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Criminal Defense: Federal v. State Court Cases


At The Zabriskie Law Firm, our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys are equipped to handle cases in State and Federal Court. Many people are confused as to the difference between these two types of cases, so we’re here to help explain the differences as well as some of the similarities.

The Utah state government and the U.S. federal government are two separate entities and therefore have two distinct court systems, although the federal system of government shares power at the national and state level.

Judges that oversee State Courts are also selected differently than judges that oversee Federal Courts. According to the U.S. Constitution, the President directly chooses federal judges. Nominations are then confirmed by the Senate. Most hold this office for life. State Court judges, on the other hand, can be elected or appointed, depending on the state, and serve in that position for varying lengths of time.

An overwhelming majority of criminal defense cases are heard in State Court, but this does not mean that some are not heard in Federal Court. Primarily, Federal Court is the arena for cases that deal with constitutional issues, bankruptcy, etc. Criminal cases heard in Federal Court are cases in which the defendant is accused of violating federal law.

In the United States, there are three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The judicial branch of government is further divided into two categories: State and Federal. While distinct, they are not completely separate from one another.

The area of overlap is what causes the most confusion. For example, many federal laws are also state laws. The issue is not always black and white.

Both State and Federal Courts have different levels. For example, the Federal Court system is structured first with the trial courts. The federal trial courts are the U.S. District Courts. If a verdict decided in a U.S. District Court is appealed, it can be heard in a U.S. Court of Appeals. Some cases even make their way to the very top of the judicial system, the United States Supreme Court.

In a similar fashion, criminal cases are first heard in a Utah State Court. If the defendant does not agree with the verdict and they have sufficient grounds, they can appeal in a Utah Court of Appeals. Each state also has its own Supreme Court. Although it is rare, some criminal cases might be heart in Utah Supreme Court.

For further information on the differences between State and Federal Courts, you can visit the U.S. Courts website for a complete breakdown.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Call Zabriskie Law Firm Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City for a free case evaluation. You can learn more about our criminal lawyer in salt lake city in the different areas of practice that we handle in criminal defense lawyers in Salt Lake City. Select one of the categories below to find out more information about your type of case and what our attorneys can do for you, or scroll down to learn more about our other criminal defense services. When you work with a Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer from our firm, you can breathe easier knowing that we will be willing to go the distance in our efforts to help you fight for your desirable result. At Zabriskie Law Firm, we will fight aggressively for your case to get you the best possible verdict. As one of the most recognized DUI lawyers in Salt Lake City, Utah, we have a proven track record for dismissing or reducing the penalties in a Salt Lake City DUI defense cases. Our DUI lawyers in Salt Lake City have obtained positive outcomes in hundreds of cases for a misdemeanor or felony DUI charges and are prepared for the aggressive approach necessary to win your case. We have decades of experience in protecting the rights of Salt Lake City, Provo, Boise and Denver residents. Contact us today so we can begin preparing an effective Salt Lake City DUI case on your behalf. When choosing a criminal defense attorney Salt Lake City to help you with your claim, it is wise to review what they can do for you. At the Zabriskie Law Firm, we have decades of combined legal experience, having helped hundreds of people successfully win their cases. Our legal team has successfully obtained compensation for clients in many areas of personal injury, including those involving serious car accidents, truck accidents and motorcycle accidents, including distracted driving accidents and DUI defense attorney Salt Lake City. Resource

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