It is important to recognize that there is a stark difference between a state and a federal charge—the largest being the level of severity. Federal crimes are heard in federal courts and involve federal prosecutors with vast resources; these cases are also investigated by federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI. Not only are these cases more difficult, but the penalties associated with federal crimes are often much harsher.
Different crimes are tried in different courts and whether a criminal case is heard in a state or federal court is determined by both jurisdiction and the related laws. To put it simply, a crime is considered a “state crime” if it breaks state law and a “federal crime” if it breaks federal law. Since states have broad jurisdiction and most crimes are outlawed by state law, the most commonly tried crimes are most often heard in the state courts.
Examples of state charges include the following:
There are, however, situations where a criminal case can be elevated to the federal courts. For example, while robbery is most often a state crime, it can become a federal crime if the robbery involved a federal bank. Similarly, a drug offense can become a federal crime if it involved trafficking across state lines.
Examples of federal crimes include the following:
At the Law Office of Harmony M. Schuerman, we take an aggressive approach to criminal defense. We know what is on the line, and we are fully committed to ensuring that our clients receive the high-quality legal representation that they deserve. No matter whether you are facing criminal charges on the state or federal level, you can rest assured knowing that you will have someone on your side who is invested in your future and who is dedicated to ensuring that you receive the best possible chance of success.