Roanoke State and Federal Crimes Attorneys Aggressively Defending Clients
Being charged with any criminal offense is serious, but this is especially true when the charges you are facing are filed at the federal level. There’s more at stake in a federal case, which means you should not put your future in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. Contact skilled criminal law attorney Seth C. Weston to discuss your case and review your legal options.
Federal vs. State Crimes
If you are facing federal criminal charges, it’s important to understand the difference between federal and state criminal law. A criminal charge is filed against someone who has been accused of breaking the law.
If the defendant has allegedly violated state law, he will face state-level charges, whereas if he allegedly violated federal law, he will face federal charges. Most criminal charges are filed at the state level. Some examples of these charges include:
- Assault and battery
- Domestic Violence
However, certain crimes are filed at the federal level. Some examples of these crimes include:
- Computer Crimes
- Drug Trafficking
- Immigration-Related Crimes
These are just a few examples of federal and state crimes. In general, a crime is considered a federal offense if it crosses state lines, is committed on federal property, or involves federal agencies. Other crimes, such as those involving immigration or terrorism, are also handled at the federal level.
What Are the Differences Between Federal and State Criminal Courts?
State charges are tried in state criminal courts, whereas federal charges are tried in federal courts. The judges that preside over state courts hear far more cases every year, however, the cases that end up in federal court tend to be more complex.
There are many similarities to the two different court proceedings. For instance, in both courts, the trial process includes opening arguments, presentation of cases, closing arguments, and jury deliberations.
Despite these similarities, federal and state courts are very different. Federal courts must operate under a different set of rules and procedures than those used in state court. For this reason, it is imperative to work with an attorney who is familiar with the federal courts if you are facing federal charges.
Who Handles the Investigations of Federal Crimes and State Crimes?
A number of different parties are involved in the investigation of federal and state crimes. State crimes are investigated by local authorities such as city police departments, sheriff’s offices, and state government agencies.
Federal crimes, on the other hand, are investigated by a wide range of federal agencies. Some examples of these agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
These agencies will only get involved with relevant federal cases. For example, the IRS would contribute to the investigation of tax fraud crimes, whereas the DEA would be involved with drug trafficking crimes.
Each of these federal agencies has a large team of investigators and caseworkers, so they have significantly more resources at their disposal than state level investigators.
This allows them to spend more time on each investigation and put together a stronger and more thorough case against defendants. This is another reason why federal defendants need to work with a lawyer who is experienced enough to handle a case of this complexity.
Who Prosecutes Federal Crimes and State Crimes?
Both state and federal cases involve three main parties: the defense, the prosecution, and the judge. But, federal cases are prosecuted by U.S. attorneys that work for the federal government, whereas state cases are prosecuted by district or city attorneys who work for the local government. U.S. attorneys are appointed to their positions, whereas the majority of state-level attorneys are elected.
Federal vs. State Prison Sentences
One of the main differences between federal crimes vs. state crimes is the sentencing following a conviction. Most federal crimes have mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines that judges must follow when a defendant has been convicted.
These guidelines typically impose longer sentences on defendants than the guidelines established by state law. As a result, people who are convicted of federal crimes usually spend more time behind bars than those who are convicted of state crimes.
Schedule A Free Consultation With Our Award-Winning State And Federal Crimes Law Firm In Roanoke, VA
Are you facing state or federal criminal charges? If so, contact the Law Office of Seth C. Weston, PLC as soon as possible.
Seth C. Weston is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has successfully helped clients facing state and federal charges reach the best possible outcome in their cases.
Let our team work tirelessly to protect your freedom. To schedule a free consultation with our team, call 540-342-5608 or fill out the brief form on our website.