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How Does Federal Court Differ from State Court?

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.

Criminal Law in Maryland

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