Cheronis & Parente LLC

Criminal Defense Blog

ON BEHALF OF CHERONIS & PARENTE LLC   /   October 10, 2022

How does the pretrial stage of a federal investigation work?

When someone reports a federal, as opposed to an Illinois, criminal act to authorities, a particular agency may decide to launch an investigation into the matter. The type of agency that investigates the matter might depend on the type of offense alleged, but if the investigating agency believes there is enough evidence to make an arrest, it may decide to secure an arrest warrant. Conversely, it may decide to hold off on the arrest until it has an opportunity to gather more information.

Per the FBI, if the offense in question was a white-collar crime, investigating agents may need to get a search warrant from a magistrate so that they may secure more evidence. They may, too, decide to ask for a subpoena from a grand jury.

The initial appearance and arraignment

An initial appearance takes place promptly after an arrest and must occur within a 72-hour window. During the appearance, the arrestee learns of the charges he or she faces. Then, the court may decide to either release him or her for the time being or place him or her back behind bars until the case concludes. An arraignment typically follows, at which point the arrestee hears the formal charges filed against him or her and has a chance to enter a plea.

Discovery, motion practice and plea bargaining

During the discovery stage, both sides have an opportunity to ask for more information from the opposition. The defense and prosecution may also file various motions during this time asking to suppress evidence, dismiss charges and so on. The arrestee may also, depending on circumstances, have a chance to make a plea bargain.

If the court decides to reject the plea agreement, the case typically moves to a trial phase.

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