If you have been arrested for a crime in Georgia you may face charges in Georgia State courts, or in Federal court, or both. Federal and state courts have what is known as “concurrent jurisdiction” in many types of cases. This simply means that by committing a crime you have violated both federal and state law. Both the federal and state prosecutors may choose to charge you, or one may defer to the other. Federal crimes in GA have serious consequences and the manner in which the cases are defended in state versus federal court vary significantly. Georgia criminal attorney Matt Hube can defend you in both state and federal court in Georgia.
The federal government has jurisdiction over any crime that is committed on or against federal property or federal employees or officials. Just because the federal government has jurisdiction, however, does not mean that the State of Georgia cannot prosecute you as well. In fact, both may prosecute you if you plead guilty in one court system without obtaining an agreement that the other system will not pursue charges against you.
An essential duty of a Georgia criminal attorney is to review whether you have both state and federal criminal liability in any given case. Just because the federal government has not pursued charges against you does not mean they will not do so if you plead or are found guilty or not guilty in the state court system. The most common types of cases where both the federal and state governments will pursue charges against you for the same criminal act include firearms and weapons violations, sex offenses that involved transportation or solicitation across state lines, or through electronic means, and drug charges that included transportation across state lines or that meet other federal guidelines.
The way cases are defended in federal court is significantly different than the way they are defended in state court. The federal courts have their own system of rules and procedures that must be followed, or you may lose some of your most valuable defenses. The sentences in the federal system are also handled quite differently than in state court systems. In the federal system you are generally required to serve eighty-five percent of your sentence before you are eligible for early release. Even then, you are generally required to go through a post-release program that will require you to meet certain goals and deadlines. If you fail to meet these goals and deadlines you may be returned to incarceration.
The U.S. Constitution generally prohibits you from being charged twice for the same crime if the basis for the criminal charge arises out of the same actions or facts. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, has held that this prohibition against double jeopardy does not apply when the charges are from two separate government authorities – such as the state and federal judicial systems. This is why you may be charged in both.
If you have been arrested, or are under investigation for any criminal charge, contact Georgia criminal attorney Matt Hube for a confidential case evaluation. Understanding how federal crimes in GA interplay with Georgia state crimes is an essential part of good criminal defense. We will evaluate your case and tell you whether you should expect to fight your charges in both state and federal court, and advise you on the best way to protect yourself from additional charges. Contact us right now.