While most criminal cases in our area are prosecuted at the state level, some offenses fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Criminal cases at the federal level proceed similarly to state-level cases, but there are also many differences that could impact the outcome of your case.
If you are facing federal charges, the advice and counsel of a seasoned Bellevue federal criminal lawyer could be crucial. Assistance from a criminal defense attorney who has experience in federal court could provide you with the legal firepower you need to build an effective defense strategy.
Which Offenses Are Typically Prosecuted at the Federal Level?
There are many circumstances under which the federal government may take over a criminal case from state prosecutors. The most common reason for this is because an alleged offense occurred in more than one state.
Some federal crimes involve a person physically crossing state lines during the commission of the alleged crime. For example, if a defendant is accused of kidnapping a person in Bellevue and transporting them to Kansas, they would likely be prosecuted in federal court rather than at the state-level.
Other federal crimes – particularly white-collar and computer-based crimes – may center on criminal actions across multiple states. For instance, if someone is arrested for accessing illegal funds via the Internet, the electronic transmission of that material from a person in one state to another may put the offense under federal jurisdiction.
Finally, any criminal offense that occurs on federally owned property or which involves an alleged violation of federal immigration laws would be prosecuted as a federal offense. A local attorney at Berry Law can offer further clarification about how federal offenses are classified and what circumstances might affect that classification.
Unique Aspects of Federal Criminal Prosecution in Bellevue
Federal cases may be investigated by a wide range of authorities, including the FBI, the DEA, ICE, and the ATF. Federal cases are pursued by Assistant U.S. Attorneys, whereas state-level cases are prosecuted by a District Attorney for the area where the alleged offense occurred.
Perhaps most importantly, the penalties associated with federal convictions are typically much more severe than those at the state level. Someone convicted of a federal offense may serve that in federal prison rather than at a state prison.
Lastly, because state governments and federal governments are considered separate legal entities, the legal protection against “Double Jeopardy” guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution may not apply in certain circumstances. In other words, someone acquitted of a crime in state court could still be prosecuted for that offense at the federal level, and vice versa.
Seek Help from an Experienced Bellevue Federal Criminal Attorney
Being accused of a federal crime is a serious matter. The degree of prosecution you may face will be unlike anything you might encounter in a state-level court, and you may also have to deal with enhanced penalties upon conviction.
No matter what charges you are facing, a Bellevue federal criminal lawyer can work tirelessly to protect your rights and best interests. Call Berry Law today to set up a confidential consultation.