Federal Legal Process in Oklahoma (Criminal Courts)

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In the federal court system, the prosecution is brought by the U.S. Attorney or the Attorney General of the United States (instead of the District Attorney). Because a defendant is generally charged by grand jury indictment in federal court, there is generally no need for a preliminary hearing. 

There are provisions to charge by information, but only if the defendant waives his constitutional right to indictment. The typical legal procedure in federal court includes: 

  1. Pre-charge investigation
  2. Arrest
  3. Arraignment & Bail or Detention
  4. Discovery
  5. Plea Negotiations
  6. Motions hearing
  7. Trial
  8. Post Trial Motions
  9. Sentencing
  10. Appeal

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federal legal process in Oklahoma

Federal Court

The only time when a preliminary hearing is granted is if a person is arrested on suspicion of committing a crime prior to being indicted. When that occurs, the defendant is entitled to a preliminary hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to hold the defendant for a reasonable time to allow a grand jury to hear the evidence. There is generally a “detention” hearing at this time too, if bail has not already been granted at the “arraignment” (which in federal court is the first appearance).

If convicted in federal court, the sentence is determined solely by the judge. Juries do not determine or recommend sentence in federal court. Additionally, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines may influence a judge concerning what is the appropriate punishment. The Guidelines are instructive and are routinely followed, but they are no longer mandatory. The time frame from start to finish in federal court is generally six months or less because of the Speedy Trial Act.

In federal court, be sure that the lawyer you choose has experience in federal criminal law. The system is sufficiently different. When going up against the U.S. Attorney’s Office, you need a federal criminal defense lawyer.  We have the experience you need. We have won multiple criminal matters in federal court.  We can protect you.


Call the Wyatt Law Office for your more information regarding the federal legal process in Oklahoma.