The differences between federal and state laws can be confusing, particularly
if a defendant is uncertain of why he or she is being charged with a federal
crime instead of a state crime. Under the law, federal courts have jurisdiction
of cases that involve questions of the Constitution or other federal laws,
and cases that involve state or international borders. For example, a
criminal lawyer near Rockville might represent a defendant in state court
who has been accused of illegally possessing a small amount of marijuana.
However, that attorney may represent the individual in federal court if
he or she is suspected of manufacturing drugs or trafficking drugs across
state lines. Federal
criminal law also addresses cases that involve gun or firearm charges, such as possessing
an illegal firearm or trafficking firearms illegally.
Jurisdiction isn’t the only difference between federal court and
state court. In state court, a defendant can be released on bail or bond
with the financial services of a bondsman. However, bail bondsmen rarely
work with federal defendants. The judge will determine a bond amount with
conditions, which essentially creates a contract. If you do not arrive
at your court appearance, the government can demand the amount of the
bond from you and your co-signers, if any.