What’s the Difference Between State and Federal Criminal Charges?

Experienced Dallas Criminal Defense Firm of Broden & Mickelsen, LLP Explains State and Federal Criminal Charges

Whether you’re facing a prosecution in state or federal court, getting arrested and charged with a crime is a terrifying experience. If you’re up against federal charges, however, you can’t afford to forego experienced criminal defense.

States have the right to enforce their own laws and their state constitutions. In many areas, however, state and federal laws overlap. For example, it is illegal to manufacture drugs under both state and federal law. Generally, the penalties for breaking a federal law are more severe and usually involve time behind bars. Federal prosecutors also tend to proceed more slowly than state cases. As a result, most defendants work to get their case moved to the state level.

At Broden & Mickelsen, LLP, our Texas federal criminal defense lawyers help people who have been charged with crimes in federal court. Facing federal charges is an intimidating experience. When your future is on the line, you want the best defense possible. That’s what we offer.

State vs. Federal Law

Many crimes are illegal at both the state and federal levels, but the federal government usually defers to the states in certain matters. In fact, more crimes are prosecuted at the state level than the federal level.

In certain areas, however, the federal government will exercise its right to prosecute, even if the state also has jurisdiction over a defendant.

Many people are shocked to learn that an individual can also be prosecuted for the same offense by the state and the federal government – or even by two separate states. You probably learned about “double jeopardy” in high school social studies class. Although it’s true that an individual can’t be tried twice for the same offense by the same “sovereign,” a person can be prosecuted by different government entities, which can be state vs. federal or two different states. This is a concept known as “dual sovereignty.”

A well-known example of dual sovereignty in action is the prosecution of Michael Vick, the NFL quarterback convicted of running an illegal dog fighting operation. Vick was first prosecuted at the federal level, where he received a 23-month prison sentence. He was then prosecuted for the same offenses, but at the state level, where he was convicted again in the Virginia courts. Although Vick’s lawyers fought the state indictment based on his admission of guilt at the federal level, state prosecutors successfully argued that double jeopardy did not apply, as Vick was not tried twice for the same offenses in the same jurisdiction.

Dallas Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you are facing charges in federal court, or you have been charged with a crime in both state and federal court, you must act quickly to protect your rights. The federal criminal defense lawyers at Broden & Mickelsen, LLP devote a significant portion of their practice to federal criminal cases. Call 24/7 to speak to an experienced criminal lawyer about your state crime, federal criminal defense or appeals case in Dallas. Contact us or call 214-720-9552 today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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Broden & Mickelsen, LLP
2600 State St Dallas, Texas 75204
Main Phone: (214) 720-9552

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SOURCE: Broden & Mickelsen, LLP

Mick Mickelsen is a nationally recognized criminal trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience defending people charged with white-collar crimes, drug offenses, sex crimes, murder, and other serious state and federal offenses.