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The Differences Between Federal & State Criminal Charges in Florida


Florida's criminal justice system can be daunting, especially when dealing with the differences between federal and state criminal charges. Understanding these distinctions is crucial to ensuring the best possible outcome for your case. In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between federal and state criminal charges in Florida and provide valuable tips on how to navigate these complexities.

1. Jurisdiction: Who Has the Power to Prosecute?

The main difference between federal and state criminal charges lies in jurisdiction, or the authority to prosecute a crime. Federal criminal charges are brought by the United States government, while state criminal charges are brought by the state of Florida. Generally, federal crimes involve offenses that cross state lines, occur on federal property, or violate federal laws. State crimes, on the other hand, typically involve offenses that occur within Florida's borders and violate state laws.

2. Investigative Agencies: Who Is Involved in Your Case?

Another key difference between federal and state criminal charges is the involvement of different investigative agencies. Federal criminal investigations are typically conducted by federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). State criminal investigations, on the other hand, are usually conducted by local or state law enforcement agencies, such as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or local police departments.

3. Court Systems: Where Will Your Case Be Heard?

Federal and state criminal charges are also heard in different court systems. Federal cases are tried in federal district courts, which are organized into circuits. In Florida, there are three federal districts: the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts. State cases, on the other hand, are tried in Florida's state court system, which includes county courts, circuit courts, and the Florida Supreme Court.

4. Sentencing Guidelines: How Are Penalties Determined?

When it comes to sentencing, federal and state criminal cases are subject to different guidelines. Federal sentencing guidelines are established by the United States Sentencing Commission and provide judges with a range of recommended sentences based on the severity of the crime and the defendant's criminal history. State sentencing guidelines, on the other hand, are determined by Florida's Criminal Punishment Code, which assigns a numerical point value to each offense and considers factors such as the defendant's prior record and the circumstances of the crime.

5. Legal Representation: Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Navigating the complexities of federal and state criminal charges in Florida requires the expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled lawyer will be well-versed in the nuances of both federal and state laws and can help you understand the implications of your charges, develop a strong defense strategy, and advocate for your rights in court.

At The Law Office of Joel Defabio, we understand the intricacies of federal and state criminal charges in Florida and are committed to providing our clients with the highest level of legal representation. With over 30 years of experience in criminal defense, we have the knowledge and resources to effectively represent clients facing a wide range of criminal charges, from drug offenses and white-collar crimes to violent crimes and DUIs.

If you or a loved one is facing federal or state criminal charges in Florida, don't hesitate to contact The Law Office of Joel Defabio today for a free consultation. Our team of dedicated professionals is ready to help you navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

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