The Difference Between State and Federal Courts

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Arizona White Collar charges Attorneys

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Both federal and state governments have their own court systems. While federal courts deal more with cases on a national level, state courts handle more local cases. Our Arizona criminal defense lawyers dive deeper into the differences and go into which court you may be asked to appear in if you are charged with a crime in Arizona. Contact us today for more information.

Court Jurisdiction of Cases

  • State courts have a broader scope and handle criminal and civil cases that violate state laws. Examples include traffic violations (DUIs, excessive speeding and endangerment, etc.), robberies, assault charges, kidnapping, personal injury, tort cases, contract cases, and other probate issues.
  • Federal courts handle fewer cases and those heard by the court involve cases that violate the U.S. Constitution and federal law established by the United States Congress. Federal Courts will also hear bankruptcy cases, transportation of illegal drugs into the country / across state borders, and crimes committed within federal property (post offices, national parks, military bases, etc.).

Which Agency Initiates Criminal Charges

  • If charged with a state crime, the local police agency handling the crime (such as in Phoenix or Tucson) will be the entity initiating the charge(s) against the defendant; generally after investigation of the crime concludes.
  • If a defendant is charged with a federal crime, a federal agency (such as the FBI) will often be the one initiating the charges. However, state officials can also file federal charges after local police have initiated an investigation that finds the defendant has violated federal law. The state level usually handles a domestic abuse charge; but that defendant can also violate federal law if found with an illegal firearm in their possession during the investigation.

Retain an Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney if You’re Facing Charges

Accused of a crime in Arizona? Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Lerner & Rowe Law Group for a FREE consultation. Our legal team has experience representing cases in both state and federal courts throughout Arizona. We also offer affordable payment plans, and are available 24/7 to take your call at 602-667-7777.