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Differences between state and federal charges in Ohio

On Behalf of | Dec 31, 2021 | Criminal Defense

When you commit a crime in Ohio, you will face a trial following the state laws. However, there are situations where the federal government can get involved in your case, making it even more complex with harsher penalties. If you or your loved one is facing a charge, here are the differences you need to know about the potential state and federal indictments.

Difference between state and federal charges

Congress makes all the laws regarding federal crimes whereas Ohio’s legislative branch makes state laws. You will find the state criminal codes described in the 2006 Ohio Revised Code Title 29. On the other hand, United States Code Title 18 deals specifically with federal crimes.

The president of the United States is responsible for taking action against federal crimes, and the president delegates this responsibility to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies. The Attorney General’s office is responsible for investigations and prosecutions for state charges.

Federal charges are prosecuted in federal district courts while state crimes are tried in state courts. Some crimes can only be prosecuted by one government; for instance, tax fraud is a federal crime, and the federal agencies will take charge of it, not the state.

Double jeopardy in Ohio

Your 5th and 14th amendment rights prohibit the state and federal agencies from prosecuting you on a similar charge. However, there are situations where they might. They include the following:

  • They can prove that you committed the offense with separate motivation.
  • You committed the offense separately.
  • Your offense caused separate, identifiable harm.

If your crime does not meet these three conditions, then your criminal defense strategy should include preventing double jeopardy. Federal crimes are very harsh, and you don’t want to be in a position where you are facing both federal and state charges.

Common federal crimes include sexual assault, tax evasion, identity theft, credit card fraud, child pornography, internet crimes, drug trafficking, money laundering and any other crime that crosses the state lines. Based on their nature, these crimes receive harsher punishments, sometimes with a mandatory minimum sentence.


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