Can I Face Both State and Federal Charges for the Same Crime?

Posted on in Federal Crimes

Illinois federal crime defense attorneyThere are various rights that all American citizens have been given by the U.S. Constitution. For example, we all have the right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the freedom to peacefully assemble. One of the constitutional rights that comes into question in many criminal cases is your Fifth Amendment right against “double jeopardy,” or being tried for the same crime more than once. When you commit certain crimes, you may find that you face both state and federal charges for the same event. Many times, this is a result of committing a crime that takes place across state lines, but it can also be a result of various crimes that violate both state and federal laws. Though it may seem unfair, you can indeed face both state and federal charges for the same crime.

Understanding “Double Jeopardy”

To explain the legality of charging a crime on both the state and federal levels, you must first understand the two most important concepts that are involved: double jeopardy and dual sovereignty. Many people believe that being charged both by the state and the federal government is a violation of their Fifth Amendment rights. The Fifth Amendment states that, “No person subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…” This means that once a person is subject to certain charges, they cannot be subject to charges arising from the same incident again.

The Concept of “Dual Sovereignty”

Dual sovereignty is one of the exceptions to the double jeopardy rule. The concept of dual sovereignty is simply the idea that it is still constitutionally legal for both the state government and the federal government to press charges for the same instance of crime. The basis of this argument is that the levels of government are two different entities and therefore have the right to charge the defendant for the same crime. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on this previously and has stated that facing both state and federal charges for a single crime is legal as long as the course of action during the crime violated both state and federal laws.

Our Chicago, IL Criminal Defense Attorney is Here to Help

Whether you are facing Illinois state charges, federal criminal charges, or both, the team at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel can help. The federal and state court processes are slightly different, as are the sentencing guidelines that are used if you are convicted. Our skilled Illinois federal criminal defense attorney has a breadth of experience defending clients against both state and federal charges. To begin discussing your case, call our office today at 312-629-0669 to schedule a free consultation.



Back to Top