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If you are facing charges for a federal offense, it is normal to feel frightened and confused, especially if you do not fully understand the charges you are facing. The federal justice system differs vastly from the state systems most people are used to and accused individuals may find themselves having to go before federal prosecutors who have collected evidence from federal law enforcement agents.

To make matters worse, the federal court system allows grand juries to conduct more extensive investigations into criminal matters and punishments are generally harsher for federal offenses.

Due to the complex nature of the federal legal structure, it would be wise to retain the services of a Birmingham federal criminal lawyer if you are facing charges for a federal offense.

Federal Courts vs. State Courts

State courts have far more jurisdiction than federal courts, so most cases involving ordinary individuals are tried in state courts. The constitution also limits the types of cases federal courts can hear, so they tend to have a lighter caseload than state courts. Under most circumstances, federal courts will only hear cases that involve:

  • The United States as a plaintiff or defendant
  • Cases between citizens from different states (if the case involves a high monetary amount)
  • Violations of federal laws or the Constitution
  • Copyright laws
  • Patent laws
  • Maritime laws
  • Bankruptcy laws

These are not the only types of cases handled by federal courts but are some of the most common that Birmingham federal criminal attorneys handle. Certain types of state offenses, such as robbery or drug trafficking are handled by federal courts if the individual allegedly committed the same crime in multiple states.

Filing a Federal Criminal Appeal in Birmingham

Federal appeals are handled differently than normal trials. After an initial trial, an appellate court may elect to review the legal briefs and transcripts of the initial court proceedings. Based on these documents, the appellate court will look for any potential errors. If the court believes these errors jeopardized the integrity of the case or violated federal laws, it may overturn the initial verdict or choose to dismiss the case altogether.

If a convicted individual intends to file a federal appeal, they will almost certainly need the guidance of a skilled attorney. The federal appeal process can be exhaustive, and most of the time, federal courts will not incorporate new witness testimony into their ruling. However, they may consider new arguments before issuing a ruling.

Talk to a Birmingham Federal Criminal Lawyer

Speaking with a Birmingham federal criminal lawyer with experience is necessary when a person facing federal criminal charges. Federal offenses are different from those tried by the state, and if an accused individual does not understand the laws governing them, there is a high possibility they will not be able to defend themselves. The federal justice system uses a unique set of sentencing guidelines and accused persons may need the help of an attorney if they wish to file an appeal.

If you are facing charges of a federal crime, you should take any action necessary to defend your rights in court. The federal justice system can be overwhelming, and without representation, many accused individuals are left at the mercy of the court and prosecutors. This is an unfavorable outcome, and the right attorney may be able to help you seek the best possible outcome for your case. Talk to a Birmingham federal criminal lawyer to learn more.