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The Difference Between Federal and State Criminal Defense

To mount a defense to a criminal charge, your legal defense team will need alter how your case is handled depending on whether if it’s being tried in a federal or a state court. In fact, some law firms do not have the experience needed to represent a client charged with a federal crime. As such, only a highly experienced legal team, like Rawls, Scheer, Clary, and Mingo in Charlotte, NC, has the background and expertise to recognize the difference between federal and state criminal defense in order to develop a strong defense strategy that suits the court system in which the case will be heard.

Federal Criminal Cases Versus State Criminal Cases

In a federal case, a person has been accused with violating one or more federal laws with the government serving as the prosecution. The federal government has a greater web of resources at its disposal to collect evidence and create an ironclad case than does the state, which makes it exponentially more difficult to defend a federal defendant. However, there are much greater differences between federal criminal cases and state criminal cases.

Federal and state courts have different jurisdictions, which are the types of cases the court can legally hear. For criminal cases, federal courts are restricted to hearing those crimes that violate constitutional laws, IRS violations, racketeering, crimes are committed across state lines or borders, immigration violations, drug trafficking and possession, crimes committed on federal property, certain types of fraud, crimes that involve the mail, robbery of federally insured funds and immigration laws. To determine appropriate sentencing, the federal courts refer to specific guidelines and a point system that takes a defendant’s history and case facts into consideration. States courts hear many types of criminal misdemeanor and felony cases, such as crimes against another person, property crimes, criminal traffic offenses, drug offenses, and theft.  The sentencing for the state prosecuted crimes can be varied depending on the current penalty range for a particular crime and the extent to which a defendant is a repeat offender. These differences in jurisdiction and sentencing demonstrate that federal crimes are complex cases demanding that a defendant’s legal team mount a carefully crafted defense.

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Achieving the best possible outcome from your federal case in North Carolina necessitates representation from a skilled, qualified and seasoned legal team. Rawls, Scheer, Clary, and Mingo in Charlotte, NC, are the criminal defense legal team you need on your side when you are fighting serious charges in either federal or state court. Time is of the essence — schedule a case evaluation today by calling 704-376-3200.