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Important differences between federal and state criminal cases

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2020 | Drug Charges |

If you face criminal charges, they may come from either the state or federal level. Most Louisiana crimes are also punishable as federal crimes. However, the state often handles far more cases than federal prosecutors. If there is a potential for your case to go to federal court, it may help you to discover how each level of government handles criminal cases. 

You will find that there are some significant differences between the way a state investigates and prosecutes a case and the way the federal government handles the process. These differences can impact how you defend yourself and the decisions you make moving forward in your case. 

Federal cases 

The ABA Journal explains that federal prosecutors and law enforcement have a lot of funding to help them as they investigate and prosecute your case. They have access to more resources as well, including advanced testing equipment and other forensic tools. They tend to move more quickly through an investigation because federal prosecutors often will not bring a case to court without having a complete investigation with all the evidence. 

Federal prosecutors also have a lot of choice when it comes to taking on cases. They can decide which cases to prosecute. This means they will generally only go after those concerning something major or cases they are most likely to win. 

State cases 

State prosecutors and law enforcement have far fewer funds. They lack many of the tools and resources the federal government has. They have a larger caseload and take longer to gather evidence. It is not uncommon for the prosecution to charge you with a crime and then add more charges later. In addition, because they have more cases and move more slowly, you may not get all the evidence in your case until the last minute, which can affect your ability to put together your defense.