Federal or State? – Common Questions That Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys Are Asked

One of the first questions criminal defense attorneys get from people charged with crimes are:  Will my case go Federal or will it stay in State court?  This question is especially prevalent for individuals alleged to be involved in drug conspiracy cases, child pornography, internet sex crimes, felon in possession of a gun, and white collar fraud cases.  

Although the process of determining whether a case will be prosecuted in federal or state court can often times be convoluted, the answer from your criminal defense attorney was almost never that you would be prosecuted both in federal and state courts.

A common misconception by the general public is that the Double Jeopardy clause of the 5th Amendment prevents an individual from being charged for the same action in both Federal and State court.   Unfortunately, that is not the case.   There is however, an Indiana statute (35-41-4-5) that prohibits subsequent prosecutions if a defendant has previously been convicted for the same offense by a concurrent jurisdiction.  (i.e. federal court).

On August 22, 2017, the Indiana Court of Appeals issued its decision in the matter of Amanda Dill v. State of Indiana.   In this case, the court held that even though Dill was convicted in federal court of being part of a conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine over a period of several months that she could still be convicted in state court for the overt act of possessing methamphetamines.  

The decision by the Dill court has the potential to have a profound impact on how cases with concurrent federal and state jurisdiction involving drugs, sex crimes, internet child pornography, and interstate fraud (such as money laundering, securities fraud, and wire fraud) are prosecuted.

If you are being investigated or charged with a crime that may qualify for concurrent jurisdiction, and could be charged in state court, federal court, or both, make sure you choose a criminal attorney that routinely practices in both Federal and State court.

At Hayes Ruemmele LLC, our Indianapolis criminal defense attorneys practice in both federal and state courts throughout the State of Indiana.  Our appellate lawyers can handle appeals at the Indiana Court of Appeals, Indiana Supreme Court, and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, Illinois.

Looking for a quality Indianapolis criminal defense attorney? Contact Hayes Ruemmele today and get the representation you deserve!