If the police say that you committed a crime, you might feel nervous or worried. You must contact a good lawyer and have them defend you. Otherwise, you may face a long prison sentence, a fine, or other penalties.
You should also know that if you commit certain crimes, or if the police say that you did, they will charge you in local courts. If they say that you committed other crimes, they might charge you at the federal level.
We will talk about federal and local courts and how they differ right now.
If the police say that you committed more egregious crimes, they might send you to federal court. Federal crimes usually mandate longer prison sentences. That’s because the US views them more seriously.
Federal courts exist to charge individuals with federal crimes. Those crimes might include white-collar crimes like embezzlement or money laundering. If you run a Ponzi scheme, for instance, that might land you in federal court.
If you commit certain sex crimes, you might end up in federal court. If you move prostitutes across state lines for sex, that’s sex trafficking, and the police or the feds might send you to federal court.
If you make or dispense child pornography, you can wind up in federal court. If you traffic large amounts of drugs, that will put you in federal court facing serious charges as well.
There’s one main thing you should understand about the federal court. It’s that federal courts deal with crimes that are federal-level offenses.
Local courts deal with many more issues than federal courts do. They might deal with civil matters or criminal ones.
If you end up in local court for a civil matter, maybe that’s because you’re suing someone for a personal injury claim. If you hurt yourself on their property, you can bring a civil lawsuit against them. If you sue a doctor for malpractice, you can do that in a local civil court.
If you divorce your spouse, that will play out in a local court. If you’re trying to get custody of your child or children, that’s a local court matter as well.
If you commit a sex crime like sexual assault, that’s a criminal matter that will play out in a local court. Some sex crimes involve federal matters, but that’s usually if you cross state lines while committing a sex crime.
If the police catch you with drugs, they’ll charge you in a local criminal court, assuming you had a relatively small amount for personal use. If they believe you had the intent to sell or purchase much larger amounts, that’s a criminal conspiracy, and that puts you in federal court more times than not.
If you have a real estate dispute, that’s a local court matter. Estate cases will also put you in a local court.
Further Differences Between Local And Federal Court
You should know one additional difference between federal and local courts. Federal courts can interpret the law. That’s not something that local courts can do.
On a related note, federal courts can determine a law’s constitutionality. A local court can’t do that. If the cops charge you with a crime, and you believe you didn’t break the law because the authorities violated your constitutional rights, you and your lawyer can argue the matter in a federal court.
This won’t happen in most cases. If you believe the police should not charge you with something because they violated your constitutional rights, though, you can hire a lawyer that handles these cases. They’re relatively rare, but if you get the right lawyer, they might get you off for that reason if they can argue your case compellingly.
Federal courts can also act like Congress in some ways. They can compel a plaintiff to produce evidence, or they can compel someone’s testimony, even if they’d prefer not to appear on the witness stand. If a federal court judge says they must testify, and they won’t do it, then they’re in contempt, and they can go to jail in some cases.
If you end up in federal court, you’re probably in serious trouble. You can face some damning charges in the local court, but at the federal level, you know you’ve attracted a lot more attention through your actions.
In either local or federal court, getting off means hiring a lawyer who knows the law and can argue convincingly on your behalf.
Arnab Dey is a passionate blogger who loves to write on different niches like technologies, dating, finance, fashion, travel, and much more.