What are the Differences Between Federal and State Charges?

If you have been arrested for committing a crime, depending on the type and severity of the offense, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Typically, federal charges will result in a sentence that ranges from at least one year in a state prison up to the death penalty. Misdemeanor crimes, on the other hand, generally come with less than a year served in a county jail.

If you are charged with a felony crime in Illinois, the amount of time you serve and the fine you are charged will vary. First-degree murder is the most severe felony group followed by Class X felonies, which in some cases can land you upwards of 60 years in prison. After felony Class X, there are felony classes 1, 2, 3, and 4, with class 4 being the least severe felony charge you can get.

Depending on the nature of the crime you committed, you will be either charged through the federal system or the state system. Any Illinois criminal charge has the potential to negatively impact your life for the long-term. It is vitally important that when you are arrested in connection with a Chicago crime, you enlist the representation of the most effective and resourceful Chicago criminal defense attorney. Thomas C. Hallock is a trusted Chicago criminal defense lawyer with many years of experience representing and protecting the civil liberties and rights of individuals charged with both federal and state crimes.

How do Federal and State Charges Differ?

The biggest thing to understand when it comes to the type of charges you have is that when you are charged with a federal offense, the penalties are oftentimes much higher than they would be if you sustained state charges. Federal laws have jurisdiction over the entire country, while each state has its own set of laws and these laws only have jurisdiction in the state. If you have only violated state law, then you would be charged by the state. If you have committed a federal crime, a federal prosecutor on behalf of the federal government will be charging you.

The most common federal charges include:

  • Drugs
  • Firearms
  • Cases of fraud
  • White-collar criminal activity

There are crimes that the state outlaws which the federal government also makes illegal. If you commit one of these crimes in the state of Illinois but on federal property like a national park you will be charged federally. If you have committed multiple crimes in more than one state in the nation you will also be charged federally because your crimes were not isolated to only one state. There are also instances where a crime is committed and both the state and the federal government have jurisdiction. When this happens, it is up to prosecutors to determine where the case will be heard.

Meet With a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today

When it comes to your freedoms and your rights under the constitution, you need the very best representation. Thomas C. Hallock has extensive knowledge, understanding, and experience with both federal and state cases. Call Thomas C. Hallock today to meet with an aggressive Chicago criminal defense attorney and discuss your case during a completely free consultation at (312) 487-2441 for local residents or toll-free at (888) 412-3741.

HELPFUL TIPS FROM ME TO YOU

HOW TO PROPERLY EXERCISE YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

What You Should Do

  • Be respectful at all times.
  • Calmly record the interaction.
  • Ask if you are free to leave. If you do not ask, the officer may think—and the judge may agree—that the interaction was consensual.
  • If you are free to leave, go! If you are not free to leave, respectfully but firmly ask to speak with your lawyer.

What You Should Not Do

  • Do not physically resist arrest.
  • Do not become aggressive or confrontational.
  • Do not consent to a search. The Constitution does not apply if you consent.
  • Do not answer questions without first speaking with your attorney. Police are allowed to hold you for 48 hours and they may lie to you the entire time.

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