Criminal Defense Attorneys
Flint, Michigan

(810) 238-0500

Difference Between State and Federal Charges

Flint, MI criminal defense attorneys Manley & Manley provides a closer look at the justice system

Criminal charges for different crimes are sorted into different categories. Some are classified as misdemeanor or felony charges. Criminal charges are also divided into state and federal charges. While it might not seem like a big distinction, there are important differences between state and federal charges if you've been arrested in Michigan.

The biggest difference involves jurisdiction over state versus federal charges. Federal prosecutors and the federal government prosecute cases involving people charged with federal crimes. Michigan prosecutes defendants who have broken state laws. Importantly, the penalties linked to federal crimes generally are more severe than those handed down by state courts. If you are facing federal charges or you are under investigation by a federal agency, you will need your case handled by someone with a depth of experience defending such cases. You'll need someone who comprehensively understands the federal court system.

The criminal defense attorneys at Manley & Manley have experience handling cases in state and federal courts. They are comfortable presenting evidence on behalf of clients in both types of courtrooms and are well-versed in the different laws.

What are common state criminal charges in Michigan?

State criminal charges in Michigan are the most common. They cover the vast majority of crimes people are charged with, including:

  • Domestic violence
  • Drug crimes
  • Driving under influence of alcohol (DUI)

What are common federal criminal charges?

Some federal criminal charges are similar to state charges, but whether you're charged with a federal or state crime might hinge on where the incident took place. If someone commits a crime on federal property or in more than one state, that crime will often be classified as a federal crime. For example, an assault generally falls under state laws. But if you are charged with assaulting someone in a national park, you have committed a crime on federal property and will face federal charges. Similarly, if someone robs a bank whose deposits are insured by a federal agency the government may file federal charges.

According to the United States Sentencing Commission, the most common federal criminal cases involve:

  • Drug Charges
  • Fraud
  • Firearms Charges
  • White Collar Crimes

What are other differences between state and federal charges in Michigan?

There are many other subtle differences between state and federal charges in Michigan. Sometimes, the state and federal government have power over the same case. In such situations, prosecutors decide whether to prosecute the case in state or federal court. Otherwise, the differences for state charges and federal charges generally include:

Jurisdiction District Court Federal Court
Investigators Local, state police FBI, DEA
Prosecutors Prosecuting Attorney U.S. Attorneys
Judges Appointed by Governor, subject to election Appointed for life by U.S. President, confirmed by U.S. Senate

Why should I hire an attorney from Manley Manley to handle my case?

Many lawyers might seem the same, and you might be tempted to hire the cheapest one available. But it's critical that your case is managed by a lawyer with a vast knowledge of the state and federal system. You need someone who not only has a great depth of understanding of the difference between state and federal charges, but has handled cases in both court systems. By hiring an attorney from Manley & Manley, you're making an investment in your future.

Whether you are facing state or federal charges, you can rely on someone who has handled the most complicated criminal cases. Call (810) 238-0500 or contact us online. Your consultation is free of charge.

Our firm offers ClientCredit, which has partnered with Affirm to allow you to pay your retainer over time.

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