State vs. Federal Offenses

What Is the Difference Between State and Federal Crimes?

If you are arrested or indicted on suspicion of committing one or more criminal offenses, how can you tell if you're alleged of a state or federal offense? To understand the distinction, it is important to understand that, in the United States, citizens and residents are subject to both state and federal laws. In the state of California, residents must adhere to the California Statutes as well as the Federal laws that were created by the U.S. Congress.

Sometimes, state codes are also found in federal law. Other times, codes are unique to federal law and are not found in the state codes. If your offense is deemed a federal offense only, your case will be prosecuted in Federal District Court. If you allegedly have committed an offense that falls under both state and federal law, it is the prosecutors who decide where the offender should be tried.

You will know if your crime is a federal offense if law enforcement files your warrant with the Federal District Court. With this notice, you should also receive an affidavit. This is a form that explains the nature of your alleged offense. Federal offenses are handled in federal, rather than state court, but that is not the only difference.

You will be up against an Assistant United States Attorney, which is just another name for a federal prosecutor. Federal cases also differ in that defendants will have to face a grand jury. Like a regular jury, this federal grand jury is comprised of randomly selected citizens. To learn more about the differences between state and federal crimes, contact Martinian & Associates! Our firm handles both state and federal crimes, so contact a Los Angeles federal criminal defense lawyer from our firm today.

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