Understanding The Difference Between Federal & State Charges

Understanding The Difference Between Federal & State Charges

When someone is charged with a crime, the charges may be for a state crime or a federal crime. The two of them can be very different from each other. The main difference is that when there is a charge of a state crime, that means the person broke a state law. Most crimes fall under this umbrella. However, when a person breaks a federal law, they are charged with a federal crime. These tend to be more complicated crimes in many cases, and they often span multiple states. If there is a question about whether state or federal law applies, federal law always has priority.

State and Federal Crime Examples

Many of the most serious crimes committed are state crimes that come with federal charges. Some examples of this include theft, rape, murder, assault, theft, robbery, drug possession, and shoplifting. When the charge is for a misdemeanor, this is usually for a state crime and gets state charges.

Some of the federal crimes that bring federal charges include tax evasion, terrorism, bank fraud, bank robberies, theft through emails, and mail fraud. When a crime crosses from one state to another, this will generally be a federal crime. Kidnapping, for example, often starts in one state and ends up in another. This would be a federal crime. Many crimes committed over the internet are classified as federal crimes because they easily cross state boundaries and may involve people in many states. If you are on federal property when you commit certain crimes, such as DUI, can also be a federal crime.

Procedures for State and Federal Crimes

The procedures that come from state and federal charges are handled completely separately. State courts are different physical spaces than federal courts. The way that the court system is organized depends a lot on the state. When prosecuting a state crime, there will be different judges handling them than for federal crimes. There will also be different prosecuting attorneys, and the procedures used in the courtroom will be different.

No matter where a federal court is located, all federal courts follow a set of procedures called the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. When the crime is a state crime, it will fall under the state’s rules. These are created by the state’s courts and legislatures. The differences between the procedures for state and federal crimes generally don’t make a lot of difference in the outcome of a case, but they will influence the way the proceedings are done.

When proceedings are held in a federal court, the judge has to be aware of the federal sentencing guidelines and act accordingly. These let federal judges know what kind of sentence is needed for various federal crimes. These guidelines were once completely mandatory, but they’ve only been an advisory tool since 2005. These guidelines have a formula for deciding on a sentence based on what kind of offense was committed and what kind of criminal record the defendant has. Judges look at the guidelines and ultimately make the sentencing decision themselves. They are required to use the guidelines to advise the sentence, though they aren’t required to give the exact sentence prescribed by them.

In each state, the sentencing policies are created by state judges as well as the state legislature. In many cases, there are minimum and maximum penalties required for various state charges. The laws for state and federal crimes change frequently. It’s important to have an experienced attorney who is up to date on the latest procedures and sentencing guidelines.

Hire an Experienced Lawyer

Whether you need a Philadelphia drug lawyer or you’re looking for the best DUI lawyer in PA, you can call us for expert services. We’re available to help you through the court procedures and advise you about the best courses of action.