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Criminal Defense Attorney, Fort Worth, Dallas, Texas, Felony Charge, Assault The Mullen Law Office



The difference between State and Federal criminal cases depends on location of where the offense occurred. Examples such as robbing a bank is considered a federal crime where as drunk driving would be considered a State crime, unless a person was pulled over on Federal property, then this would become a Federal case not a State case. 

Many drug cases can be charged as a Federal case or State case. An example would be that the drugs were bought and sold in the same state, this would be considered a State case. However, if the drugs were bought in one state and then sold in another state this would be considered a Federal case because it would be considered a conspiracy to transport.

Also, the individual who was arrested would know if the case is a Federal crime or State crime by which authorities who had arrested him. If they were arrested by the federal authorities (DEA, FBI, ATF or Customs) and they were taken to a federal detention center, then it is most likely the case will be in a federal court. If they are arrested by the local authorities and taken to a city or county jail then the case will probably be in a district or county court.

Cases that are usually prosecuted in the federal courts are as follows:

* Smuggling controlled substance 
     * Large quantity narcotic conspiracy cases 
     * Bank robbery 
     * Crimes committed on federal land 
     * Crimes committed in one state with flight to another state such as drug trafficking and
     * Crimes against children (child abduction, domestic and international parental
     * Organized crimes 
     * Weapons

The procedure for a Federal Case is as follows:

* Arrestee is taken to a federal detention center 
* Arrestee is photographed and fingerprinted 
* Arrestee is allowed to make a telephone call

* There is no Bail Schedule in a federal case.

* The arrestee is taken before a United States Magistrate for bail to be set. This appearance must be no later than the very next court day from the arrest, but it is often the same day of the arrest.

* At the courthouse, the arrestee is interviewed by a Pretrial Services Officer who will conduct an investigation into the arrestee's background, including employment, financial, family and community ties. The PSO will then make a recommendation to the Magistrate on the matter of bail. Facts about the case will not be discussed in the investigation.

* Under the Federal Bail Reform Act, a person considered to be either a flight risk or a danger to the community can be detained with no bail.

* Danger to the community is commonly found in cases involving weapons, organized crime, gang-related activity or persons with an extensive criminal record.

* If the Magistrate orders detention (no bail), the arrestee can appeal to a District Court Judge. 

Pre-Trial Stages
* At the initial appearance before the Magistrate in federal court, a date will be set for a preliminary hearing, but, in practice, they are rarely held.

* Between the time of the initial appearance and the preliminary hearing, the United States Attorney will present the case to the Grand Jury and if there is enough evidence the individual will receive an indictment. Once the accused is indicted, the right to a preliminary hearing is negated and the case proceeds directly to the District Court for trial.

* In federal court, discovery is not required until much later in the case. Under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the prosecutor is not required to provide witness statements until after the witness has testified in the trial.

* Both the United States Code and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines control sentencing. Under the Guidelines, a federal judge is guided in the sentence according to a formula, which is a combination of the offense of conviction and the defendant's criminal history. Once the offense of conviction and the prior record is determined, the judge uses a chart to determine the sentence that must be imposed. Since there are only a few ways to get a judge to depart from sentencing guidelines, it is important to be represented by an attorney who is thoroughly familiar with federal court procedures.

If you have been accused of a federal crime in the State of Texas please call or email to schedule a free consultation with one of our firms experienced federal defense attorneys.

Attorney at Law

3149 Lackland Road #102
Fort Worth, TX 76116


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Copyright 2004 LISA MULLEN, Attorney at Law ~ All Rights Reserved