The Journey of a current undergraduate student, Kehinde Emmanuel OladeleJune 30, 2023
Colorado Criminal Law in Practice: From Arrest to DefenseJuly 1, 2023
The last thing anybody wants is to deal with the stress of being charged with a crime, especially if you are completely innocent of that which you are being accused of. However, anybody can be arrested if they commit a crime or if there is a reasonable belief that they committed a crime. Given this, it’s best to understand what exactly you are being charged with, and on what level the charge is coming from: state or federal.
The Difference Between Federal and State Crimes
Many people erroneously believe that federal and state crimes are exactly the same despite major differences between the two categories. At the highest level, the key differences between federal and state crimes are that for a crime to be federal it must have one of the following elements:
- A crime that takes place on federal land or which involves federal officers
- A crime that involves fraud, deception, or misrepresentation of the federal government
- A crime where the defendant has crossed state lines
- A crime where the person committed the crime in such a way that it crossed state lines
- Immigrations or violations of customs
In addition to the above, there are some additional key differences between federal and state crimes to be aware of:
Federal vs. State Crime Due Process
In most cases, state trials are brought by prosecutors or district attorneys whereas federal trials are brought by a United States attorney. Generally, federal magistrate judges are used to hear the initial matters in a trial, but they don’t actually decide on cases. State trials typically use a standard jury who hears the details of the case to make a verdict, though some trials will only have a judge presiding over the situation.
Federal vs. State Crime Punishments
In terms of punishment, the complexity and uniqueness mark federal justice as substantially harsher than state crimes. Convictions on the federal level will result in a person being put in federal prison, as opposed to state prison, and the fines associated with a federal conviction are far more expensive than those associated with state crimes.
Federal vs. State Crime Type
For a crime to be federal, as outlined earlier, it needs to involve the government or country as a whole. States have their own laws which regulate the citizens of those states, but crimes of certain manners or which occur in such a way that the country falls into scope will become federal in nature and tried at that level.
Build your legal defense as soon as possible
Fighting for your innocence in court will be a challenge, especially if you are doing so all by yourself. Rather than simply accepting whatever fate may be in store, reach out to an accredited criminal defense attorney who can help you build your case today. By assisting with gathering evidence, screening potential witnesses, and arguing on your behalf, an effective lawyer can make all the difference in proving your innocence.