Understanding the Differences Between State and Federal Crimes

When an individual is accused of breaking the law, the alleged crime plays a significant part in the charges and possible judgment. One of the main ways that the legal process can vary is whether the crime is considered a state or a federal offense. The agencies that investigate the crimes, the courts, and the sentences will often depend on the charge. Here are some of the main differences between state and federal crimes.

State vs. Federal Prosecution

A judge holding a gavel while sitting down

The federal and state courts have varying processes with separate courthouses and judges. Federal judges decide lawsuits between citizens from different states, cases involving particular federal laws, and cases against the United States government. On the other hand, state courts deal with cases involving state laws and citizens. Assistant U.S. attorneys prosecute federal cases while state district attorneys and local attorneys prosecute state crimes. Additionally, the court proceedings vary in both courts. A defendant should be careful to select a reputable attorney who has experience with these types of proceedings and the related laws.

Sentencing for State and Federal Crimes

Another key difference between state and federal crimes is the guidelines on sentencing. Federal judges have to follow federal sentencing guidelines, where the mandatory minimum sentence is often higher than that of state crimes. It is not uncommon for two individuals who have committed similar crimes to get different sentences simply because one was charged with a federal crime and the other a state crime.

Legal Representation

Regardless of the type of crime that the defendant has been charged with, it is vital to seek experienced and knowledgeable legal representation. Karen A. Connolly, J.D. is a seasoned divorce and criminal defense attorney. She has extensive experience in litigating both state and federal crimes, and she has attained many notable verdicts in her career, including the reversal of multiple murder convictions. If you need reputable legal representation for a state or federal crime in Nevada, contact the Law Offices of Karen A. Connolly, Ltd. for a consultation.