State and Federal Cases: Do You Know the Difference?
There is a general misconception that Federal courts handle severe offenses, while State courts handle less harsh crimes. However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, Federal courts deal only with violations against Federal law. If an offense goes against both Federal and State law, the Federal courts can decide whether they will pick up the case.
A good example of this would be if a law enforcement agency found a stockpile of drugs ready for distribution. Although the charges from this type of circumstance are not unusual for a Georgia state courthouse, a Federal court is also entitled to take the case for prosecution.
Although Federal courts have the option of picking up certain cases from the State, this freedom is not a two-way street. Violations involving only Federal laws are reserved for the Federal jurisdiction. A main focus for Federal institutions includes large-scale drug operations, terrorism cases, crimes occurring in more than one state, firearm charges and robbery of federally insured (FDIC) banks.
Many of the crimes committed in Georgia are in direct violation of State law, putting Georgia’s courts in a better position to deal with these cases. In fact, most crimes committed in Georgia—DUI, theft, murder, battery, property crimes, and so on—are handled by State and local courts.
A federal prosecutor’s decision to take a case is based on a variety of factors, including the extent of the criminal activity, the current priorities of the federal government and the amount of public awareness about the case. Federally convicted felons are in for the long haul, as Federal Law does not allow for parole and inmates typically serve at least 85% of their sentences.
Regardless of whether you have been charged with a State or Federal crime, it is important that you get the legal counsel of a qualified criminal defense attorney.
At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Our criminal defense attorneys, Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, have combined experience of more than 30 years representing clients facing criminal charges in Georgia. For more information, or to request a case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-822-0900.