As with all court cases, most criminal charges get filed in the state courts both in the Jackson area and scattered across the rest of Kentucky. Any criminal charge, from a first-time DUI all the way up to a serious sex crime or a murder charge, filed in state court should be taken seriously.
However, there are also many charges which federal authorities decide to prosecute through the United States Courts. These charges often involve illegal conduct which takes place over state lines, like being involved either in a larger drug operation or in unlawful sexual activity over the internet. Crimes against federal officials or institutions with ties to the federal government, including the post office and banks that are backed by federal funds, are also prosecuted in federal courts.
Penalties for federal crimes can be severe and even stricter than the penalties imposed under a state's laws for similar behavior. Moreover, options for negotiating or pleading for a lenient sentence may be more limited in the federal system.
Finally, because they are different from the state courts, federal courts have their own set of rules and procedures. Those who use these courts are expected to know, and follow, these rules. If they do not, it can hurt their cases.
Someone who is under a federal investigation or who is facing a federal indictment will need to take steps to protect their legal rights and, ultimately, their liberty. For this reason, it may be wise for the accused to seek out the advice and experience of an attorney who has knowledge of federal criminal law and who handles cases in the nearby federal courts.
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