Can I Face Both State and Federal Charges for the Same Crime?
In the U.S., each state is a separate sovereign entity with its own constitution, laws, governments, and courts. This allows each state the power to make laws as long as the laws do not go against federal law. When someone is charged with a crime at the state level, they can also be charged with the same crime at the federal level since state and federal laws are separate entities.
If you have been charged with a state and federal crime, you will want to consult with a criminal defense attorney in Florida who has experience in both court systems.
Federal vs. State Law Enforcement
Individuals who face state crimes are arrested by state law enforcement, such as the local city or county police officers. State law enforcement enforces laws within their jurisdiction of city, county, and state. When someone is arrested by federal law enforcement, this would be conducted by such agencies as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).
Since federal agencies belong to the federal government, they have much larger task forces and have more resources than local agencies.
Federal vs. State Prosecutors
Federal prosecutors are appointed or elected public officials, and federal crimes are prosecuted by the U.S. District Attorney. In comparison, state crimes are prosecuted by state attorneys and both agencies can investigate and prosecute criminal cases.
While the state has jurisdiction over defendants who violate state laws, the federal government has the power to arrest, charge, and try defendants who commit crimes and cross state lines, commit crimes on federal property, or even federally defined crimes such as immigration and drug crimes.
Am I Protected Under the Double Jeopardy Clause?
Double jeopardy refers to the defense that protects an individual who was tried for a crime, and keeps them from being charged for the same crime twice. Unfortunately, since state and federal courts have jurisdiction over a defendant concurrently, the committed crime can be charged at both the state and federal levels. This is a separate sovereign exception and does not violate double jeopardy.
Federal vs. State Penalties
Federal crimes generally have more severe punishments than similar crimes at the state level. Examples of federal charges are:
- Drug trafficking
- Human trafficking
- Bank robbery
- Internet Fraud
- Organized crime
- Tax violations
- Child pornography
A few examples of state crimes include:
- Assault and battery
- Drug possession
Some common criminal charges where both the state and federal courts can be involved are drug trafficking, weapons charges, and child pornography. If you have been charged with a crime by both the state and federal courts, contact experienced criminal defense attorneys at Umansky Law Firm.
Federal vs. State Charges
When the state sentences a person to spend time in jail or prison and the federal court also sentences the person to federal prison, time will be served in both the state prison and the federal prison.
Having state and federal charges can be extremely challenging legal proceedings. Contact our office for a free consultation, and speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Our Criminal Law Team about Your State and Federal Charges in FL
When you face criminal charges at both the federal and state level, you want to have the best defense team on your side. The defense lawyers at Umansky Law Firm have over 100 combined years of legal experience, with a team that consists of former prosecutors at the state and local levels. We have a client-centered approach to defending all types of criminal cases in Florida and want to help you maintain your livelihood and family while defending your case. Let us help you play your cards right. Call our office today or fill out our contact form.