Felony Weapons Charges Dropped by the State - Can Feds Still Prosecute?



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Charges against a person are not similar to the instances of double jeopardy where the person cannot face the same trail for the same charges, and while the state may drop the criminal investigation, the federal government may still prosecute the person. In these felony weapons charges, the accused will need to present a stronger case than when facing state charges.

State Versus Federal Charges

When a person faces one set of charges from the state, the individual may still face the same type of charges from the federal law enforcement. It may take more time before the investigation completes and there is sufficient evidence to charge the person through the federal agencies. In addition, during this process, the state may drop the charges due to a lack of evidence. However, the law enforcement agency and officers may determine there is enough evidence to seek a federal trial. For felony weapons charges, the individual may face serious consequences when convicted.

Felony Weapons Charges

When facing felony charges for possession of weapons or when using a weapon such as a firearm in a certain way, the individual could face either state or federal courts. The federal involvement usually occurs when the individual uses the firearm in a manner that crosses state lines. This happens when he or she buys the weapon in one state and travels to another. However, the accused could use the internet to commit a crime and then use the firearm or other weapon in another manner. The state may try the person if there is enough evidence to do so, otherwise, federal law enforcement agencies may take the case and try the individual through federal courts.

Possible Severe Charges

There are times when the state will drop charges of felony weapons incidents based on specific federal laws involved in these matters that take precedence. Sometimes, the individual accused of the crime has other convictions similar that may increase penalties for convictions and may keep the person in jail or prison longer than the state. In these instances, the state may have little evidence to support the charges, but the federal agency may proceed for these crimes. At that point, the state may drop the charges, and the accused will face a federal court for the same or slightly altered charges for the same crime.
Cooperative Investigations

In rare situations, the state and federal law enforcement agencies will work together to determine the best course of action against a criminal accused of felony weapons crimes. Depending on the severity, the factors and all elements involved in these situations, the state law enforcement agency will work with a federal agency such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations to determine which charges are valid and what agency will take the matter to which court. With cooperation, the state may drop the charges after cooperating in the investigation so that the federal agency will remand the accused to a federal court.

The Full Investigation into the Charges

Weapons charges at the felony level often are severe and have multiple factors attached. Injury, death and property damage are among the most serious effects the accused will face with the weapons charges. The full investigation usually uncovers all connected issues with the charges and may proceed at the federal court level to ensure that the most severe penalties apply. Additionally, the state level courts may have insufficient evidence to hold the person. If the investigation is not appropriate at the state level, but the charges do attach to federal crimes, the state may drop the matter.

The Courts Decision and the Lawyer

Some states will drop the matter because the prosecution or law enforcement will want to incur the most severe penalties possible. Then, the state punishments may lack the severity necessary to pursue this. The state courts will then remand the matter to the federal courts to prosecute the charges of felony weapons crimes. Based on the factors, the court judge may view the perpetrator in a negative light if he or she does not appear guilty or remorseful. Additional impact occurs through injury or death of a victim at the hands of the accused.

Criminal legal defense is crucial to even attempt to defend against federal felony weapons charges. Hiring a lawyer to proceed through the federal courts is critical to mitigating the damage of facing these courtrooms. Presenting a valid case for the judge or jury is necessary for the lawyer.


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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.
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