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confusion about what constitutes a state charge versus what constitutes a federal charge

The Texas Judicial System employs some of the harshest state prosecutors in the nation. A simple charge could quickly become enhanced to a federal level offense once Texas prosecutors get their hands on a case.

Several changes occur when a crime is evaluated from the state to the federal level. The US Federal Judicial System has access to advanced tools, resources, and skilled prosecutors. Retaining an experienced federal defense lawyer is the only way to fight back during proceedings in a federal courtroom.  Hiring someone who is not familiar with the federal court environment or federal law to defend you is a quick route to receive the harshest penalties or sentence possible.

Often, there is confusion about what constitutes a state charge, and what constitutes a federal charge.  There are differences between to two.  Read further to explore the differences in state and federal charges.  With some background on this subject, you may be able to get some insight as to what to do if you or a loved one is facing criminal allegations.


But before we begin, for both federal and state charges, hiring an experienced, aggressive, award-winning defense lawyer like Gregg Gallian is a wise choice for any engagement you or a loved one may have with the criminal justice system.  For a free consultation, simply contact Gallian Firm.  They are also ready and waiting to help.  Now to the background on state versus federal charges.

What crimes are considered Federal Crimes?

Texas state criminal charge

Some types of crimes are automatically considered federal-level charges due to violations of the United States Penal Code.

Examples of Federal Crimes:

Other crimes may be enhanced from state misdemeanor or state felony charges to federal offenses based on the specific circumstances in the case. For example, a simple assault charge could be enhanced to aggravated assault or to an assault with a deadly weapon, and then be handled at the federal level.

Crimes against government organizations and/or are committed across multiple jurisdictions are also handled by the federal court system.

State vs. Federal variance in Criminal Investigations

Criminal investigations vary greatly between state vs. federal crimes. These differences exist because each type of crime is investigated by different agencies which have different resources, personnel and tools in their respective investigative toolboxes.

State charges may investigated by local or state law enforcement agencies, including county sheriffs, state patrolmen, and/or local officials.

Federal criminal offenses are investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). The FBI is permitted to utilize enhanced legal clearances and have access to advanced resources. The FBI also commits an entire department of skilled detectives to each type of crime.   If you have received a detective call, there are specific steps to take to not prejudice yourself or compromise your legal rights–and that detective may be working for federal prosecutors or a federal agency.

For example, the FBI has an entire department of highly skilled federal investigators that are dedicated to cybercrime. The FBI and other federal agencies have resources which don’t exist at the state level and arrest rates and conviction rates can reflect this reality.

There is a Difference in Conviction Rates Between State and Federal Charges

Conviction rates vary significantly between state charges and federal charges. You are more likely to a deal or a case dismissal for a state charge than in a federal courtroom.

Federal government agencies have access to advanced technology and resources. This allows federal agencies to build strong cases with especially high conviction rates.

Penalties are Different in State vs. Federal Cases

The stakes are much higher in a federal courtroom than in state/local court. Cases that are handled on a federal level could face maximum sentencing and mandatory time in federal prison. Class B felonies carry a prison sentence of 25 years of more if convicted in a federal courtroom.

Federal Charges Require a Federal Defense Attorney

The federal court system employs some of the best federal prosecutors in the nation. The only way to fight back against charges of federal crimes is hire a federal defense attorney. A federal defense lawyer is a legal professional who is skilled and experienced in defending federal-level cases

Contact an Aggressive and Experienced Dallas Defense Attorney, Gallian Firm

Contact Gallian Firm today if you or a loved one are facing criminal charges. Gregg Gallian is an experienced federal defense lawyer with over a decade of experience fighting for clients in state and federal courtrooms.

Remember that the Texas Judicial System will work to enhance your charges.  What appears to be a state case, for which you have hired an average lawyer, can quickly turn into a federal case with severe potential charges and penalties. Do not face the criminal justice system alone. Protect yourself by reaching out today to Gregg Gallian and Gallian Firm for a free case evaluation.


An attorney’s job is to fight for you relentlessly, as if his or her own life depending upon it. 

Contact Gallian Firm today if you are facing allegations for a state or federal crime. Gregg Gallian fights hard for his clients and will immediately begin working to build your case.  Reach out to Gallian Firm at 214-432-8860 to schedule a free consultation or case review.


Send a message to Gallian Firm and we will contact you as soon as possible.

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