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Criminal Defense Attorneys
Flint, Michigan

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What are the differences between state and federal criminal charges?

State vs federal criminal charges

Federal and state criminal charges vary depending on the type of crime you're accused of and the government agency bringing the charges against you. Any criminal charge can have a serious impact on your life, no matter how minor it may seem. If you're being investigated for a crime, it's important that you understand the potential legal consequences you could be facing.

Take your case seriously from the start by invoking your right to remain silent when interviewed by law enforcement. It's critical that you discuss your matter with an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You may not be aware of the type of criminal charge you could be facing or the jurisdiction your case may be tried in. Here are the differences between state and federal criminal charges:

Examples of state criminal charges

A criminal charge in Michigan is brought by the prosecuting attorney in the county where the arrest was made. An investigation that leads to a state criminal charge may be conducted by the Michigan State Police, a county sheriff's department, or a city or town police department.

The most common types of criminal charges the attorneys at Manley & Manley deal with are state charges. They generally include:

  • Drug offenses that fall within state jurisdiction
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
  • Domestic violence
  • Assault and battery
  • Burglary and theft that falls within state jurisdiction
  • Sex crimes that fall within state jurisdiction

A criminal charge in Michigan may vary depending on the severity of the crime. Less severe crimes are generally charged as misdemeanors. Jail time can range from up to 93 days to up to two years. A fine for a misdemeanor charge can be as high as $2,000.

You may be charged with a state felony for a more severe crime. In Michigan, felonies range from Class A (the most severe) to Class H (the least severe). For example, you could face up to life in prison if charged with a Class A felony. For a Class H felony, you could face jail time, probation, and electronic monitoring.

Examples of federal criminal charges

A federal criminal charge is a violation of the United States criminal code or a law passed by Congress and is brought by a U.S. attorney and tried in federal court. An investigation that leads to a federal charge may be conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), or another federal agency.

Federal crimes usually include:

  • Drug charges that cross state lines
  • Fraud
  • Firearm charges
  • White collar crimes, such as embezzlement and tax evasion
  • Conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government
  • Counterfeiting official documents and currency
  • Sex crimes that cross state lines
  • Extortion and threats for personal gain

Like state criminal charges, federal charges can also be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. Federal misdemeanor charges range from Class A (most severe) to Class C (least severe). If convicted of a Class A federal misdemeanor, you could face six months to one year in prison and pay a fine of up to $100,000.

Federal felonies range from Class A (most severe) to Class E (least severe). If convicted of a federal Class A felony, you could face life in prison or be sentenced to death.

Experience matters

Whether you're facing state or federal criminal charges, it's critical that you speak to an attorney who has a vast amount of legal knowledge and courtroom experience defending clients in district and federal courts. Speak to the legal team at Manley & Manley in Flint, Michigan. We handle a wide range of criminal cases from DUI charges to white collar crimes.

During your free and confidential case evaluation, we'll sit down with you to discuss the details pertaining to your arrest. We'll also devise a winning legal strategy to help you fight the charges in court. Contact us online or call us to find out how we can help you.

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