Federal Criminal Cases:  Know Where You Stand

By | March 22, 2018

Perhaps you knew that a person can be charged for the same offense by both the federal and state government, making a potentially life-destroying situation even more dire.  You may have heard about “double jeopardy,” under which you can only be tried once for a single crime.  But it is possible to be tried separately for the same crime at the state and federal level.  That’s called “dual sovereignty.”  For people needing a criminal lawyer, Fairfax VA has professionals who know the ins and outs at both levels.

criminal lawyer, Fairfax VA

In the U.S., a federal offense is any act that is illegal under federal legislation.  Such crimes are prosecuted under federal criminal law.  Some acts are criminal specifically because they occur on federal property or on an Indian reservation.  Some of them, but not all, are listed in Title 18 of the federal criminal and penal code (the United States Code).  Tax evasion and possession of banned firearms, for example, fall under Title 26 of the Code.  An attorney specializing in federal crimes will know which laws fall under which titles and jurisdictions.

Federal courts hear cases in which the United States itself is a party.  They may be cases of Constitutional violation, cases between people living in different states if there is $75,000 or more in dispute, and cases of bankruptcy, copyright and patent claims, and issues of maritime law.  Additionally, in some cases there is the option to go to a federal or state court.  That’s because there’s jurisdiction at both the federal and state level. 

Knowing under which jurisdiction you may be tried is as important as knowing your rights when you’ve been accused.  A criminal lawyer can help you sort it all out when your future is at stake.