamation of character.
Your attorney may also look for evidence of wrongdoing in the accusation by your federal employer, such as:
- Is the accusation a form of illegal retaliation for whistleblowing you may have done?
- Does the accusation contain any false statements? Is it based on deception?
- Is the accusation discriminatory?
- Does the accusation threaten your job preference as a veteran?
- Is the accusation an attempt to get you to step aside so as to give your position to someone else, possibly involving nepotism?
- Did the situation leading to the accusation involve an attempt to coerce you to take part in political activity?
- Does the accusation go against the existing merit system?
If any of the questions above are answered with “yes,” your attorney might help you turn to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. This office investigates and prosecutes allegations of prohibited personnel practices. Your employer might end up in trouble instead of you.
If A Lawsuit Is Brought Against You In Federal Court
Being targeted by litigation in federal court is a serious matter. You should certainly seek out a qualified defense attorney as soon as you can. A lengthy investigation may have taken place before the lawsuit became official. If you are under investigation, get the most experienced, aggressive defense attorney on your side that you can find. Do not discuss your case with anyone else.
If you lose the case, you may owe very high fines and may suffer other types of penalties, too. Your defense lawyer will likely look for reasons to appeal if the penalties seem out of line with the allegations.
If You Have Been Charged With A Federal Crime
You have constitutional rights after being charged with a federal crime, but you will have to act promptly and aggressively to protect those rights as fully as you can. Federal prosecutors will typically work hard to get you convicted, and they have many resources at their disposal. Your need for a skilled defense attorney is critical.
Steps in your federal criminal case may include an investigation, charges, an arrest, arraignment, discovery, a preliminary hearing, pretrial motions, a trial, sentencing and an appeal if justified. If you are convicted, you could owe high fines, serve prison time, and be required to pay restitution that could take you years to pay back, if you even can.
One defense strategy that your defense lawyer may use is to try to get your case moved to a lower court, such as a state court, instead. This could be accomplished by demonstrating that the severity of the alleged crime – such as the amount of illegal drugs involved in a drug trafficking case – is not high enough to warrant federal charges.