What’s the difference between federal and state courts?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2020 | Criminal Defense, Federal Crimes

In the United States, there are two types of courts: state courts and federal courts. If you are accused of a crime and you need to defend yourself, you will need to appear in one of these courts. In most cases, a defendant will be tried in state court, especially if the crime they are accused of is a relatively minor one such as a broken contract, a family dispute or a traffic violation.

However, in cases involving the violation of the U.S. Constitution or federal laws, the party will need to defend themselves in federal court. In some situations, both federal and state courts have jurisdiction. This means that the party will have the opportunity to choose which court they want to go to. The following is an overview of the key differences between state and federal courts.

Federal courts hear cases involving federal law

A crime such as a robbery will be punished based on the laws in that state because state laws determine the elements of the crime and sentencing for robbery. However, if a crime violates federal law, you’ll probably need to defend yourself in federal court.

There are state and federal court hierarchies

If your case is being heard in a state court, you have the option to ask the highest state court to hear the case. Similarly, in a federal court case, a party may ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

If you have been accused of a federal crime in Texas, it is important that you understand how you can successfully defend yourself to avoid charges.