If you are facing criminal charges, the whole process can feel overwhelming. This is why it is so important to have a knowledgeable Ohio criminal defense attorney on your side who can help you understand what to expect and prepare the best defense possible.
One commonly confusing aspect of the criminal process is whether someone is being charged in a state or federal court. These are distinctly different court systems and carry different rules and sentencing guidelines. Here is a look at some of the most important differences between the state and federal court systems.
Jurisdiction is Different
Both federal and state prosecutors can charge someone for the same type of crime, but there are specific offenses that only fall under federal jurisdiction. These are offenses that are prosecuted by federal agencies. These may involve crimes against the government, like federal tax evasion or fraud. They can also be crimes that were committed on federally owned property or crimes involving crossing state lines (interstate) or even international borders.
A prosecutor in federal court has a different title than an Ohio state prosecutor. Federal prosecutors are called Assistant United States Attorneys, or AUSAs for short. In most cases, they are more heavily involved with the investigative phase and whether or not a case should go forward. When a federal prosecutor files charges, it is a sign that he or she thinks there is enough evidence for a conviction. This is different than when a prosecutor receives the case after a defendant has been arrested and charged, and now he or she has to build the case.
Not everyone can represent a client in a federal court. Only attorneys who have been admitted to practice before a federal court, specifically the one in which the case is being heard, are able to represent you. Not all criminal attorneys in Ohio practice in federal court.
A state court jury is made up of people who live in the county and area where the case is being heard. A federal jury is made up of people who live in the federal district. This means a larger jury pool and it can be more diverse.
Conditions of bail are different in state and federal cases. When someone is arrested in conjunction with a state case, that person can pay the funds or post a bond. With federal cases, there are usually specific conditions of release. These may include reporting to pretrial services and following strict rules, or even to be fitted with a GPS ankle monitor.
Contact an Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in an Ohio state or federal court, do not attempt to handle it on your own. Contact the VanNoy Firm to schedule an initial consultation.