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Unraveling the Mystery that is Federal Court

Most clients have no idea what the difference is to be charged in Federal Court vs. NY State Court. That is due to the fact that they have likely never been in this situation, and the road ahead can be a very difficult one to navigate.

You need to consult with a Federal criminal defense lawyer who can sit you down and explain this process to you in detail. As experienced New York federal criminal lawyers, Jeff Greco and Dustan Neyland will explain in detail everything you need to know about your federal case.

Facing federal charges will absolutely be a very stressful and scary situation. However, it doesn’t have to be a mystery. Often times the more you know about the court system and the process you are about to embark on, the more at ease you will feel about your current case.

What Are The Main Differences Between Federal Court &New York State Court?

Federal Court differs in many ways from State Court. There is such an extreme difference that you cannot afford to hire a lawyer who practices in NY State Court alone and does not handle Federal cases. You need to hire a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney if you are charged with or are the subject/target of a Federal case.

There are many differences between Federal court and State court. I will outline a few of them for your clarification.

To begin with, there is no parole in Federal Court, at least not in the traditional sense. After the Sentencing Reform Act of 1987, federal defendants (civilian) who were convicted of federal offenses after November 1, 1987, were no longer eligible for parole. If convicted, you can receive probation (in a small percentage of cases) or you are sentenced to federal prison.

In NY State Court you can be sentenced to prison time and do only a small fraction of time in the penitentiary before you are released on parole. This is not an option in Federal Court.

The method for sentencing is also different in Federal Court. You have two options if the Assistant United States Attorney does not dismiss your case: you can plead guilty or you can go to trial. In either case, the presiding Federal Judge will assess punishment. There is no option for you to be sentenced by a jury in a Federal case.

Punishment in Federal Court is governed by the United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.), often referred to as simply, the “guidelines”. Punishment is determined by where you fall on the sentencing guidelines. These guidelines are numerical calculations based on a number of factors such as the offense charged, criminal history, relevant conduct, acceptance of responsibility, and other factors.

Each offense charged has a base level number of points. The higher the number of points, the higher you fall on the guidelines. This in turn, equates to a higher level of time in Federal Prison, if convicted. There are many factors, which can manipulate your guideline number either upward or downward. For more information on the sentencing guidelines, click here.

At Greco Neyland, we walk each client through the guidelines, as they can be difficult to understand for someone who is not familiar with them. This is a critical step when hiring a New York Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer. You absolutely have to know where you fall on the guidelines. That will inform you as to how much prison time you are potentially facing. It will mold and guide everything you decide from that point further. If you are reading this and currently do not know where you or your loved one is factored on the guidelines, you need to speak with us today. We will be happy to go over your case and give you a realistic expectation as to what lies ahead.

Call us today to speak with a New York Federal Criminal Defense Attorney toll-free at (914) 358-9146, so you don’t go do anything further to jeopardize your case.



When corrupt law enforcement officers or overzealous prosecutors focus the unlimited resources of the government on depriving you of your freedom and damaging your reputation, you need White Plains criminal defense lawyers who have a pugilistic attitude. At Greco Neyland PC, we are not interested in “going along to get along” with the prosecutor. We are trial attorneys with the insider knowledge of former assistant district attorneys. We know that individuals charged with drug crimes, sex offenses, domestic violence and other offenses do not need a defense attorney who is simply going to accept the first offer extended by the prosecutor.


Our White Plains criminal defense lawyers tenaciously challenge police procedure in pre-trial hearings. We routinely conduct extensive investigations, so we can gather exculpatory facts and identify inappropriate and illegal law enforcement conduct. Our White Plains criminal defense attorneys use this information to seek the exclusion of evidence or to effectively cross-examine police officers and other prosecution witnesses. If our clients retain Greco Neyland PC during the pre-charge stage of a criminal case, we begin fighting for their future by exposing weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and asserting our client’s constitutional rights to limit the scope of the investigation. Our early intervention can prevent charges from being filed or result in less serious or fewer criminal charges.

