Understanding the circumstances of a criminal charge can get complicated. One area that people often misunderstand is the forum, or place, is which a case can be tried. Charges brought by state and federal prosecutors have different procedures and even consequences. If you’re unsure what determines if a crime is federal or state, read on to find out.
The deciding factor for determining whether a crime will be tried by a federal or state entity is generally the jurisdiction in which the crime is alleged to have occurred, with some exceptions. Some crimes by nature involve multiple jurisdictions, and it may not be so intuitive to find out who will prosecute the charges. In other cases, it could depend on who was investigating the crime in question.
Crimes alleged to have occurred in one state are typically seen as state-level crimes. In some cases, the crime could be alleged to have occurred in multiple states, or the accused may have crossed state lines. In these cases and others, they may be considered federal crimes.
Some crimes, such as white collar crimes, involve federal statutes and can be tried by a federal court. Crimes investigated by federal agencies, such as the FBI, are usually federal. Finally, the supremacy clause of the Constitution states that federal law enforcement has the say over local or state courts to decide jurisdiction.
Because the federal court system is different from that of the state, you may need a lawyer with experience defending federal charges. At Chris Lewis & Associates P.C., we can provide you with the criminal defense you need when you need it most.