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What’s the Difference Between a Federal and a State Charge?

What’s the Difference Between a Federal and a State Charge?If you have been arrested, it’s important to know whether you will be charged in state court or federal court. Usually, the local police departments and Sheriff’s offices handle state charges and other crimes are investigated by federal agencies such as the FBI and DEA.

However, there are cases where you may be arrested by local law enforcement but charged in federal court. It’s important to understand the differences and to be represented by a criminal defense attorney who is experienced and skilled so they can protect your rights and defend your freedom.

Who Has Jurisdiction?

Whether you are charged and tried in federal court or state court will depend on the law that was broken. Typically, federal laws are linked to a federal issue or national interest. If you are charged by the state, your case will be held in circuit court, investigated by the local or state police, and prosecuted by the state prosecuting attorney’s office.

There are three levels in the state court system in Illinois. Most criminal offenses are tried within the Circuit Court, which is divided into 23 judicial circuits in Illinois. These are also known as trial courts where civil and criminal cases are heard. Circuit judges are elected for a six-year term and must run for reelection every six years.

If you are tried in federal court, your case will be investigated by one of the federal agencies such as the FBI, DEA, or ATF. The case will be prosecuted by U.S. attorneys and heard by a judge that was appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

Typically, a criminal case will be heard in either the state or federal court. However, there is the potential that a criminal charge falls under both state and federal law. In this case, there is concurrent jurisdiction, which means you can be tried in both state and federal courts for the same offense.

It’s important to note that the Constitution prohibits a person from being tried twice for the same crime, also called double jeopardy. However, there is a separate sovereign exception that allows for concurrent jurisdiction.

Additionally, the law allows for dual sovereignty to be applied for successive prosecution in two states for the same offense. However, while concurrent jurisdiction is allowed under the law, it is relatively rare.

Other factors that help determine whether the trial will be in state court or federal court include the location of the crime. If the crime occurred in an area that is clearly within Illinois jurisdiction, it could be charged and heard in a state court simply for that reason. Crimes committed outside of state jurisdiction, or in an area designated as federal jurisdiction, may be charged in federal court by default.

Common State and Federal Charges

Common State and Federal ChargesState criminal charges occur within Illinois boundaries and violate state laws that regulate behavior. While there are numerous criminal charges that can be brought, the charges can include domestic violence, drug crimes, driving under the influence, burglary, and murder.

Some federal criminal charges are similar to state charges. For example, drug crimes that occur on federal property can be prosecuted in federal court. If the crime took place in more than one state, the charge can be prosecuted in federal court. For example, if drug sales occurred in Indiana and Illinois, you may be facing federal charges that come with stiffer penalties.

Title 18 of the U.S. Code lists hundreds of federal criminal charges. Typically, federal laws address Federal interests, such as crimes on federal property, tax fraud, or those that involve crossing state lines. For this reason, there are fewer criminal cases prosecuted in federal court than in state court. Some of the more common federal crimes include

The penalties for state-level and federal-level crimes vary widely and depend on several factors. These include the details of the case, the charge, whether there were aggravating circumstances, and if the offender had any previous criminal convictions. Sentencing guidelines are established for both state and federal charges.

Usually, charges and sentencing at the state level have a lower potential for severe punishment than those at the federal level.

Contact Bruno Law Offices Today for a Free Consultation

If you were charged with a crime, you want the best defense possible to protect your rights and defend your freedom. The Champaign-Urbana criminal defense attorneys of Bruno Law Offices have skills and experience representing clients in state and federal court.

You need an aggressive defense to maximize your chance of securing a desirable outcome. Our legal team was founded in 1980 and concentrates exclusively on serious criminal and DUI cases. We understand that we meet our clients during difficult times. So, our focus is on defending against serious charges and managing the crisis.

Your first consultation is always free. Contact our office today at (217) 328-6000 or online to schedule your free consultation. We are passionate about defending your rights and protecting your freedom.


How to Beat a DUI

You thought you were driving just fine. The traffic cop currently on your tail begs to differ. You completely flubbed the field sobriety test, and you just blew a .09 BAC on the Breathalyzer. Now what? You’re in big trouble, and it will go from bad to worse very quickly unless you get the highly skilled and experienced attorneys from Bruno Law Offices on your side. If you haven’t called them already, stop what you’re doing and call them right now at (217) 328-6000.

Can I Really Contest a DUI Charge?

Your driving privileges, your job, and your liberty are now in serious jeopardy. This is no time for amateurs. The prosecutor brings – and wins — hundreds of DUI cases every month. A substantial percentage of those wins are obtained against first-time DUI offenders. That doesn’t have to happen to you. There are ways to beat a DUI charge or to negotiate lesser charges and penalties but trying to do it yourself is like taking a knife to a gunfight. Your Bruno Law Offices attorney can bring the heavy artillery and level the playing field, so you have a chance to contain the fallout from this unfortunate incident before it costs you everything.

