A person facing criminal charges in any court should be concerned. While most defendants have their cases tried in local state courts, violations of federal laws are tried in United States Federal District Court. In some situations, a person is accused of a crime that could be tried in either State Court or Federal Court. The reason that the case is heard in Federal Court is that a Federal investigative agency has to lead the investigation and filed the formal charges.
Midland federal criminal lawyers work to defend individuals against all charges in federal courts. A qualified attorney understands how the Federal District Court functions and how to employ a powerful defense strategy.
Federal vs. State Courts
Federal District Courts have jurisdiction over every portion of the United States. No matter where a person lives, that territory is covered by a district court. In Midland, for example, the Northern District of Texas is the court of jurisdiction. Federal courts will only try a case when there has been an alleged violation of federal law. It is important to remember that many of these crimes are also against the laws of the State of Texas. But how is a court chosen when the alleged activity is illegal under both sets of laws?
The main factor in determining where a case will be heard is who files the charges. Cases in a state court are investigated and prosecuted by local police departments, sheriff’s offices, and district attorneys. By contrast, charges can only be filed in Federal Court by a US investigative body. These include the FBI, DEA, the IRS criminal division, and the Secret Service. Additionally, most cases in Federal Court are initiated by an indictment.
How Felonies Are Handled
All felonies in US District Courts must be based upon an indictment granted by a Grand Jury. Cases in State Courts may proceed through an indictment, but most are handled through probable cause hearings. Once a defendant is indicted, a warrant is issued and they are arrested and arraigned. From this point forward, the case will resemble any trial in a state court. The defendant has all of the same rights to defend themselves, obtain counsel in the form of a skilled Midland federal criminal attorney, argue points of evidence, call witnesses, and cross-examine prosecution witnesses.
Examples of Federal Crimes
A case can only be brought into Federal Court if the charge is a violation of federal law. A federal crime must be specifically defined in the US Code of Law. Examples of these crimes are:
- Illegal firearm possession
- Fraud or other white-collar crimes
- Drug offenses involving mass production or sale
- Tax Evasion
Many of these acts are also illegal under State of Texas law. Defendants can face charges stemming from the same acts in both courts. The potential penalties for both can also differ depending on the court hearing the case. Midland federal criminal attorneys work to defend individuals in both state and federal courts against any charges brought forward.
How a Midland Federal Criminal Attorney Can Help
People facing criminal charges in a federal court may be intimidated and confused. While it can be frightening to know that the US Government is pursuing charges against you, defendants in these situations retain the same constitutional rights as people charged in any other court in the country. Cases heard in Federal Court are generally more serious than those in State Court, but the potential penalties may be less severe than those possible in Texas’s system.
Midland federal criminal lawyers work with people to understand the full magnitude and potential consequences of these charges. They help them to comprehend how a federal case may interact with a state case and provide a nuanced and vigorous defense to both. Contact today to protect your rights and freedom.