Federal vs State Criminal Defense: Is There a Big Difference?

federal vs state criminal defenseWhen someone violates a Florida law, the State of Florida will charge them with a state crime and prosecute them. If that person violated federal laws, then the U.S. government will charge the accused with a federal crime. Each type of charge, state and federal, requires a unique approach to the defense process. Let’s look at each kind of defense and outline the main similarities and differences between the two.

Federal Criminal Charges and Defense 

Violation of a law passed by Congress is a federal crime. It usually involves criminal activities that have more of a national-level impact. Examples of federal crimes may include: 

  • A crime that involves a federal official or occurs on federal land 
  • A crime where the accused crossed state borders 
  • A crime where the criminal conduct crossed state borders
  • Violations related to customs and immigration laws 

Based on these broad guidelines, some crimes are typically federal. These may include acts of terror, bank robbery, drug trafficking, wire fraud, espionage, sexual exploitation of minors, and racketeering. If you or someone close to you is facing federal charges, you should speak to an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer in Miami for legal advice. 

State Criminal Charges and Defense

federal criminal defense lawyer miamiViolation of state law is a state crime. In Florida, for instance, the state has a law against DUI (Driving Under the Influence). This is a Florida law, not a federal law. Similarly, there are state laws in Florida against crimes such as sexual assault, possession or selling of illegal drugs, murder, theft, burglary, and more that may not have federal counterparts.

In some situations, a state crime might also be a federal crime. The nature and scope of the crime, as well as any peripheral details, will determine which laws will apply. If you violate a Florida law, it is best to have a Miami state criminal defense lawyer on your side to protect your rights. 

How Federal and State Charges Differ

Federal and state criminal cases will differ in various aspects, including the pre-trial detention location, bond eligibility, deadlines, and the speed of the trial process. One of the key differences between federal and state criminal charges is how they are investigated and charged. A state case usually involves less preliminary work on the part of the police and other law enforcement agencies. The prosecutor will make a faster decision to press the charges. Therefore, it becomes vital to hire the services of a competent Miami state criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. 

On the other hand, federal charges require a more detailed and prolonged investigation. Gathering evidence will be a more elaborate task on the part of law enforcement. Then a grand jury will decide whether to indict the accused. Federal cases can often be more challenging because the prosecution does more preparation than in state cases. Another critical distinction is that, in terms of sentencing, a federal court judge has significantly less leeway. Considering these factors, having legal representation from a skilled federal criminal defense lawyer in Miami is imperative.

Enlist the Services of an Experienced Federal and State Criminal Defense Attorney in Miami

Are you facing charges due to a violation of federal or state laws? You need to hire a criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable in both federal and state laws. Chad Piotrowski of Piotrowski Law is an experienced and professional attorney with the expertise to defend your rights from charges against you and help you avoid legal consequences regardless of the situation. Call us today at 305-363-1711 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.