Roberts Law Group, PLLC
North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorneys

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When do criminal cases get tried in federal court?

The vast majority of criminal trials are handled in the state and county court systems. However, in some circumstances, the federal court system will have jurisdiction and authority to decide the matter. Let's take a look at the five most common types of cases decided by federal courts:

  • When the case involves only federal law: If a lawsuit involves federal securities laws, constitutional laws, certain military laws, federal crimes, intellectual property rights and other laws made by the U.S. Congress, the cases can be tried in federal court.
  • When the case relates to diversity: Diversity may refer to a case from two different states. When the dispute is valued at over $75,000, and if the two parties are from two different states, it might need to be handled in federal court. Also, land grant disputes from different states, and disagreements between states will be handled by the federal courts. In state-against-state disputes, they often get tried in the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Treaties and diplomacy: When a case involves a U.S. ambassador, a treaty or the standing of the United States in relation to another country, the matter will be tried in federal court.
  • Federal government cases: If you want to sue an agency of the federal government, the case will be handled in federal court.
  • Admiral law: These cases involve the navigable waters around the U.S. as well as some navigable bodies of water in the country. These cases will often be handled in federal court.
  • Cross-border issues: When crimes involve the U.S. postal system, state-to-state transportation or when they happen on federal property, they will generally be tried in federal court.

Were you accused of a federal crime? If you're facing criminal charges in federal court, you will be entitled to a defense and representation by a qualified attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "What Kinds of Cases Can Federal Courts Decide?," accessed Nov. 03, 2017

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