Criminal violations come in all shapes and sizes. From theft and murder
to counterfeiting and tax fraud, there are seemingly endless ways to break
the law in America. But did you know that depending on what you did or
where you did it, your alleged crime could either be considered a state
or federal violation? And that this designation could change what happens
after you are arrested?
Crimes That Vary from State to State
As each of the 50 states in our country has been given some judicial power
to govern itself through state constitutions, it is a natural consequence
that states are also able to define the details of what constitutes a
crime within their borders.
For the most part, the crimes that states are able to outline are those
that do not threaten the entire country, or that do not directly violate
the Constitution. These are known as state crimes and may include “lesser
violations,” such as:
- Assault and battery
- Traffic violations
- Family law disputes
If you are arrested for a state crime, you will most likely be tried in
a state court nearest the location of your alleged crime. A trial jury
consisting of six to 12 people will hear your case as witness testimonies
and evidence are brought to their attention. Ultimately, they will present
a final verdict and an elected judge will determine fair sentencing. For
the most part, state crimes will not be considered a felony and generally
carry penalties that are less severe than those for federal crimes.
Crimes Recognized by the Entire Country
For you to be charged with a federal crime, it is most likely an offense
that could have repercussions that span across more than one state, endanger
the public well-being, or violate the Constitution. Examples of commonly
recognized federal crimes are:
- Counterfeiting money
- Hate crimes
- Drug trafficking
- Intellectual property violations
- Public corruption
The prosecution for federal crime cases will be headed by a United States
Attorney and may involve a grand jury, which consists of 16 to 23 people.
These proceedings are not open to the public and, unlike state criminal
cases, defendants and their attorneys will not have the right to appear
before the grand jury. Federal crimes are generally considered felonies,
or a crime that is either punishable by death or imprisonment that lasts
for more than one year.
When One Violation is a State and Federal Crime
It is not unheard of for a crime to violate both state and federal laws.
When this occurs, the accused can actually be tried
twice without violating the Constitution’s “Double Jeopardy Clause.”
This is because they will be subjected to two entirely different trials
for what are technically two crimes. Due to this loophole, it is possible
for someone to get two sentences for one criminal act.
State, Federal, or Both – Attorneys Peacock & Le Beau Can Help You
If you are being accused of a criminal violation of any kind, it is important
for you to work with a team that understands your charges and the circumstances
that will surround your trial, should it get that far. At the Law Office
of Peacock & Le Beau, our Long Beach criminal defense attorneys have
over 40 years of collective experience. Better yet, they are both California
certified criminal law specialists, a highly-praised honor that has been given to only about 350 lawyers
in all of California.
Be sure to contact us
today to learn your rights and how they can defend them, regardless of
the accusations against you.