Law Office of Michael L. Fell
900 Roosevelt Irvine, CA 92620
(949) 585-9055

Learn the Main Differences Between State and Federal ChargesWhere the case is tried—federal or state courts—determines how severe the potential punishment would be if you were found guilty of a crime. Learn more about the distinction between state courts and federal courts in the United States by reading on. Call Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 if you need assistance from a criminal defense lawyer after being accused of a state felony.

United States court systems

Federal, state, and local courts are the three different categories of courts in the US. Federal legislation approved by Congress and constitutional disputes are handled by federal courts. While municipal laws deal with local ordinances and regulations, state courts deal with state laws. Everything from petty traffic violations to serious offenses can be handled by state courts. State courts, not federal courts, hear the vast majority of cases in the United States.

If several crimes were committed during one act or if the crime(s) involved crossed state lines, federal courts may additionally hear matters that would typically be heard in state court. Drug trafficking, identity theft, and a few different kinds of fraud are all crimes that are prosecuted on the federal level.

various courts need various attorneys

The prosecutor in a federal trial will either be an Assistant US Attorney or a United States Attorney. A district or state district attorney will take on the case when it goes to trial at the state level.

The person facing criminal charges will need to locate a criminal defense lawyer with knowledge of their specific court, whether it be state or federal. Keep in mind that state court judges must be re-elected every two years while federal judges are appointed directly by the president of the United States and are appointed for life.

Potential repercussions for federal and state crimes

Even when the criminal accusations are comparable, federal penalties will typically be more severe than state penalties since most federal judges adhere to the same rules. If someone is found guilty of a federal crime, they will be sent to federal jail; if they are found guilty of a state offense, they will often be sent to state prison, if they are sent to prison at all. When you speak with a criminal defense lawyer, they can assist you in comprehending the precise punishments you can be subject to.

A person may be accused of the same crime by both the federal and state governments

It is possible for someone who has already been tried at the state level to later be charged at the federal level for the same offense, however this is highly uncommon. Double Jeopardy prevents a person from being accused of the same offense twice, but because state and federal courts are treated differently by the law, it may not always apply.

Call the Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 if you are prepared to engage with a skilled lawyer in a free legal consultation.