If My Felony Weapons Charges Were Dropped by the State Can I Still be Prosecuted in Federal Court?
Although many of those who are initially charged with a weapons offense in Florida later have those charges dismissed, they may not yet be out of the woods. This is because the federal government may still be able to prosecute those individuals for violating federal law. When these charges qualify as felonies, the accused will undoubtedly need to present a stronger case than he or she would have had to present in state court, as federal charges are usually more aggressively pursued and come with harsher penalties than their state counterparts. To ensure that your own legal rights and interests are protected during your own federal trial, please contact an experienced federal firearm and gun crime attorney who can assist you.
State vs. Federal Charges
Even when a defendant is being charged with a felony weapons offense in state court, he or she could face similar charges brought by a federal prosecutor. Generally, the federal government only becomes involved in weapons cases when a defendant allegedly used the firearm in a manner that involved the crossing of state lines. Typically, this occurs when a person purchases a weapon in one state and then travels to another state before using it, or even purchases the weapon online and has it transported to his or her state.
In the event that state prosecutors decide to drop the charges due to a lack of evidence, or because a federal law takes precedence, their federal counterparts could continue to pursue a trial. In fact, in some cases, state and federal law enforcement agencies work together to determine which charges are valid, at which point the state will drop the charges, so that the accused will face the harsher penalties that come with conviction under federal law.
Even if a state agency does not drop a person’s weapons charges, the accused individual could still face charges in federal court. This is because both state and federal agencies are permitted to bring similar criminal charges, that arose out of the same act, against a single defendant. As long as the act is considered a criminal offense under both state and federal law, a person could be charged and even convicted in both courts. However, neither state, nor federal governments are permitted to prosecute a person a second time for the same crime once that individual has been acquitted. This is known as double jeopardy. Otherwise, a person can be charged in both federal and state court for the same crime, even if they were found not guilty or their charges were dismissed by one of the courts. Similarly, if found guilty in both jurisdictions, a person could face penalties in both state and federal court.
Contact Our Legal Team About Your State or Federal Charges
To speak with dedicated Miami federal crime attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. about your own pending federal charges, please call 305-670-9919. Initial consultations are offered free of charge, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online today.