What Happens After An Indictment of Government Contractors
Getting a Grand Jury Indictment in a Criminal Case Involving Federal Contracts Does Not Automatically Mean that You Are Guilty. The Question Becomes What Are You Options? What Happens After An Indictment But Before a Criminal Trial. Below are but a Few Potential Outcomes.
Indictment – A Formal Notice of Criminal Charges
Government investigations of federal contractors include what many look at as the two parts of the formal investigative stage. In the first pre-indictment stage, the government attorneys issue CIDs, requests for interviews and what many call a “loose” attempt to try to reel in the final parts of the case. After the pre-indictment stage, the US attorneys bring formal charges in the critical stage. After the Grand Jury issues a positive bill of indictment, the prosecution then gears up to take the case to trial. Note that a federal indictment should not be an indicator of guilt or innocence at trial. In fact, the prosecution now has to build its case for trial. The burden of proof moving forward after indictment is a lot tougher when going to trial.
Government contractor defendants can still get a favorable resolution after the indictment stage. If your government contractor criminal defense attorney believes that the government has an extremely strong case against you, then there is a possibility that you can avoid a criminal trial altogether.
In fact, the closer you get to a criminal trial, the less interested the prosecution is interested in offering plea deals. You should seriously get a realistic idea of how strong or weak the government’s case is.
- Although you believe that you are innocent of all criminal charges, the post-indictment stage is very important because the US or DOJ attorneys may now offer immunity deals to witnesses that may choose to falsely testify against you in exchange for their freedom. This can have a tricky twist to your case.
An indictment is a formal notice given to you as a government contractor if the prosecutor suspects you of committing a crime. Once a crime is committed, federal investigators first collect evidence and submit their findings to the prosecutor. Afterward, the prosecutor then decides whether to bring a formal charge against you or the company or both. If there is sufficient evidence, the next step is being indicted.
To reach that stage, the prosecutors impanel a Grand Jury – a group of jurors who decide whether to issue an indictment or not. This is the main reason for a grand jury proceeding. There is some misbelief that once you are indicted that you are guilty of a crime. This is not true. During the preceding, the prosecutor submits the alleged evidence and puts forth an argument in favor of moving the case along to trial. Unfortunately, neither the contractor (defendant) nor their lawyer can be present during Grand Jury hearings.
An indictment occurs if the prosecutor convinces the jury that there is enough evidence presented to let the case move on to the next phase – trial. Then, you’ll either come before a Judge or get arrested if not in custody. During your arraignment, the Judge reads the indictment, and you enter a guilty or not guilty plea. If no bond is set, then you are remanded to the custody of the local sheriff.
What Happens After An Indictment?
If you are a federal contractor and have been indicted, it is important to understand the steps that will come after the indictment. It is critical to work with an experienced government contracts attorney who understands the complexities of federal fraud cases. Your government contracts attorney can ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout each step of the process.
What happens after you’re indicted? You may be subject to a preliminary hearing or arraignment where you enter a plea. Following this, you could face pretrial hearings or conferences for legal motions, such as those pertaining to evidence discovery. If there is no resolution at these stages, then your case may proceed to trial before a jury in district court. This is when both sides present their cases, witnesses testify and the jury decides on a verdict. Should you be found guilty, then sentencing hearings will take place where the judge determines the punishment for your conviction.
At each stage of the process, it is important to have an experienced federal contractor fraud attorney who can help ensure that your rights and interests are protected against aggressive government prosecutors. A knowledgeable attorney can review your case, provide advice on potential defenses and work to obtain the best possible outcome early in the case.
If you are a federal contractor facing criminal charges related to fraud or other matters, contact an experienced government contract fraud attorney immediately. Working with an experienced and aggressive federal contractor fraud lawyer gives you peace of mind knowing that your legal rights are protected.
Can Your Attorney Push to Have the Indictment Thrown Out? This can be a potential outcome. If successful, government contractors can avoid a criminal trial altogether and save on hundreds of thousands in litigation costs.
Post-indictment dismissal. This option is very rare but possible. Government fraud defense attorneys can develop legal reasons why the court should dismiss the case. Government contracting is a very unique area of law that requires certain steps under the agency’s administrative process. Getting a government contractor criminal case dismissed after an indictment takes a very dedicated level of creative thinking. This is another reason why having a contractor fraud defense attorney that also understands federal procurement laws is critical. With the right approach and persuasion, a federal judge could very well dismiss the indictment.See information about getting federal indictments dismissed.
Entering into a plea agreement. When federal contractors believe that there are great risk of pursuing the case to trial, then they should seriously consider whether entering into plea agreement can minimize the risk of jail time and harsher sentencing at trial. Defendants in a government contracting criminal case should now pay attention to what evidence the government intends to bring, despite whether the defendant still proffers his or her innocence. The choice to enter into a plea agreement, or not, is entirely the choice of the contractor defendant. See information about contractor target letters.
Verdict at Trial. This is the part of a criminal case that elicits a high level of stress. If the case goes to trial and the evidence convinces a jury, then the jury will either enter a guilty verdict or not guilty verdict.
Discovery After a Federal Contractors Are Indicted
After the indictment phase, each part starts the discovery process. Each side gets to make certain discovery request for documents. The government attorneys must equally comply post-indictment discovery. The government contractor defendant can play a crucial role because certain details know about the case can prompt a contractor fraud defense attorney to take certain angles in the discovery process.
Prosecution must provide defendant with evidence that helps the Defendant’s case. This is touch area. However, the rules a very clear that a federal must to provide the defense with exculpatory evidence. The evidence is not required to actually show innocence, it just could go towards being innocent of government contractor fraud and the counts within the federal indictment.
Can Government Contractors Challenge the Indictment Against Them?
Challenging a federal grand jury indictment for a government contract fraud case can be a high hurdle to climb. However, under the right set of facts and circumstances, it can be done. Government procurement fraud is governed by a unique set of rules when compared to traditional non- white-collar crimes. Having a government contractor fraud defense lawyer that also understands the ins and outs of the procurement regulations, SBA regulations and FAR rules could very well create an avenue to potentially dismiss the indictment.
The bottom line is, facing a federal indictment for government contract fraud or false claims is a significant and stressful challenge. Having your criminal defense attorney on board at this stage is essential. At Watson & Associates, our federal defense lawyers help government contractors throughout the United States. we can advise you on the process and protect your rights. Contact our law firm today to discuss how we can develop an aggressive legal defense today.
Speak with a Senior Federal Defense Contractor Lawyer at Watson & Associates, LLC
The federal defense attorneys at Watson & Associates, LLC represent small businesses and large defense contractors charged with criminal fraud against the United States. When cases involve federal government contracting, we develop a sound legal team that can aggressively fight back and defends your legal rights. For a free and confidential initial consultation, please call the law firm today – toll free at 1.866.601.5518 or contact our defense lawyers online.