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Houston State and Federal Criminal Lawyer
Being accused of a crime can change your life forever. If you are under criminal investigation or charged with a serious offense, you need an experienced lawyer who will fight for your rights. The attorneys at the Law Office of David A. Breston are here to make sure you get the best possible representation. We are recognized throughout Texas for excellence in all aspects of criminal defense. We have a long history of success in complex state criminal law. State crimes often include minor drug possession, shoplifting, and DUI/DWI.
Although federal criminal investigations and prosecutions make big headlines, most criminal cases fall under state law and are tried in the courts of the state where the offense is committed. While there is considerable commonality from state to state, significant differences exist:
- Categories of crimes
- Sentencing guidelines
- Mandatory minimum sentences
- Court rules and procedures
- Death penalty availability
The basic difference between federal and state criminal offenses is that a federal offense violates a federal law and a state offense violates a state law. In some cases, however, federal and state laws cover the same area of criminal law. Federal and state laws can coexist because they are in agreement, but if a state law contradicts a federal law, the federal law generally trumps the state law in the interest of the national welfare. In other areas of criminal law, the federal government has exclusive power to regulate, enforce, and prosecute alleged crimes. These matters often involve interstate commerce, national security, and federal programs. This is why most alleged white collar crimes, such as credit card fraud, tax evasion, and welfare fraud, are prosecuted in federal courts.
State criminal laws generally cover any area of criminal law not exclusively reserved by the federal government. This means that most crimes against a person or property are state crimes, including homicide, sex crimes, robbery, burglary, and domestic violence. But if a crime crosses state lines, it may still fall under federal jurisdiction. For instance, most drug offenses are handled in state courts, but drug trafficking is a federal crime; likewise, many sex crimes become federal crimes if the alleged victim is taken to another state.
In some cases, a crime walks the line between a federal and state offense. For example, graffiti is a state or local offense. However, if a person allegedly tags a federal building or vehicle, such as a courthouse, post office, or mail truck, the offense could be charged as a federal crime. Attorneys will do everything they can to keep close cases in state courts, thus avoiding the possibility of a federal prison sentence.
Misdemeanors are often handled within the state and are not a federal crime. A crime is considered a misdemeanor if the maximum possible sentence is a year in the county jail or less. Misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felonies, but misdemeanor offenses can still be serious matters. Still, all misdemeanor charges can show up on a background check. And, when someone is confronted by misdemeanor crimes, the end results are quite often negative. Our experienced misdemeanor defense attorneys will help you get through any situation, however, advising you about your rights and which misdemeanors can or cannot be elevated to a felony, so you know where you stand, according to misdemeanor laws. In some cases, you can have your misdemeanor expunged from your record.
At the Law Office of David A. Breston, we provide an aggressive defense for people charged for state crimes. For nearly a decade attorney David A. Breston has significant experience in the state courts. When you call our office you get the benefit of aggressive advocacy, quick thinking and innovative strategic planning. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.