The first thing you need to know is that, under Illinois law, you are presumed innocent, and the prosecutor has to prove every element of the DUI charge against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If your attorney from [firm name] helps you prevent the prosecutor from making his case, you can be acquitted of the charges—that is, found not guilty. So how, exactly, do the attorneys at Bruno Law Offices convince the judge or jury that there is reasonable doubt about whether the prosecutor made his case? While every matter is unique and is decided on its own specific facts, the attorneys at Bruno Law Offices have helped many clients in similar circumstances. We have found the following strategies helpful if the situation warrants these strategies.

  • Challenge the basis for the traffic stop. A police officer must have a reasonable basis to pull you over and detain you. That means the officer has to identify specific behavior that shows you violated a traffic law or some other law. While weaving from side to side in your own lane without actually leaving the lane may look bad, it is not illegal. If you can demonstrate that you did not commit any traffic violation before the officer pulled you over, the court may find the arrest unlawful and refuse to admit any evidence obtained during the arrest.
  • Attack the reliability of the field sobriety test. In many cases, the officer cites your “failing” the field sobriety test as the basis for demanding that you submit to a breathalyzer test. The truth is, there are some people who couldn’t pass the field sobriety test even when stone-cold sober. Numerous factors influence how an individual driver performs when asked to stand on one leg or touch his nose with his finger. A driver suffering from an injury, obesity, diabetes, old age, or on heavy medication might appear to be intoxicated when doing these “tricks” on the side of the road with other cars zipping by at high speeds. If you can prove the officer misjudged your condition and therefore should not have made you submit to the breathalyzer test, any results obtained from that test may be excluded from evidence.
  • Contest the validity of the breathalyzer results. Breathalyzer units are sophisticated but sensitive devices. Each manufacturer establishes its own protocols for operating the unit so that the results may be considered valid. If the unit operator does not faithfully adhere to those requirements, the unit will produce inaccurate readings. The Illinois Supreme Court recognized more than 30 years ago that breathalyzer tests are not “flawless.” Where a variance of .01 percent BAC one way or the other could determine whether you’re found guilty or innocent, it’s worth it to rigorously challenge how both the unit and the operator performed. If the court excludes an adverse breathalyzer result from the case, the prosecutor may have to dismiss the charges against you.
  • Undermine the results of any blood tests. Like the breathalyzer unit discussed above, the equipment used to measure the alcohol concentration in the driver’s bloodstream must be properly calibrated and operated in full compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions to reliably produce valid results. If the prosecutor cannot prove that the blood test results are scientifically valid, the court may not admit the evidence, and the case is over.

Contact Us

If you find yourself arrested for or charged with a DUI, don’t panic. You don’t have to go through this alone. Call Bruno Law Offices at (217) 328-6000 today to set up your initial consultation with one of our DUI defense lawyers. You can’t afford not to.


Four Chicago residents accused of hate crime

Four people were charged with hate crimes, kidnapping, aggravated battery, and aggravated lawful restraint on Thursday, January 5 in relation to a video posted on Facebook that showed them assaulting a man.

Authorities said they found the disoriented victim wandering the streets and were able to surmise that the assault had gone on for hours. The suspects can be seen in the video cursing white people and President-elect Donald Trump.

According to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, the 18-year-old man from Chicago was singled out not because he was a white man but because he was mentally disabled. The parents of the victim told police that he was missing on Monday, January 2 and they later received text messages from people who claimed they had kidnapped him. The victim was with classmates who turned out to be attackers, and the victim initially went with them by his own volition, police said. The video showed the victim had a gaping wound on his head and a person pushing the victim with his or her foot was also shown in the video.

Our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices provide legal services to our clients in Champaign and other areas in Illinois. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our offices today at (217) 328-6000.


Former congressman Aaron Schock pleads not guilty to felony charges

Thirty-five-year-old former Representative Aaron Schock (Republican of Illinois) has maintained his innocence ever since federal prosecutors charged him with 24-count indictment in November, pleading not guilty last Monday, December 12 to two dozen counts of felony corruption, including wire and mail fraud, stealing government funds, filing false tax returns, and falsifying federal campaign forms.

Federal prosecutors accused Schock of using his campaign funds and congressional office to purchase things for himself.

Timothy Bass, one of such prosecutors, is apprehensive about allowing Schlock to continue using his campaign funds to pay for his attorney’s fees and other “unsupervised expenditures”, saying, “These campaign funds are potential victims of the crimes charged.

If you are facing prosecution for a criminal charge in the Champaign-Urbana area of Illinois, or other areas in the state, do not hesitate to seek legal representation from our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices by calling us today at (217) 328-6000 as soon as you can. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team today.


Fourth suspect in U.S. Cellular in Dixon robbery arrested

A fourth suspect, in connection to an armed robbery at a store of telecommunications company U.S. Cellular in Dixon, Illinois, was taken into police custody.

The robbery happened at the Keul Road store on Thursday, November 10 around 7:30 p.m. Reports showed that three individuals who were wearing masks and who were carrying handguns infiltrated the store and ordered the store’s employees to file into a back room, where they would be tied up. After securing the employees, the robbers made off with several items and cash.

