Charged With a Federal Crime? Here’s What it Means

The criminal justice system can be difficult to navigate, especially for those who are unfamiliar with its processes. While many of us have a basic understanding of how a criminal case is processed, there are several nuances and unexpected steps that may cause confusion or uncertainty. For example? If you are charged with a federal crime, what does this exactly mean? Is there a major difference between how state crimes and federal crimes are handled? To prepare yourself for what awaits you, it is worth taking some time to explore what federal crimes are and how they are processed.

Types of Federal Crimes

While each state has its own court system for processing criminal offenses at the state level, there are also federal courts that handle matters in which a federal law has been violated. Generally, criminal acts that take place across multiple states, such as kidnapping or carjacking, are considered federal crimes. Many types of fraud, such as computer crimes, identity theft, and mail fraud, are also handled through the federal court. Sometimes, a criminal matter may be processed at the state or federal level, so federal and state prosecutors must decide which system will oversee the case.

The Steps Involved in Prosecuting a Federal Case

The first step in any federal case is obtaining an arrest warrant and taking the accused individual into custody. After the arrest, one should contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to begin preparing an effective legal strategy. Next, there will be a preliminary hearing, and if there is still probable cause to continue with the case, it will move to a Grand Jury for the final decision as to whether the case should proceed. If the Grand Jury agrees that the case should continue, it will issue an indictment and the accused is compelled to attend an arraignment. The defendant can seek a Plea Agreement or the case can proceed to trial. At the conclusion of the trial, a verdict is reached; if there is a finding of guilt, the defendant will then be sentenced. After this phase is complete, the defendant may request an appeal.

Protecting Your Future

There are many steps involved in a federal case, so feeling overwhelmed and concerned about your future is very common. As soon as you can, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your options, answer your questions, and address your concerns. With an attorney at your side, you can feel supported during this difficult time.


If you have been charged with a federal crime in the New York City area, you need trusted and experienced legal representation right away. Call the Law Office of Adrienne D. Edward, P.C. at (347) 997-3811 to speak to a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney today.