At Hecht and Associates, we handle many different types of cases for our clients, including family law, civil cases and criminal charges. Oftentimes, we receive questions from potential clients about federal versus state jurisdiction. Our Maryland and DC criminal attorneys are licensed to handle both federal and state cases, and it is very important that someone is represented by a lawyer qualified in the right court system, often referred to as a jurisdiction. There are many variables involved, but there are some general rules of thumb that simplify the confusion of whether someone could be faced with state or federal charges.
One of the major differences is the amount of time served for penalty when someone is convicted. The federal penal system has prisons in a number of places throughout the country, and most of them are nowhere near the location of the crime or the inmate’s home. A state case, however, has lesser penalties. The time served is in a prison run by the state where the crime was committed.
State crimes are charged and tried in the state where the crime was committed. If the offense was committed on federal property or against a federal agency or property, it will likely be handled in a federal court. Crossing state lines or committing multiple offenses in multiple states can also merit federal charges.
Where the confusion often comes into play is that certain types of crimes are usually treated as federal rather than state crimes. They may be especially violent or far-reaching, such as certain murder cases or a bank robbery. Whether you need a federal or state criminal attorney in Maryland or DC, contact Hecht & Associates. We may be able to help.