State and Federal Charges for the Same Crime

Text-only Preview

State and Federal Charges for the Same Cr ime
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, in part, states that an individ ual
shall not be prosecuted twice for the same criminal offense (aka Double Jeopard y). The
purpose of the Double Jeopardy statute is to protect US citizens from be ing placed
on trial over and over and to prevent our judicial system from becoming congested by
revisiting previous legal rulings. However, as with most legal matters, it isn’t qu ite that
simple. State and federal charges for the same crime can occur if a defendant viol ates both
state and federal law.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Con stitution States
If you or a family member has been charged for the same crime in both
state and federal jurisdictions, you need an affordable, qu alified criminal
defense lawyer to protect your rights and your reputation. Contact Wasatch
Defense Attorneys today for your free, no-obligation cons ultation at 801-845-
Prosecution from Both State and Federal Gove rnments
Under federal law, state government and the US government are considered ‘dual
sovereigns‘. This means that each may prosecute an individual for a criminal act
without violating his or her Fifth Amendment right against Double Jeopardy. A s a
result, charges may be brought by both jurisdictions if an individual violates the go verning
state law and US federal law.
Reasons an Individual May Be Tried Twice for the Same
Criminal Act
The investigation and prosecution for criminal acts fall under the executive branc h of
government; which means state and federal jurisdictions do not play a role in thes e
decisions. And while most criminal prosecutions will proceed within the state’s
jurisdiction, there are many reasons an individual might be prosecuted in both the state
and federal jurisdictions. For instance:
Crimes Committed on Federal Property
A crime committed on federal property, is automatically elevated to a federal
crime and if convicted, may include heavy fines and even time in prison. Additio nally,
federal property is considered an enclave within the state where it is located.
Because of this, an act that may not be a federal crime can still be charg ed as
such if the offense is illegal under the law of the state protecting the government
A Jury Fails to Return a Unanimous Verdict
If a jury does not return a unanimous verdict in a criminal trial, the presiding judge
will declare a mistrial. When this happens, the defendant will face the same
charges in a new trial. Because the accused person did not receive an acquittal or
conviction, a second trial does not violate the Double Jeopardy clause.
Choose an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
It is critical that you hire a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney if you are
being prosecuted twice for the same offense. Wasatch Defense Lawyers will help you
understand the complicated state and federal laws surrounding Double J eopardy; we
will fight for you by preparing the best possible legal defense strategy. Our compa ssionate
attorneys believe that you deserve a fair trial and will aggressively advocate for you if
you’ve been charged with the same crime twice. Call us today for a free, no-obligation
case review at 801-845-3509.