Understanding the Jurisdiction of State and Federal Courts
Posted By The Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass || 30-May-2013
Criminal cases are brought against you by the government if you are believed to have violated a specific law or laws. There are both state and federal laws governing your conduct, and there are state and federal prosecutors and courts that handle criminal cases. The following information will help you understand the jurisdiction of the state and federal courts systems:
What Types of Cases Are Handled by the Courts?
Federal courts handle crimes under statutes enacted by Congress. Common examples include drug charges and white-collar crimes. Federal courts also handle traffic violations and many other misdemeanors. The state court system handles state constitutional issues and crimes addressed by state legislation, such as driving under the influence and assault. Cases may be handled by either system if the crime is punishable under both federal and state law or if there is an issue involving the United States Constitution.
Can I Be Tried at Both the Federal and State Levels?
Yes. Many people believe that the Fifth Amendment’s protection against double jeopardy ensures that they can only be tried in federal court or state court, not both. However, this is not the case. There are several exceptions to double jeopardy, including one known as separate sovereigns—referring to the separate legal authority of the federal and state governments. This means you can be tried and convicted for one crime by both state and federal courts if there are applicable laws at both levels.
Have you been charged with a state or federal crime? At the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass, we have more than 20 years of combined experience handling crimes ranging from fraud to gun charges. We handle both state and federal criminal defense cases and work hard to defend your rights. Call us at to learn more today.