Federal criminal charges can carry extensive penalties, including lengthy prison sentences or major financial consequences. Moreover, the presence of a federal offense on one’s criminal record can preclude that person from obtaining an employment position or gaining admission to an academic institution. To avoid these results, working with a New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer throughout the process is essential – but, what should a criminal defendant look for when contacting New Jersey federal criminal defense attorneys?
Understanding Criminal vs. Civil Representation
If you are facing your first criminal offense and are looking for representation, it helps to understand the differences between New Jersey federal criminal defense attorneys and those attorneys that practice predominantly civil work. A civil attorney is one who represents clients in individual, private lawsuits. These generally involve a personal injury, allegations of civil monetary fraud or a breach of contract. By contrast, a criminal defense attorney defends against criminal charges filed by the state or federal government under the applicable penal code. The government is the plaintiff and the accused is the defendant. When choosing a New Jersey criminal defense attorney for a federal case, your best bet is to select a representative who focuses almost 100 percent on federal criminal defense work.
Experience is Vital
When choosing a New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer– even if he or she practices in other areas – the key component is experience. Does your attorney have a background in defending federal crimes? Has your attorney successfully defended others facing similar charges? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” you are likely in good hands. However, if your attorney is experienced mostly in civil litigation, and has never defended against federal fraud or drug crimes, you may want to keep searching for an advocate with a more finely-tuned focus on federal criminal defense.
Choose an Attorney with whom You Feel Comfortable
The best attorney-client relationship is one in which both sides feel comfortable with open, honest and candid conversation. While there are many New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyers available, only a select few will make you feel comfortable and respected. When selecting your lawyer, choose someone who speaks to you using clear, understandable language –showing a general desire to help you with your criminal case.
Find The Right Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
For a New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer who meets these criteria – and more – please contact attorney Tim Anderson at 732-212-2812 right away.
You are protected against self-incrimination by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. So, you have the choice and right to remain silent rather than take the witness stand. In deciding whether or not to testify, your New Jersey criminal defense attorney will advise you on the pros and cons of testifying, under all the facts and circumstances of your particular case.
If you have been charged with health care fraud, you will want to contact a New Jersey health care fraud defense attorney. The penalties for health care fraud can be very severe. However, this crime may be difficult to prove and your attorney can help explain your defenses and options.
Types of Health Care Fraud
There are many types of health care fraud that a New Jersey health care fraud defense attorney can explain to you. Some common types include:
Physician. Fraud committed by a physician can include submitting bills for services that were not provided, seeking compensation for uncovered services and seeking kickbacks for referrals.
Patients. Fraud committed by a patient can include obtaining prescription drugs for illegal or recreational purposes, seeking false reimbursements and forging medical documents.
Hospital. Hospitals may engage in fraud by not using proper staff, performing unnecessary services and submitting inaccurate claims.
False Claims Act
One key federal law related to health care fraud is the False Claims Act. This act makes it illegal to submit false claims to the government. Your attorney can explain that to prove this claim, federal prosecutors will generally have to show:
Intent. A person must have had the intent and knowledge to engage in fraud. So a simple mistake would not be considered a federal crime.
Claim Made. A person must have taken an affirmative step by submitting an actual claim to the federal government.
Misrepresentation. A person’s misrepresentation must have been material, meaning that it influenced the government to take some act.
Sentencing and Penalties for Health Care Fraud
The penalties for health care fraud can be very severe:
Prison. A person could face up to 20 years or more in federal prison for the most severe health care fraud cases. In addition, there are other sentencing guidelines depending upon who the person allegedly defrauded, e.g. Medicaid and Medicare.
Fines. If a person is accused of engaging in an ongoing health care fraud scheme, they could face monetary penalties in the millions of dollars.
Restitution. If the person allegedly benefited from the fraud, they may be ordered to pay back the amount that allegedly was improperly obtained.
Contact a New Jersey Health Care Fraud Defense Lawyer
If you are facing such charges, contact experienced New Jersey health care fraud defense attorney, Tim Anderson, by calling 732-212-2812.
Some criminal cases go all the way to trial, but most instead end with a guilty plea and a sentence from a judge. If you decide to plea bargain and then enter of plea of guilty, there will be a “change-of-plea” hearing. Remember to be respectful and precise at your hearing so the judge is inclined to grant you a favorable sentence at the later sentencing hearing.
Most citizens lack a basic understanding of their constitutional rights, which leaves them unaware of when their rights are being violated. If you have any encounters with the police, you should know how you are protected against unlawful searches and seizures so that you can assert your rights. Protect your privacy by looking at these facts on your 4th Amendment rights.
Search and Seizure
Passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791. The first 10 amendments form the Bill of Rights
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Under forfeiture proceedings, the government can seize assets or force persons or companies to give up material goods or assets that have been linked to alleged criminal behavior. In the paragraphs that follow, a New Jersey criminal defense law firm explains how this works.
What Can Be Seized
Anything a person allegedly used to commit a crime can be seized by the government. That can include a car that was allegedly used as a getaway vehicle, a residence if it served as a base for drug trafficking or a powerboat if it was used to carry and transport illegal materials. Also, if a person is indicted, any property they have that is material to the charges can be claimed under forfeiture proceedings, with the government attempting to keep that property. Third parties to whom such property has been turned over may also be forced to relinquish the property under the government’s forfeiture action.
Civil vs. Criminal Forfeiture
If a forfeiture proceeding is civil, it can be submitted whether or not criminal proceedings have been brought. If the forfeiture proceeding is criminal, it is included with the criminal case and will be determined at the same time as the underlying criminal charges.
State court forfeiture laws are defined according to each state’s statutes, so the exact laws will not be identical. There are also separate federal forfeiture laws. Despite the variation in the various forfeiture laws, there are a few themes that emerge. These are:
Under a civil forfeiture, the property or asset is the object of the action rather than the owner, who may be completely guiltless; and
Even property that was received by third parties who knew nothing of the criminal activity to which the property is connected can be seized under forfeiture procedures. It became subject to seizure when the crime was committed. Even though the owners received the articles in good faith, they can be required to give them up.
Prosecutors may institute forfeiture actions based on the following theories:
It is illegal to own the property. In other words, it is contraband. If the property is contraband, such as an illegal drug, it is a violation of the law even to possess it. Once seized, it is not to be given back under any circumstances since the possessor should never have had it to begin with;
The property was purchased using funds acquired through illegal means. Property purchased under this premise was bought with money obtained through crime or perhaps given as a payment or reward for participation in a crime. Legal proceedings must determine if the possessor innocently bought the items, if the current owner received the articles by sale or transfer from someone else, and whether proof of the crime has been established; and
The property was instrumental in the commission of a crime. This can involve extremely valuable articles or enormous sums of money. Whether it is a vehicle or a residence used in drug trafficking, money that has been “laundered,” or other assets, the prosecution may try to seize these under a forfeiture action. In some situations, defense counsel contest the forfeiture under the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Take Steps to Protect Yourself
If you need help or representation, have questions or would like to learn more, contact Tim Anderson, your New Jersey criminal defense lawyer by calling 732-212-2812 today.