The United States Constitution vests judicial power in the federal court system and establishes the U.S. Supreme Court as the highest federal court in the country. It also gives Congress the authority to establish lower federal courts. State constitutions govern how state courts are established in each state. The state court system can vary from state to state. State laws can also provide for special courts such as probate courts and family courts. If a person is dissatisfied for a decision in state court, he may appeal that decision within the state court system; however, only some cases may be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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Because there are differences in the way a federal criminal case and a state criminal case is handled, you need a criminal defense attorney who has experience in the court where your case will be tried. You want an attorney who understands the laws related to your criminal charge as well as an attorney who understands the court rules and procedures applicable to that specific charge. Hiring the right attorney is your first step in preparing a strong defense against the criminal charges you are facing.
What Is the Jurisdiction of a Federal Court?
Jurisdiction refers to the types of cases a court is authorized to hear. Even though federal courts have limited jurisdiction, federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over some types of cases. Typically, federal courts have jurisdiction over:
- A case involving the United States as a party
- Cases involving violations of the provisions of the U.S. Constitution
- Cases involving violations of federal law
- Cases between parties of two different states when the controversy exceeds the amount of $75,000
- Bankruptcy matters
- Patent and copyright cases
- Maritime law cases
- Transporting illegal drugs across state lines or bringing illegal drugs into the country
- Crimes committed on federal property (i.e. federal parks and military installations)
- Fraud involving the U.S. Postal Service (i.e. U.S. mail fraud)
State courts hear most criminal cases, family law cases, probate matters, tort cases, and contract cases. However, some cases may be tried in either federal or state court. There could be advantages to choosing one court over the other; therefore, hiring an attorney with experience handling cases in both federal and state court could be a huge advantage.
Choosing the Right Maine Criminal Defense Attorney
Because the rules for federal and state cases are different and continually change, you want to work with an attorney who is experienced in the court where you case will be heard. At the Webb Law Firm, we have experience with both federal and state cases with a solid record and reputation.
Before you hire a criminal defense attorney, do some online research about them prior to your meeting. During your consultation, ask how many cases the attorney has handled that are similar to your case and how many of those cases yielded positive results.
Regardless of the charge against you, it’s important to select an attorney you trust. You must have confidence that your attorney is working hard for you. He should keep you informed, answer your questions, and be realistic about the situation. One aspect of the job of a criminal defense attorney is to provide legal advice. You must be able to trust in the advice your attorney offers and be assured that he is acting in your best interest.
Contact Our Office to Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Maine Criminal Defense Attorney
The key to your defense of any criminal charge is not to rely on a public defender. Choose your own attorney, someone you have researched and someone you are comfortable working with through the entire case. Here at the Webb Law Firm, we provide a solid defense for our clients and we work hard to earn your trust. We have handled a variety of cases, including charges for murder, DWI/DUI, domestic assault, drug crimes, and more. Contact us today to see how we can help in your situation.