Each state has its own set of unique criminal laws, and in many cases, federal prosecutors prefer to let states handle their own criminal matters. However, under some particular circumstances, the federal government steps in to charge defendants at the federal level. Attorneys at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, defend clients who have been charged in state and federal courts, and they understand the key differences between state and federal prosecutions.
State And Federal Laws
Even though state governments and federal governments have their own sets of laws, those laws often overlap, meaning that some crimes can be charged at both the state and federal levels. Typically, state prosecutors will prosecute those who have violated Texas laws unless federal prosecutors step in and file charges in federal court. As discussed below, the penalties for federal convictions are almost always more severe than state-level convictions.
Facts And Circumstances Related To Federal Charges
Some facts and circumstances make it more likely that crimes will be charged at the federal level. Criminal activity that takes place across state lines is usually charged as a federal crime. For example, crimes that impact interstate commerce, such as moving goods or services across state lines, will likely be charged as a federal crime. Additionally, crimes that involve federal property or institutions, such as banks and government agencies, and international crimes are typically charged at the federal level.
Consequences For Federal Versus State Convictions
As mentioned above, the consequences for federal convictions are generally more severe than the consequences for state convictions. Although Texas has a reputation for being tough on crime, federal sentencing guidelines usually provide for harsher penalties than for the same offense charged at a state level.
Additionally, if you are convicted in federal court, you may serve your sentence at a federal prison. Federal prisons are high-security facilities, and they are often located farther away than local state prisons, making visitation more difficult for family members and friends. As a result, federal prisoners may feel more isolated than those serving time at a state prison.
Federal And State Prosecutions
When crimes are charged at the federal level, everyone involved works for the federal government, including prosecutors, judges, and investigators. Federal courts are separate from state courts, and federal courts have different procedural rules and requirements as well. Attorneys will implement different defense strategies based on whether their client’s cases are pursued in federal or state courts.
Federal Charges Defense Attorney
Only attorneys who have the experience and knowledge to defend federal charges should represent clients in federal cases. Criminal defense attorneys at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, know that there are major differences between federal and state prosecutions and not all Texas criminal defense attorneys are prepared to represent clients in federal matters.
If you are facing federal or state criminal charges, contact us at 713-229-9992 or reach our office here to schedule a free consultation. Follow our Facebook page to learn more about state and federal criminal law.