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Oklahoma City Criminal Defense Lawyers

Duncan Law specializes in federal criminal defense in Oklahoma. When you or a loved one is facing federal criminal charges, contact Duncan Law to form the best strategy for your case.

In federal court, the United States government brings charges by an indictment, an information or a complaint. If the charges are brought by an information or a complaint, an indictment will follow. An indictment is only brought after the case has been presented by the government to the grand jury—which is a panel of 12 individuals from the community.

Because the grand jury listens to each case and decides whether or not probable cause exists, there is not a “preliminary hearing” in federal court the way that there is in state court. In federal court, you only get the benefit of the preliminary hearing if the case is brought by an information or complaint (before the indictment is filed).

After the indictment is filed against the individual, an arraignment is conducted and a detention hearing is set. Having a good federal criminal defense attorney at the detention hearing is crucial as it will determine whether the client will remain in custody until the case concludes (either by plea or trial) or be released on pre-trial services through the United States Probation Office. The detention hearing is subject to Rule 46 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and Title 18, Section 3142 of the United States Code.

Every federal case goes before two judges, the magistrate judge and the appointed district judge. The magistrate judge presides over the detention hearing. The magistrate judge must release an individual (pursuant to Title 18, Section 3142) if there are conditions of release that can be fashioned to reasonably assure the appearance of the person in court proceedings, and also assure the safety of the community. One cannot simply pay a bond to be released like in state court. No amount of money can be paid to release a federal inmate once a magistrate judge has determined they will remain in custody pending the resolution of their case.

After the indictment has been filed and the detention hearing has been held, it is time to start reviewing the government’s evidence and decide between a plea or jury trial. In state court there are three options—plea, blind plea, or trial. In federal court, the only options are to plead guilty and be sentenced by the district judge or go to trial (and be sentenced by the district court judge if found guilty). The government’s indictment must be filed within 30 days from the date of the client’s arrest. Once the arraignment occurs, the client has the right to a speedy trial and the clocks begins ticking. Trial must be set within 70 days from arraignment. Hiring a skillful lawyer that is knowledgeable in the federal court system is imperative as the case moves much more quickly than in state court. For instance, if the client decides to take his or her case to trial, pretrial motions must be filed before the trial date as specified by the Court.

If a client decides to enter a guilty plea (instead of having a jury trial) in federal court, he or she will be interviewed by the United States Probation Office and a presentence investigation report will be written and provided to the sentencing district judge. In federal court the sentencing judge will calculate the sentencing guidelines. The United States Sentencing Commission has created a complex sentencing calculation scheme that suggests to the district judge what an appropriate sentence would be on each case.

The sentencing guidelines suggest sentences based on the severity of the crime and the severity of the client’s criminal history. Although the sentencing guidelines are not mandatory and the judge may sentence above or below the guidelines, it is important to hire an attorney that understands the guidelines and can advise the client on the benefit (or lack thereof) of any potential plea.

Call Duncan Law today to have an attorney assess your federal case and help you determine the best move going forward.

Representative Cases
Homicide Acquittal
When you’re not guilty of the crime the government has charged you with there is only one option. Jury trial. Despite that, thousands of people take plea deals because they are scared to put their lives in the hands of the jury. We represented a client who was charged with the most serious offense possible: Murder in the First Degree. This client was adamant from the first day we met that he was not guilty. He had been accused of the crime based on the testimony of single eyewitness. However, this witness had serious mental health issues and later recanted her statement. Instead of dismissing the case, the prosecutors insisted on proceeding to trial. We were able to discredit the State’s witness and our client walked out of the courtroom a free man after receiving a full acquittal.
Drug Trafficking Trial
Sometimes you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. In one of our cases, our client agreed to drive across the country in a vehicle with his nephew. After the two were pulled over in Oklahoma for a minor traffic offense, the vehicle was searched, and police discovered several pounds of methamphetamine. Our client denied any knowledge of the drugs and rightfully insisted on a jury trial, where we helped secure a full acquittal.
Drug Trafficking Amended to Possession with Intent
We recently represented a woman who was accused of drug trafficking after her boyfriend was pulled over while driving through Oklahoma. Our client knew there was marijuana in the vehicle, but believed it was only a small amount for personal use. Unfortunately, the car was searched, and police discovered many pounds of marijuana. We developed a strategy to show the district attorney that our client was not a drug dealer. Over a course of several months of negotiations, we were able to convince the district attorney to reduce the charge to a lesser possession offense so that our client could avoid going to prison.
Violent Crimes Amended to Non-violent
We recently represented a client who was charged with Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon. Our client was involved in a fight with another individual. This other individual suffered a knife wound during the fight. Unfortunately, our client had a significant criminal history and was facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison. After much negotiation and countless hours of trial preparations, we were able to convince the district attorney not to use our client’s criminal history to enhance his sentence. Without his prior convictions used against him, our client was able to get a beneficial plea deal that will allow him to rejoin his family sooner than would have otherwise been possible.
Mental Health Court Success
A client of ours was on felony probation when she was charged with a new crime. This is too often a hopeless situation. The biggest—most important—rule of probation is to not to commit or be charged with new crimes. This client, who was 8 months pregnant at the time of her arrest, was committed to addressing her serious mental health issue, which was the root cause of her legal problems. After much work—we were able to get her accepted into Mental Health Court. As a result, this client escaped going to prison and was given a new start with her newborn child.
Unjust Rape Charge Dismissed
This year, we found ourselves representing an innocent client facing an unjust rape charge. We took it upon ourselves to investigate the case. We hunted down witnesses and set up interviews to determine the truth. Although our client remained in jail the entire time, we investigated his case and used his guidance to find the answers we needed to show his innocence. After providing the district attorney evidence of our client’s innocence, the rape charge was dismissed.
Client Reviews
“Duncan Law did a fantastic job helping us navigate our complicated legal issue. It is clear that their experience, depth of knowledge and litigation skills were the difference in our achieving a positive outcome in our case. We would highly recommend you work with Duncan Law.” J.B.
“Super satisfied with the job that has been done.” K.H.
"When you need a legal problem addressed quickly, whether a family, civil, or criminal matter, Duncan Law is who you should hire to get the job done." A.H.
"They are extremely good at what they do." J.J.
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