The Difference Between State And Federal Charges In Alabama

There are two major criminal justice systems that can sentence an individual for various offenses: state and federal law. Whether an individual faces state or federal charges, however, it is often wise to consult with knowledgeable legal counsel because both charges can result in substantial penalties. Several substantial differences exist between state and federal charges in the state of Alabama.

The Extent Of State And Federal Powers In Alabama

The powers of the state of Alabama and the federal government are very different in terms of teach.The state of Alabama has its own constitution, statutes, law, and procedures which determine how chargeable offenses are treated. The federal law also exists in the state of Alabama but has limited jurisdiction because the federal government may only charge individuals who violate federal law or when the United States government is the victim of a crime. Federal courts also hear cases when the parties in question are either from different states or countries, which is referred to in the legal world as “diversity of citizenship.” Diversity of citizenship also requires that a case involve more than $75,000.  

Time Differences Between State And Federal Cases

Court cases often take a longer amount of time to proceed through the state of Alabama's court system as opposed to the federal court system. The state of Alabama's court system tends to involve a more protracted system due to state's high number of pending cases and less streamlined legal system.

Common Examples Of State And Federal Crimes

The state of Alabama's criminal justice system covers a variety of crimes including crimes against a person, crimes against property, and crimes against the state. These cases are heard in the state of Alabama's criminal justice system and sometimes can result in the case being heard by the Supreme Court of the United States if the case involves a question of federal law.

Federal crimes primarily arise from either the violation of a United States statute or violations that occur on property that belongs to the federal government. The federal courts hears cases that arise from the violation of federal law.

The Differences Between Federal And State Sentencing

The manner in which sentencing and punishment are treated differs substantially between the state of Alabama and the federal court system. Federal courts tend to often issue more severe penalties than state courts. In Alabama state courts, opposing legal counsel often has wide discretion to offer plea bargains and a defendant often knows what sentence will result from a plea bargained case. Plea bargains are less effective in federal courts because penalties are greatly influenced by the United States' Sentencing Guidelines. While federal courts of law are not required to implement these standards, these guidelines are certainly considered when courts determine how to charge an individual.

How An Experienced Birmingham Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Both state and federal charges can result in substantial penalties. For individuals who face either charge, it is extremely beneficial to retain legal counsel to help navigate the various issues that can arise concerning these charges. Contact Eversole Law LLC immediately if you are faced with either state or federal charges.

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