The following post was provided by Lauren Williams, legal writer for King Law Offices
Federal criminal charges stem from violations of legislation that has been enacted by the United States Congress. Of course, every resident in the United States is in a particular state, so adjudication of federal charges is predominantly done in federal courts located in state territories. However, state location does not impact court proceedings. Federal prosecution and sentencing guidelines differ from state guidelines on several points. Additionally, the United States federal government is sovereign to state governments and overlapping charges can become complicated, such as when federal authorities request state case dismissal if a state case impedes a federal prosecution.
There is no national distinction for specialty legal fields established by the federal government. Attorneys build expertise by practicing in a particular area and letting their professional track record serve as an indication of professional efficiency. However, the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification does certify attorneys who meet the requirements for professional recognition. Texas is one of the states that certifies legal representatives in general areas of law, such as criminal and criminal appellate. Additionally, the NBLSC certifies trial attorneys across the nation who have demonstrated expertise at handling trials on both levels.
Criminal defense qualifications in a federal case a very important for any defendant. Federal investigations normally involve significant manpower time and expense. As a result, all federal criminal charges become very serious matters for both sides in the case. Federal criminal statutes are constantly changing, and it is important to have an attorney who is knowledgeable of all new criminal statutes and effective methods of defending against them.
Many federal criminal charges are particularly common in certain regions of the country. Texas is a prime example of this phenomena, as federal drug trafficking and transportation charges often originate in the state of Texas. Immigration charges are also predominant in Texas because of its proximity to the Mexico border.
This is becoming a major issue and a burgeoning area of criminal law.
Texas is also home to a vibrant economy and is home to many wealthy corporations and individuals. Typical federal cases of tax evasion and various other white-collar business activities and government deceptions are common. There is also a possibility that illegal gun ownership could be an emerging area of criminal activity, as the United States government moves to control gun violence.
Sentencing guidelines in Texas also differ significantly from federal sentencing guidelines. States have a tiered prosecution system where all crimes all classified as misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are prosecuted in district courts and carry sentences of less than one year. Felonies are classified according to seriousness of the crime and sentencing is guided by classification level. Felonies carry anywhere from one year incarceration penalties to the death penalty for certain murder convictions.
Federal criminal prosecutions are exclusively felony charges and guidelines for sentencing are much stricter than states. The length of sentences can be enhanced and qualifying for parole can be much more difficult. Navigating a federal conviction requires solid experienced legal representation that can argue for a charge reduction or lighter sentence, including guaranteed parole or probation. The rules of evidence presentation for federal cases also differs from state cases , requiring a defense attorney with extensive knowledge of federal criminal defense law.