On Friday, October 28, federal authorities charged Zavik Zargarian, a local businessman, with crimes committed while operating his business, ZNC Engineering, in Glendale. If convicted, Mr. Zargarian could spend the remainder of his life in prison. He needs expert guidance about what lies ahead.

Like all defendants of white collar crimes, Mr. Zargarian should educate himself about options at his disposal. As the Government reports, approximately 90 percent of all people charged in federal court face a sentencing hearing. By understanding all options, a defendant can position himself for the best possible outcome after being charged with a white collar crime in federal court.

Special agents with US Immigration and Homeland Security Investigation arrested Zavik Zargarian and processed him into the Federal Detention Center in Los Angeles. Like any businessman charged with a white collar crime, Mr. Zargarian likely felt overwhelmed with the entire episode. He wouldn’t know where to turn for answers. His business provided engineering services to aerospace, military, and commercial industries. Although his sales process resulted in federal charges, Mr. Zargarian may not have had any criminal intent. Yet his intent will not stop federal prosecutors that want a conviction.

The steps Mr. Zargarian takes in the coming weeks and months will determine which category he falls into. He may be fortunate. One out of every 10 defendants charged in a federal indictment for a white collar crime are exonerated. Perhaps Mr. Zargarian will realize such an outcome. Or, he may fall into the category of the other nine out of 10 defendants. They face a Presentence Investigation Report, a Sentencing Hearing, and time in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. That’s a lot to consider.

In all federal cases, prosecutors have a vested interest in convicting defendants. Depending on how Zarik Zargarian responds to the indictment, they may seek a lengthy sentence, or they may agree to look at his entire life and agree to leniency at sentencing.

As a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in federal court, I advise all defendants to explore options that will lead to the best possible outcome. Although Mr. Zargarian would like to change past decisions, he must deal with the reality that he has been charged in a federal indictment. Decisions he makes going forward will influence the rest of his life.