Tulsa Attorney BlogFederal Hold: What It Means for a Criminal Defendant in Oklahoma

McGirt Has Caused Major Impact in Oklahoma

Video Transcribed: What is a federal hold and what does that mean for a criminal defendant in Oklahoma? My name’s Ted Hasse. I’m a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney in Oklahoma at Wirth Law Office. I handle federal criminal matters.

What we’re getting more and more, particularly since McGirt, and in light of the fact that there are so many cases that were previously state cases, what we’re getting calls from people about a lot now is they’re finding out that they’re facing state charges and then suddenly, they find out they have a federal hold.

There’s a couple of ways that, that comes about. One of those ways, certainly, the most common way, and what we’re especially getting a lot of calls about is somebody who has sought some McGirt relief.

That’s, they’re making the claim that something for which they’ve been charged or convicted previously in a state proceeding, that conviction or that charge is no longer valid. That there is no jurisdiction with the state.

So, the feds will come along. They’ll place a federal hold a lot of times, awaiting the official court ruling that in fact, they are no longer able to be prosecuted by the state. This can of course happen, as I’ve talked in other videos about, where the defendant is a Native American or the victim, the alleged victim is Native American.

So we’re seeing a federal hold being put in place. And what that means is that, if you are about to be released from jail or a prison facility in the state of Oklahoma, the federal hold is in place, then you will not be released until the feds have the opportunity to do whatever they’re going to do.

Now, in cases where somebody sought McGirt relief on the basis that there was no state jurisdiction, it is highly unlikely if not almost certain, if there’s a federal hold, there is going to be a federal charge.

There are no guarantees, but we are not seeing cases where the federal hold does not mean a federal charge. There are other cases where a federal hold may be in place, and those are cases where McGirt has not been invoked, and the person is not making the claim that there is no jurisdiction.

But somehow, the feds have gotten wind of the fact that the defendant or the alleged victim is Native American. We’re finding they’re putting in federal holds in those cases, even where McGirt hasn’t been invoked.

Where it’s a case where the alleged victim is Native American, it’s fairly certain that with the federal hold, there’s going to be a federal charge. With the defendant being a Native American, we’re still seeing how some of those cases are playing out.

I have one case in particular, where we’re waiting to see in the case of an individual who is not, who’s deliberately making the choice. Although they qualify for McGirt relief, not seeking the McGirt relief.

If they go forward and they take the particular plea deal that they have on the state charge, we don’t know yet whether the feds are going to go ahead and move forward with the federal prosecution.

They can, but as was typical in the past, if the state, although it’s not required, if the state picks up the charge, fed leaves it alone. If the fed picks up the charge, the state leaves it alone. Typically, as a matter of policy, although it’s not a matter of law, they’re not prosecuting somebody both state and federal for the same course of criminal conduct. Although again, it surprises people to find out they can. And in some cases, they do.

If you have questions about a federal hold, if you’re in a situation where you’re facing state charges, and suddenly you find out there’s a federal hold, there are things we can do. And, you always want to get ahead of this process, because suddenly you’re in the big leagues.

You’re dealing with a federal investigation. You’re dealing with possible federal prosecution. We’re happy to talk to you if you have questions. Please feel free to give us a call if you need a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney, or If you any have questions, call (918) 932-2800.

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