State Vs. Federal

Being charged with a crime is one of the last things you want to have happen. So, if you do end up in such a predicament in Salt Lake City, will you understand the difference between state and federal charges? Knowing the difference is key as to the potential conviction and even sentencing you could be facing if found guilty.


A Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorney Can Guide You

When charged with a crime, having a Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney to represent you is key. They can break down the charges and help you better understand what is different between state charges and what you might be facing on a federal level.

Start by knowing that you can’t be prosecuted more than once for a like criminal offense.
Such a right is protected by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

As an example, you were found not guilty of stealing a vehicle. The state, federal government, court etc. can’t turn around some six months later and try to levy the same charge against you in the exact same case.

Also know in the Fifth Amendment that it is not considered double jeopardy to charge an individual both in state and federal court. That is provided the suspect took part in some act to violate both state and federal laws on the book.

When it comes to federal law, know that the federal government and state government are looked upon as dual sovereigns. That translates into each entity being allowed to prosecute a person for alleged criminal conduct without violating their Fifth Amendment right as it pertains to double jeopardy. So, you could be prosecuted at both the state and federal level.

In the event you are alleged to have committed a crime on federal land, the charge will automatically rise to a federal crime. Given federal property is looked upon as a territory within the state it is situated in, an act not necessarily looked at as a federal crime may still be charged on the books as a federal offense.

Should you be charged with a federal crime, you can end up with a much stiffer prison sentence and fine if convicted.

That is why the right legal counsel defending you and knowing the difference between federal and state laws is so key. The federal government can bring the weight of such agencies as the FBI, DEA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and others into investigating you.

Among potential federal crimes you could be charged with can include cases involving drugs, extortion, wire fraud, child pornography, human trafficking, destruction of federal property and more.

Among potential state crimes you may end up being charged with can be violation of restraining orders, theft, aggravated assault and homicide and more.

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If you have any inquiries about our process or need legal help with any criminal litigation, contact our office today.