On Tuesday, November 29, 23-year-old Anthony Jamerson surrendered to the Dixon Police Department. He was charged with multiple counts of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated armed robbery, and unlawful restraint.

In order to convict you of criminal offenses, prosecutors in Champaign-Urbana will need to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that you had both a specific intent and knowledge of the offense that you have been charged with. Get in touch with our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices by calling our offices today at (217) 328-6000.


Man charged with drug possession can face up to 30 years in jail

Juvon Mays, 35, is facing up to 30 years of imprisonment on charges of possession with intent to deliver both heroin and cannabis. The Champaign, Illinois man will face sentencing by Judge Heidi Ladd on Wednesday, December 21.

Mays’ trial began on Monday, November 14. During a raid on the house where Mays was arrested, police investigators managed to recover one gun behind a house Mays was exiting; two guns near a garage at the same house; and a bag of heroin, which reportedly weighed 4 grams, under a car located about three houses down. No guns or drugs were found on Mays’ person.

We at the Bruno Law Offices are prepared to protect you and your legal rights in court if you employ our legal representation for your criminal defense case in Champaign or another area of Illinois. Contact us today at (217) 328-6000 to speak with a qualified member of our legal team about your situation.


Former U.S. congressman Aaron Schock receives indictment on two criminal counts

Thirty-five-year-old former United States Representative Aaron Schock (Republican of Illinois) once had a $5,000 chandelier attached to his government office, cementing the rumors that he loved the good and expensive life.

In a sweeping 24-count grand jury indictment given to him on Thursday, November 10 in Springfield, prosecutors constructed in detail the circumstances in which Schock used House of Representatives and campaign funds to support his lavish lifestyle.

Among the charges that Schock faces are nine counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, two counts of making false statements, five counts of filing false reports with federal election officials, and six counts of filing false tax returns.

In a statement, U.S. attorney in Springfield James Lewis said, “Mr. Schock held public office at the time of the alleged offenses, but public office does not exempt him or anyone else from accountability for alleged intentional misuse of public funds and campaign funds.”

Our attorneys at The Bruno Law Offices are focused on providing each and every one of our clients in Champaign-Urbana or other areas in Illinois with the personalized legal services that they require in order to win a criminal defense case. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000.


Illinois state trooper convicted of misconduct and bribery

A jury in Vermilion County, Illinois deliberated for two hours last Tuesday, November 8 before finding 46-year-old Westville resident Keith Lumsargis, an Illinois state trooper, guilty of official misconduct and bribery.

Lumsargis, who worked for the state police for 13 years, was taken into police custody in May 2014 at the Possum Trot restaurant in Oakwood after treating a police officer from Tilton to dinner. At the time, Lumsargis believed the police officer fulfilled his promise to give parking tickets to his ex-girlfriend. Lumsargis allegedly solicited multiple village police officers through text messages and face-to-face conversations, during a period of three months, to stop Mary Bailey and give her a ticket, in early 2014.

Our lawyers at the Bruno Law Offices have successfully defended serious criminal cases in state and federal courts, including death penalty murder cases. If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the Champaign-Urbana area or another area of Illinois, get in touch with us by calling our offices today at (217) 328-6000.


Champaign landlord to receive sentencing in fraud case

Seventy-three-year-old Champaign, Illinois landlord and architect Gene Hardwick is scheduled to appear at the United States District Court in Urbana on Friday, October 14. If found guilty, Hardwick will have to spend 24 months in federal prison for defrauding Longview State Bank after he is sentenced by U.S. Judge Colin Bruce.

According to court documents, Hardwick made a loan of $3.9 million from Longview Bank in 2007 to allegedly erect a 64-unit apartment building at 611 E. Park Street, C. However, when a bank examiner from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. inspected the address to assess Longview’s loan portfolio, the examiner “discovered an empty parking lot.”

The bank had already paid out around $2.4 million when the fraud was discovered. A major dispute between the prosecution and the defense was the amount of loss, with the prosecution saying that it was “at most, $391,349” and the defense saying its “unauthorized personal expenses was $43,417.”

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Champaign or another area in Illinois, get in touch with our criminal defense attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices by calling our offices today at (217) 328-6000.


My client is not a South Side gang leader – defense lawyer

Gregory Chester is one of six defendants who are on trial for racketeering and other charges for being allegedly leaders of the Hobos gang in South Side in Chicago, Illinois that federal prosecutors say killed and tortured their way to gain control of the city’s drug markets; another is Paris Poe.

In his trial, which began last Wednesday, September 14, defense attorney Beau Brindley said that Chester was not a gang leader but a small-town drug pusher who was framed by the police when he refused to reveal the real gang leaders. Brindley said Chester, who was born with physical disabilities, sold drugs to people that he knew, but that he was not a gang leader.

If you are facing criminal charges in Champaign or other areas of Illinois, contact our team at Bruno Law Offices for aggressive representation. Call our offices at (217) 328-6000.

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Bruno Law Offices
301 W Green St
Urbana, IL 61801
Tel: (217) 328-6000
Fax: (217) 328-6765

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