In the criminal justice system, some crimes are exclusively state crimes prosecuted by state authorities while others are considered federal crimes that are typically only prosecuted by federal agencies. However, many crimes overlap into both state and federal systems and it is important to understand how a federal case is unique from a state case. For instance, drug trafficking is most certainly a state crime in Texas but it is also a federal crime as well. In fact, both the state and federal authorities can investigate and prosecute, separately, criminal conduct that violates individual state and federal law, without violating double jeopardy.
What this means for a person accused of either a state crime or a federal crime, is that both entities have a crack at prosecuting the case against you, although expense and efficiency often drive either the state or federal government prosecuting the case solely.
Tyler, Texas is situated in the federal district of the Eastern District of Texas. Tyler itself is a division of the Eastern District as it hosts a federal courthouse along with a number of federal enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with a local office for the United States Attorney's Office. Often times, these organizations work in tandem with local and state authorities in investigating criminal activity. In fact, most federal criminal cases are born from what may have started out as a local or state investigation by local or state authorities.
The reason that understanding the dance between federal and state authorities in a federal criminal case is important is that building an appropriate defense to a federal case may start with how the local authorities were initially investigating the case. The federal agencies may have a reputation for thoroughness, but sometimes a federal indictment or federal charges that have the FBI or DEA involved are actually cases where the investigation was mostly performed at the state or local level.
If you have been federally indicted, arrested on a federal charge, or, were originally arrested on a state charge that has now become a federal one, then you need to request a lawyer immediately if you find yourself in front of a federal magistrate (judge). If you haven't been arrested yet, or, you are the target of a federal investigation, you need to contact our office at 903-999-1234 for a free consultation.