When you face the criminal justice system without an experienced criminal defense attorney who is ready to go to war for clients, you risk the prospect of a highly winnable case being pled out. You need White Plains criminal defense attorneys prepared to scorch the earth litigating on your behalf in light of the serious consequences of a criminal conviction. Some of these penalties may include jail or state prison time, huge fines and other costs, a record of conviction, loss of driving privileges, registration as a sex offender, forfeiture of constitutional rights, restraining orders, mandatory counseling and/or education programs and probation.

As if these forms of punishment are not enough, a criminal conviction typically snowballs so that it adversely impacts many aspects of your life even after you have fully served the terms of your sentence, parole or probation. Some of the ways that a criminal conviction might affect you include:

  • Disqualification from professional licensing (i.e. doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc.)
  • Adverse impact in divorce or child custody cases
  • Negative responses by future landlords
  • Potential immigration consequences including removal and ban on re-entry
  • Limitations on career advancement
  • Discipline by academic institutions that might include suspension, denial of admission or expulsion
  • Ineligibility for certain jobs requiring a state license
  • Damage to your relationship with your significant other and your kids


Whether you consider only formal sentencing terms or other long-term consequences, you do not want a White Plains criminal defense attorney who will be deterred when a prosecutor claims that your case is not winnable. Our criminal defense attorneys have built our reputation on winning just this type of case at trial by closely scrutinizing physical evidence, witness statements, forensic testing, expert reports, police procedures and essentially every other aspect of a case from the initial contact with law enforcement through trial. At the end of the day, trial experience is the number one factor that will help you. Having an attorney who has tried cases like yours before a jury for years and years, is going to give you the edge you need.

Our White Plains criminal defense attorneys carefully review all evidence and law enforcement reports along with utilizing our own investigators and experts to construct a compelling defense for our clients. While the defenses we use will be tailored specifically to your case based on factors like the nature of the charges, facts, evidence and police procedures, some defenses that we might successfully employ can include:

  • Challenging the legal sufficiency of the evidence for a stop, search or arrest
  • Seeking exclusion of evidence obtained in an unlawful search
  • Aggressively cross-examining law enforcement officers and other witnesses
  • Demonstrating that the accused does not have the specific intent (mental state) to commit the offense
  • Self-defense or defense of others
  • Alibi
  • Exposing motivations for complaining witnesses to lie or distort the facts
  • Reviewing law enforcement records to identify officer misconduct or bias
  • Attacking chemical testing of blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
  • Failure to prove the chain of custody (i.e. uninterrupted transfer of physical evidence like drugs)
  • Arguing the prosecution has failed to prove every element of a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt
  • Establishing consent by the complaining witness
  • Impugning the reliability of field sobriety testing
  • Exposing lab contamination and improper procedures
  • Using experts in ballistics, DNA analysis, accident reconstruction and other areas of specialized knowledge


While this list represents only a small sampling of the defenses that we may successfully use to protect our clients’ freedom and reputation, the point is that we consistently develop potential trial strategies rather than merely posture about trial while waiting for an offer from the prosecutor. Because our White Plains criminal defense lawyers have earned a reputation for taking cases to trial, prosecutors recognize that our pugilistic nature means that we are not looking to settle a case on the eve of trial. We are prepared to defend our clients’ rights, liberty, reputation and future. This is not to say we never entertain the possibility of a favorable plea agreement, but we consider such offers on our clients’ terms based on preparation of an effective criminal defense strategy at trial.

When you are facing the enormous litigation resources of the state, prosecutors who may be politically motivated and police officers willing to violate your constitutional rights, you need a criminal defense attorney ready to engage in battle rather than pander for an amicable agreement with the prosecutor. Whether you are falsely accused or got caught up in regrettable circumstances, our criminal defense attorneys are here to be your advocates – not to judge you.

At Greco Neyland PC, our White Plains criminal defense lawyers represent clients facing the full spectrum of criminal offenses from misdemeanor charges like DWAI and prostitution to serious felonies like drug trafficking and murder in White Plains and the surrounding areas of New York City.

Our White Plains criminal defense lawyers at Greco Neyland PC have the experience and commitment to defend you against the full range of criminal charges, including but not limited to the following: