There are hundreds of criminal codes that set out the criminal acts under state or federal law. A person who has been arrested, charged, or indicted under state law should consider private counsel, particularly with more serious crimes, which are called felonies. The same also applies to all federal cases; in a federal case, a potential criminal defendant is sent a target letter and, if not resolved by criminal plea, the target is indicted by a grand jury. Federal crimes usually carry very lengthy prison sentences.
State criminal courts handle the vast majority of criminal cases charged by law enforcement, including everything from minor crimes to major felonies, such as murder, rape, child molestation, and shaken baby cases, to name a few that grab the daily news’ headlines. There are hundreds of state-level crimes. However, at the state, there is also a significant focus by police, prosecutors, and courts on drug and dealing, domestic violence, gun crimes, and gang activity.
Within the federal system, there is usually a significant focus by their law enforcement officers on crimes of public interest or that are deemed to be harming our society; at present, these include drug trafficking, firearms, hate crimes, gangs, and governmental corruption cases. Further, many federal cases involve multiple defendants and are worked up over a longer period of time. Conspiracy is also a more commonly charged federal crime. Many criminal acts may be charged in a state or federal criminal court.
By the state and federal constitution, criminal cases have a higher burden of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, for each element of the crime set forth in the criminal statutes. And generally, there is the right to a have appointed counsel and a jury trial (with higher level crimes). The key difference from civil law, however, is the penalty, which is generally loss of freedom and other civil rights by imprisonment versus monetary compensation or an injunction in civil litigation.
Under both state and federal law, white collar crime is sometimes forgotten about, whereby the person charged is alleged to have stolen money from a company or investors or stockholders; these cases may be charged in state or federal courts. These cases normally have expansive civil litigation pending as well. Such take experts and take much more time to prepare for defense at trial than a typical criminal case and not all lawyers handle these cases.
Under state or federal crimes, many citizens do not understand that the constitutional right against self-incrimination means a civil litigant may refuse to answer in routine civil litigation matters, if the question could elicit testimony that leads to a criminal charge (such as asking a party to a divorce about questionable accounting methods and practices in his or her business because this could lead to a criminal tax fraud charge by the IRS). Thus, even in a civil proceeding, you may need to consult a criminal lawyer, and maybe even have a criminal lawyer present with you in the civil courtroom.
Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle criminal cases of all types through the criminal courts to which its attorneys are admitted and also criminal appeals to Indiana State and federal appellate (7th Circuit) courts, along with cases in the United States Supreme Court.
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