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Federal Court Process

Guide to the Federal Court Process

No one chooses to be a defendant in federal court. But we should at least know more about the federal court process in criminal cases. And though similar in many ways to the Minnesota state court criminal process, there are key differences.


Do you have reason to believe that you are a target of a federal law enforcement investigation? Then stop any contact with investigators.  And contact a federal criminal defense attorney in Minnesota right away.

Have you received a target letter from the Untied States Attorneys Office? Before you do anything else, retain a good federal criminal defense attorney for pre-charge counsel.

Prevention is more powerful than cure.  So a defense attorney can help you more with early involvement.

And sometimes we can avoid charges.  But other times, you can mitigate them with good defense counsel.

Grand Jury

Did the United States Attorney’s Office subpoena you to appear before a federal Grand Jury? Then you need good legal advice and representation from an experienced federal criminal defense attorney.

And protect yourself early in the federal court process. Even Grand Jury witnesses could face risks.


If a prosecutor charges you with a federal crime, the court will arrest or summon you to federal court.  And if you don’t already have a lawyer; you need to hire a federal criminal defense attorney.  So a good federal attorney can make a huge difference in how your case turns out.

Defense Attorney Thomas C Gallagher guides you through the Federal Court Process
Attorney Thomas Gallagher’s guide to Federal Court Process

In the beginning

You have a legal problem.  But we can solve it

So how to we begin?

It begins with a phone call.  So call Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Thomas C. Gallagher to discuss your situation.  And we can begin right away.

The first things we need to understand are:

  • the specific charges, including statute numbers
  • the maximum penalties for those statutes
  • any applicable mandatory minimum sentencing statutes
  • the presumptive sentence under the federal courts sentencing guidelines
  • time-sensitive issues at each stage in the federal court process

That will help us define the outer boundary of the worst case scenario.  And we can quickly find these from the information in the Indictment.  So be sure to bring a copy.

And next, we will explore potential defenses.  Some defenses relate to the type of crime charged.  But some relate to the facts claimed in the indictment.  And other defenses have to do with the person accused.  Still others are grounds for reduced sentence motions.

Working up the defense, through Federal Court Process

After you hire Thomas Gallagher as your federal criminal defense attorney, he will gather available evidence.  The government will disclose evidence in pre-trial discovery.  And we will explore other available evidence that could help you. We’ll review the information for potential pretrial motions, as well as for defense issues at trial.

At every step in the federal court process, Attorney Thomas Gallagher helps you understand and prioritize the key defense issues. And we develop the best defense strategy for your case.

After the prosecutor files criminal charges in federal court, we have up to four identifiable phases:

  • Pretrial Release
  • Pretrial motions
  • Jury Trial
  • Sentencing Hearing

Types of criminal cases in federal court

White-Collar crimes:  White-collar crimes involve alleged violations of federal statutes and administrative rules, such as embezzlement, fraud, and theft cases.

Drug crimes:  Federal prosecutors tend to charge bigger drug crime conspiracy, drug trafficking, drug importation and distribution cases.  But among federal drug charges, smaller drug cases are rare in federal court. Yet federal prosecutors drag many People with minor roles in conspiracy cases into federal court. And small drug possession cases from federal jurisdictions end up there.  But federal drug lawyers can make a big difference in these cases.

Sex crimes:  The United States Attorney’s Office charges larger child porn charges, computer sex crimes, and internet sex-with-minor charges.

Bank robbery:  One of the first areas of federal criminal prosecution, they still prosecute bank robbers in federal court.

Why Gallagher for your federal criminal case?

Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher has over thirty years of experience in Minneapolis federal court.  So he can help you defend your criminal case at every stage of the federal court process.

Thomas Gallagher works hard to be the best defense attorney; to win your case.  And Attorney Thomas Gallagher has worked on high-profile criminal cases. 

So clients, judges and lawyers rate Thomas Gallagher a top criminal lawyer in Minnesota.

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Have a question or a case? Give a call to Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher. Call 612 333-1500

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